Ever since I’ve started my globe trotting after my longest relationship ended at the age of 30. Many have said to me that they live vicariously through me. Typically because they lack or claim to lack one or more of these things: time, freedom, money, courage, curiosity OR they allow or use some of these as reasons to stay at home: dependents, commitments, obligations, daily routines, family, work.
As time went on, I learn that I also live vicariously through others. I look to others for what I lack or believe to lack in life, OR what I do not know how to maintain but desire. Be it because they have a healthy romantic ongoing relationships or taking care of a child.
What it sometimes boil down to is perspective.
Humans tend to believe that the grass is always greener on the other side. I tend to make comparisons due to my upbringing and brainwashing by the society. I tend to put others up on a throne and become harsh on myself. At times, I reverse this and allow my ego to look down on another. Either instances are unhealthy.
If I can become aware of my thoughts and shift my perspective so I consider another’s point of view or their past experience up to this point in time. Perhaps the “Grass is not so much greener on the other side” as I have initially perceived. Perhaps I don’t have it so bad after all.
For instance, some times I see the refugees and migrants in my German class. I know they are all heavily subsidized by the German government for the day-to-day expenses, including the fees required for the German class we share. I see them as fortunate as I am depleting my savings to live in Germany. However, do I really want to have had experience the hardships which they endured before arriving in Germany?
To simplify the process, all I did was buy a airplane ticket, pack a suitcase and arrive with a Tourist visa in Germany. While some of them paid lots of money to sit in the back of a dark truck and/or a boat, walk for days, endure hunger, endure unsanitary conditions and live in fear for days or months – in hope that the German government will accept them as asylum seekers.
Sure it may seem like they are standing on greener pastures but I sure don’t want to have endured what they had to for months and years.
Which leads me back to living vicariously…
My thoughts are that life lessons keep repeating in various forms until I have learned and understood them completely and thoroughly – the Universe has proven this to me over and over again. However, I don’t have all the time nor energy nor patience to fulfill these life lessons on a personal level all the time.
So I figured if I gather the information that I require through others who have what I admire or experienced as various life lessons. I would then be better prepared when my similar circumstance comes around and I won’t require many iterations to understand the life lesson at hand. It may sound horrible or selfish but I’d rather not have to experience more heart break or abuse or insult or anything negative which I can avoid.
By meeting a wide variety of people in my daily life and in my travels, I get to know what it’s like to be in their shoes. This way I don’t have to wear my own version of those shoes for an extended period of time later on.
Life is not always about lollipops and unicorns.
Main thing about living vicariously, which in some ways is similar to reading feedback and comments of say a hotel or a restaurant. Remain as objective as possible. Don’t make a definite impression or opinion based on another’s word.
The most powerful thing in the end, is your own personal perspective of the experience or situation or a person. Because everyone of us are different and our interpretation and encounter with something shifts every step of the way.
All are innocent until proven guilty.
This makes me think of a tragic video a friend shared with me recently. The saddest moment in the video for me was when a young woman said she has no interest in traveling and seeing the world. She’d rather stay in her small area in the world with her narrow view points, all the while condemning all others who doesn’t see the world the way she does.
We are all here to have a human experience.
Living vicariously can be helpful with saving your energy, time and money. Especially if one consider traveling vicariously through Google Earth and Google street view. However, despite all the conveniences and vicarious living the internet can provide – Don’t forget to still make an effort and see and experience the world for yourself.
Thank you to all those who’ve shared their life stories with me and patiently answered my prodding questions about their personal lives. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you!