On Living Vicariously

“I mean, don’t get me wrong,” she said.  “I love my kids.”  Then she lowered her voice: “But if I had to do it all over again…”  She stopped and looked at me – frowning, her slightly parted lips showing her clenched teeth.  I knew what she was saying.

I had just told a group of women I hadn’t known for more than an hour about my latest plan to travel the world.  “Oh, do it!  And write about it, so we can live vicariously through you!”

Upon reflecting on their words, I thought about how many times I had heard them.  There are quite a few people out there who live vicariously through me.  Thankfully, I don’t feel any pressure from this.  But I do sometimes wonder – why live vicariously through me?  Why not just go out there and live the life you want to live?

I’ve heard all the excuses.  “Oh, but I have kids.”  Um…yeah.  So do a lot of people.  It’s entirely possible to move to India with kids.  Easy? No.  But possible? Totally.  “And the mortgage.”  I wonder how many people would buy houses if they knew how many times they would let their dreams float by because of a looming mortgage payment.  And by the way: people rent out their houses.  Even sell them.  Easy?  No.  Possible?  Yes.

But most people don’t want to hear that it’s possible.  Because then they’d feel worse that they’re not doing it.  Safer to hold on to the excuse.  I know – I do the same thing.  How long have I been talking about living in Europe?  Traveling the world?  Starting a business?  But I’m worse – I don’t have the excuses, yet still I don’t go.

Before I beat myself up too much, let me clarify.  I don’t have their excuses.  But I have my own.  Lack of preparation, lack of knowledge about how to do it, four jobs – three of which I technically committed to until June.  Blah, blah, blah. Hogwash.  All of it.  Lack of preparation?  I’ve been preparing for a trip like this most of my life.  How to do it?  It’s not rocket science.  I’m sure I could figure it out.  Jobs?  I get more job offers in a year than I know what to do with…leaving one or two or three is entirely possible.  People do it all the time.

So go ahead.  Live vicariously through someone else.  But just for a few minutes, realize your excuses are just that – excuses.  And entertain the idea that anything is possible.


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