Pursue a life, not a lifestyle

Posted in: Applying Wisdom

“To enter heaven is to become more human than you ever succeeded in being on earth; to enter hell, is to be banished from humanity.” 

– CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Erin French, the owner and head chef of the popular restaurant, The Lost Kitchen, has an enviable lifestyle. During the restaurant season, she spends her days going to local farms and vendors, planning out her menu, working with her husband and son, and sprucing up her restaurant. She has full autonomy to use her creativity in her work and is rewarded with customers and praise for the quality of the dining experience she offers.

Oh and she gets to this do this in an idyllic part of Maine, the type of place where you’d really love having your first cup of coffee in the morning. 

If you ever dreamed of escaping your corporate job and moving to a rural area to start anew, the Erin French vision will be right up your alley.  It has all the components of a meaningful, and Instagram-friendly lifestyle.

But while it’s natural to fantasize, it’s easy to ignore the challenges of that type of life, and the hardships that were overcome to attain it.

Erin’s life was certainly full of them. She grew up with a not-quite abusive father, dropped out of college to have her son, married an alcoholic who was her father’s age, developed a drug problem, attempted suicide, had her first restaurant taken away from her, and lost custody of her son for several years.

Her life was also filled with blessings. Her father owned a diner where she learned to cook. She got into a good college and having her son gave her someone new to love. Because her first restaurant was taken away she found it in her to start her current restaurant. She exclusively hires women because she wants to provide the type of loving environment that helped her overcome her own struggles.

Erin’s life is real and textured, and the whole of her life is far more compelling than what Instagram may reveal.

So when you’re stuck in a boring meeting, don’t feel bad that your life doesn’t look like the packaged lifestyle you see in social media. All is not as it seems.

If you aspire to a certain way of living, then great! Your desires are clues for you to follow and discern.

But don’t hold contempt for the elements of your life that won’t make it onto Instagram. That is the stuff that makes a real life.