Editor’s Letter: In Defence of Lifestyle, During Times of ChaosBy Angelica Malin
I feel weird. Oddly redundant, like I’ve been fired (I work for myself, so it’s like I’ve fired me.) My inbox is quiet, my Twitter feed is dead apart from #GE2017 tweets and the only thing I can do is count down the minutes until it’s acceptable to have my next cup of tea.
Typing away, in our little office in Camden, writing about underwater high-intensity classes, rooftop brunches, single-origin chocolate brands, pop-up restaurants, vegan protein powders… It all seems so simple? Basic? Unnecessary? I feel like I’ve skived off life, while the real adults are putting the world to rights over long board meetings with lots of tea and digestive biscuits, like Hugh Grant in Love Actually.
When the world is spinning, and we’re in the midst of political chaos, you can’t help but feel that your little world, full of press releases, random free stuff and fancy brownie deliveries, is being undermined at its core. My work feels reduced to something too simple, easy and rather gratuitous.
I know I’m not the only one that feels it. Friends that work in marketing, PR, social media, blogging, influencers, ones that aren’t particularly politically minded or interested, they feel like onlookers to a car crash, wanting to drive past, but feeling like their whole lives are being dragged into the mess without choice. Do you have to care? Do you have to be involved? I don’t judge anyone who wants to stay out of the mess of politics at the moment. It’s nasty, and stressing out about the country’s future whilst trying to do your 9-5 isn’t mandatory. If you want to stay out of it all, that’s OK too.
There’s so many amazing people whose lives are directly touched by the political change we’ve seen today – NHS staff, lawyers, corporate giants, civil servants, politicians – and, of course, this change affects us directly eventually. But for many us, the huge political and social changes that are taking place at the moment shouldn’t, doesn’t, change anything today for us. In fact, for many, this change only affect us by their absence in our everyday lives. There’s a strange silence at work, in our little lifestyle bubble. I feel guilty for not caring more, for not being more involved.
And yet. And yet. Why do I feel so bad about doing the job I do? Like it doesn’t matter anymore. But it does matter. What matters is our ability to keep going – it’s what makes the backbone of Britain. Our ability to keep going, to stay strong, to stay focused, even when the world around us seems like it’s crumbling, is crucial to keeping sanity. We have to keep living our best lives, whatever form that takes. For me, that means writing about the “silly” things, like new gyms, restaurants and street food trucks, and for you, that means allowing yourself to indulge in the normal, everyday things, like planning a meal out with friends, or booking into a stress-relieving workout class.
The recent spate of hateful, senseless terrorist attacks has changed my relationship to “lifestyle”. Every time one of these disgusting attacks happen, I feel even worse about what we do – writing about coconut lattes and chocolate brownies and expensive tasting menus – when people are losing their lives just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. These huge, life-changing events, seem to shrink our job, our world, and reduce our work to something so trivial. How can I care so much about avocados when ISIS is fucking up the world we know? But we cannot stop living our lives. We cannot stop enjoying our time on earth. Going out for a really great slice of cake, discovering a new restaurant, going to the theatre, a concert, a food festival, these acts of living are their own acts of defiance. Choosing to live, to indulge, to laugh, is two-fingers up to terrorism, to totally incompetent politicians, to a world that seems to be spinning out of all control.
This weekend: you have to do you, whatever form that takes.
Happy Friday all x