time around, I got hooked. Back then, I had people to talk to. I didnít
need an online community. But day after day of having no personal contact
with anybody except to say hi to my coworkers as I walk past their cubes
has been wearing on me. So, I started reading journals. At first I still
wasnít too interested, because most of the journals I found were by angst-ridden
teenagers who didnít know how to spell or form a sentence. (What is it
about communicating via computer that makes it acceptable for all the rules
of spelling and grammar to fall by the wayside, especially for the ďcomputer
generationĒ of young people? Itís a personal pet peeve of mine.) But I
kept digging and one by one found journals that caught and held my interest.
I absorbed the adventures of a New Zealander living in London and gained
an insiderís perspective of a country and culture so similar to mine and
yet so different. I sympathized with a girl who was working at a job that
sounded even worse than mine, and felt a little better about my own job.
I laughed myself silly over the adventures of a clueless first-time mother
trying desperately to potty train her extremely stubborn three-year-old
while constantly worrying about damaging his little psyche. I admired the
girl, who, contrary to the usual teenage angst, almost every day had some
reason to announce that her mom was the greatest. I could thoroughly relate
to the would-be writer who was struggling with writerís block. I agonized
with the college student who had a bad crush on a painfully shy young man.
I read a newlywedís fascinating description of her honeymoon in New York
City, complete with tons of pictures.
I feel the need to live vicariously through other people because I donít
have much of a life of my own. Maybe because Iíve been such a reader all
my life, itís a natural thing for me to live vicariously through others,
whether the subjects are fictional characters or real people. As I read
an interesting journal, I am drawn into the writerís life just as I am
drawn into a good book. I have always been fascinated by people and what
makes them tick, and I have found a goldmine. Some of the writers have
kept their journal for years, and, as I read their archived entries, I
can literally watch them grow and mature in their lives.
We are only granted one life. For some of us, that isnít enough. We yearn to experience other lives, other ways, but there is only so much one person can do in their allotted lifetime. And so we borrow the lives of others who are kind enough to share them with us. I will probably never even visit London, but now I know what itís like to live there. Who would want to read about the daily lives of strangers? Apparently, me!