When I was younger, I heard a lot about parents living vicariously through their kids. Usually it had something to do with sports or drama, and the connotations were negative. As in, they never got to do something, so they were going to make sure the kids got on the right teams with the right coaches, or took all the lessons needed to get the right parts. About half the kids I knew who were the object of such “encouragement” were not exactly happy about it. They continued to do it because it made their parents happy, or because they would have enjoyed it anyway if it were not for their parents pushing so much.
At some point I realized most people do a bit of vicarious living. We watch sports players or actors, or read biographies or novels, and a part of us wishes we could do something like that those individuals. You can learn a lot watching someone else’s life, such as how to be brave, or talk in front of a crowd, or walk just so, or whatever. There’s nothing wrong with it. Not all of us can be Nobel scientists or Academy Award winners or professional players, but we can watch others and imagine.
I also learned it’s not always a bad thing, living vicariously through your kids, as long as you step back and let them make the choices. I’ve done a bit of that. Always wanted to learn how to parachute, but never did. Now our son jumps out of airplanes, and I even got to watch him do it last December. 🙂 Another thing I always wanted to do was travel. ( Wanted to be an airline attendant at one point.) I’ve traveled a little bit, but only about a quarter of what I would like. Our son has traveled all over, including to Japan. (Some day I will get there, Fumio!) I’ve also lived vicariously through friends, hearing about places they have gone and things they have done.
How about you? How are you living vicariously? The ideal goal would be to incorporate even a tiny bit of that vicarious living into your own life. Did you long to be a popular singer? Take singing lessons, even if all you do is sing in the shower or while you do housework. Always wanted to travel? Visit places you can afford to drive to, or subscribe to travel magazines, or watch travel shows. When we honor those parts of our lives, we feel better about ourselves, and we have more energy for the things we “must” do. Enjoy life!