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Living Vicariously Through Friends

standard September 27, 2011 5 responses

I have a friend who routinely throws herself off cliffs with skis strapped to her feet, climbs insane mountains on bicycles, hikes for miles just for the fun of it.

I have another friend who rushes home from work to take a nap so she can go listen to live music late into the night multiple times a week.

And I… spend my days carpooling my girls to school, daycare, art class, preschool, shopping, and birthday parties.

I live vicariously through these two friends. When my life starts to feel a little too tame, a little too routine, I pop over to their Facebook pages to see what new excitement is filling their days. It makes my heart beat faster, my palms sweat a little to imagine myself living their lives.

Sometimes, when the stars align, I actually get to see these friends in person. They spend an excited moment catching me up on trips across the world, parties they went too, adventures they took. And inevitably, at some point they turn to me and say

“What about you? What have you been up to lately?”

And I freeze. Because really, if you’d just spent your last weekend going to a film festival with an award winning producer, would you really want to hear about the school’s latest lice outbreak? The traffic jam that made us an hour late for school last week? The triple birthday party weekend we have coming up?

I think not.

I love my life. Don’t get me wrong. When I was a child and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I always answered “I want to be happy and I want to be a mom.” Frankly I am both. My life is almost exactly as I had always pictured it. (Wrong continent… wrong religion… but close enough.)

For the most part, not only is my life lovely, but it is enough. I have an incredible husband and two delightful children. I have a lovely home and the best friends a girl could ask for.

It is definitely enough.

And yet in the face of all that living that they do, it sometimes doesn’t quite compare. Or at the very least, I wonder if by talking about what really fills my days, I’ll just elicit pity from these adventure seekers.

Yesterday at lunch, one of these two friends leaned across the table and eagerly asked me the dreaded question.

I started slow, with C’s ankle incident, then some work stuff, and then I ventured into the more mundane. Park playdates, coffee with friends, afternoons spent playing boardgames. I expected her eyes to glaze over as my humdrum list went on, but she drank in my words.

To someone whose days are filled with extreme sports and adventures, my routine wasn’t so routine.

We laughed a lot yesterday and I realized that sometimes living vicariously might go both ways. For all I know, those two friends visit my Facebook pages some days to experience the more staid life of a working mom of two and to catch their breath after all the excitement.

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5 responses

  • This Sunday my mom asked her new daughter-in-law about her recent trip to France, and all those adventures; then turned to me, “And aren’t you doing some database entry for the retiree’s association?” Gah! Made me feel so small. At least when the question is open-ended I can talk about the great things I’m doing with the kids or can select a client project that is a tad more impressive to mention. 🙂

  • After putting more hours in at school and at home working on school “stuff” than I can ever remember having done, I’m thinking no one would want my life. Of course, there are many youngsters in college who believe they do. God bless them, they make me value moments when I want to cry from exhaustion. (About 20 times a day.)

  • I hear you loud and clear. Lately, it seems all I do is work and feed my kids. The humble life of a mom is always busy and full. When I find myself living vicariously through others I have to remind myself that I wanted this. That I built this. And that’s it’s a pretty mean engine I would be devastated to lose.

  • This post really has me thinking. I never wanted the mundane life. I never dreamed of being a wife or mom when I was growing up. There was a part of me that, I think, subconsciously knew I couldn’t have it all, and that domesticity didn’t fit in with my plans.

    And yet…here I am.

    And surprisingly, I sometimes find myself marveling at the simple things. Taking pleasure in doing the laundry. Patting myself on the back for doing something “mom-ish,” like taking the kids to the park.

    I guess there’s a part of me that enjoys a little rebellion, in whatever form it might take. Doesn’t mean I don’t Facebook stalk the albums of my “fun friends,” though!

  • You know what they say about the grass always being greener…I often look at some of my single friends who have extra cash, their spotless and perfect decorated houses, cute cars, and wonder what it must be like. The freedom of just coming and going as you please. But, then my kiddos do something to make me laugh or smile or they share a hug or kiss and I realize how good I have it. It’s funny because I have had one of them tell me how lucky I am though that I have a happy marriage and two happy kids. It takes all kinds to make the world go round, huh?

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