Monday, November 19, 2012

On living vicariously through other people

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I know I am in the middle of telling a story, and I am sorry to say that today you won't know how it ends. However, this interruption is worth it.

Today is one of my cousin's birthday. Happy birthday Natalie! May God bless you today and always!

I don't usually post happy birthdays on the blog, otherwise the blog would end up devoted to that, and forgotten family members would certainly get upset. However, I do want to talk a little bit about her, about me, about us today.

The first thing you need to understand is that Natalie is the baby in the family. And yet she is already in college. I not only remember her as a baby, I remember much of live before her. Which makes me sad and old-feeling.

I wasn't much part of Natalie's life, because when she was seven I went to college in the States, and I only came back when she was sixteen. Then, at eighteen, it was her turn to leave the nest. So although we are family and we love each other, in many aspects, we are still strangers.

My life in Georgia was amazing, and I have fond memories. Therefore, I cannot help but live vicariously through her. I want her to enjoy her free classes. I wish she will have good roommates. I sympathize with her for having to put up with college food. I push her to get involved in student organizations. 

But I've learned that living vicariously through someone is unhealthy. It makes us get frustrated at the things we wish they'd do. It makes us forget about what we are going through. It makes us constantly live looking at our neighbor's grass. And it definitely makes us see them through our distorted glasses, never allowing us to truly know each other. 

So today my birthday present to Natalie is a promise. I promise to stop asking her how is college going. I promise to never again insist that she join a group. I promise to stop giving un-requested advice. 

Within a little over a month, the two of us, along with her sister, mother, my mom and husband will make a life-long family dream come true. We are going to Disney World together. I have waited for that since I was a little girl, and since Natalie was a baby. And I promise to take those short nine days and enjoy as much from her as I can, so I can learn what kind of woman she is. What she enjoys. What makes her laugh. What annoys her. And specially, what kind of shopping she is into ;)