On day 312 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I lived vicariously through a friend.
I didn’t realize that living vicariously had become such a faux pas. When exactly did this happen anyway?
“I’m living vicariously through you” used to be a casual, encouraging, fun-loving thing to say when a friend was setting out on a unique journey. But these days, if you Google “living vicariously” you’ll be criticized instantly.
“Get out there and live life for yourself,” they’ll say. One website even commanded “Stop fucking living vicariously through other people!”
Seems a bit harsh, don’t you think?
It’s a good thing I’m not easily swayed by popular thinking. Let’s be clear: living vicariously through others doesn’t necessarily mean that we lack the courage, skills or drive to experience something first-hand. I mean, honestly, do you really want to live out every possibility that life presents? I sure don’t. I don’t have time to. There are plenty of things I’m curious about, but don’t have a deep enough desire or interest in to put forth the time, energy and resources to follow through.
Yesterday, a good friend of mine announced that she is moving out of the country to take advantage of an opportunity that recently surfaced. She doesn’t have a lot of details about it yet – only that she bought a one-way ticket and is going. The decision was completely aligned with her inner truth and the way she wants to experience life. And that made me smile.
And while I can appreciate her passion (and I admit that it does sound like a lot of fun), it doesn’t spark enough of a desire within me to rearrange my life to experience it personally. But that reality doesn’t mean I’m not thrilled for her. On the contrary, I get to enjoy living the experience through her as she shares the adventures of her travels. It’s the same when we empathize with others and step into their shoes for a moment.
Using my imagination to live vicariously was my act of self-care for the day. It didn’t cost me a thing. I didn’t have to worry about the stress and details of planning a trip. And I didn’t have to pack a single thing to imagine what it might be like to leave everything behind, hop a plane, and begin living in another country.
It was fantastic!
So I’m giving you permission to live vicariously any time you want to. Perhaps you’ll discover along the way that you really do want to experience something first-hand. Who knows?
But in the meantime, exploring possibilities in our mind is a beautiful gift that we can accept as often as we like. We can dream about, experiment with, try on, and try out an endless number of life experiences without ever leaving our thoughts.
What have you lived vicariously?