Vicarious – (adj.) felt or enjoyed through imagined participation in the experience of others
I have been pondering the subject of living vs. existing for awhile now, but didn’t put form to my thoughts until today. My hubby prompted me today by asking me what I hated so much about suburbia, and what I hoped to change about my life by moving to a different geographic location. (We always try to keep each others’ motives in check, making sure we are *pursuing* instead of *running away from* something. I love that about him!)
My explanation involved how life here is very generic, insulated, and homogeneous, attributes which don’t elicit any thoughts in me that bring about anything reflective or interesting or even note-worthy. For the most part, everyone here looks the same, homes in tract neighborhoods are identical, and there is a Starbucks and a donut shop and a dry cleaners and a nail salon on every corner. Life is easy here. You don’t have to put much thought into well, anything. Convenience has replaced our better judgment, even our ability to make decisions about things so simple as what to eat for dinner. You don’t have to make the effort to plan a meal for your family if you live close enough to fast food, because that’s nearby and cheaper and easier and faster. But are those things worth losing nutrition and bonds formed over family dinner over?
If “Everything is Bigger in Texas”, then the Joneses here in Frisco are downright ginormous. Even in a home that contains about 2000 more square feet than I have the fortitude to clean, I live in one of the smaller homes compared to my peers. Especially now that we are on two levels, I feel like I see my kids less and spend less time just talking with them. Yet, comparatively speaking, we live in a house most people have outgrown by now and are on their way to a bigger, newer home in a “better” neighborhood – usually under the guise of “doing it for the kids”.
I want to live in a place where pursuing “bigger” and “newer” and “better” aren’t the driving forces behind daily decision-making. To me, those “-er” words only serve the purpose of comparing what you have to what someone else has. I would like to live in a place where the size of your house, car, biceps, and bank account matter less than the size of your heart and soul and mind.
I want to be out IN the world, smelling, touching, and hearing things for myself rather than reading other people’s descriptions of those things because I live in a uniform concrete jungle where it is more than 90 degrees over half the year and there is no good reason to leave the house and risk a heat stroke for anyway.
I want for my family to have life experiences that change seasonally and are more dependent on being in nature. Biking, hiking, rafting, snow skiing, sledding, snowboarding, instead of playing those activities on the Wii because there is no natural beauty where we live.
Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT an advocate of rural living. (In fact, my husband and I share an Urban Dream that we hope to fulfill when the kids are out of the house.) I just want my kids to grow up where there is access to things you can touch and feel and smell and do, in order to form their own opinions about life.
I want to live rather than simply exist. And I want my kids to know the difference between the two. Is that so bad?