Life, Not Lifestyle
I saw this on the interwebs recently. It’s one of those pictures that speaks more than a thousand words. On first glance, one chuckles at the commitment of this person to a movement. Perhaps it’s fashion gone too far. But then you realise this movement is in actual fact a brand: a compelling brand with exceptional strength, that stands for more than fashion or fads.
As you look at the ink that has pigmented the skin – creating quite literally a brand, a permanent mark – it dawns on you that this person is not likely just a follower or imitator. This person is more than likely a survivor. And they identify with these words on a level deeper than mimicry or fascination. The story of one person so strongly resonates with another, that they find strength through it – such strength that this brand is a constant reminder, a continual prompt. No doubt it is these two words that kept them going when they wanted to give up, kept them comforted in the midnight hour, and now, that they have come through the worst, to live in such a manner that they will do all that is within their strength to never go back.
This brand is about life. Not lifestyle, like the car I drive or phone I use – no, no – this is about the bottom line of life, or death.
As I look I realise I have a choice. I can spend 18 hours a day labouring hard, providing for a family, creating exceptional things and doing remarkable work. But at the end of those hours I need to know I have done more than cater for lifestyle – I need to have supported life.
Thinking about this photo again I realise the technology, the innovations, that have enabled it to be. The medical equipment, the factories creating bands, the media that has spread this story across the world. I realise how many passionate, driven people have told these stories over and over – each one helping the word spread to another and another. Some, perhaps, have been in this story for profit – and others have been in it for change. I’m not naive to think everyday its waking up in a bed of roses and doing good to all and sundry, but at the end of the day, I do want to know I’ve moved something forward.
I want to be a part of a story like this.