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The Vicarious Life - Living Out Your Dreams through the Life of Another Person

Updated on January 9, 2015

Lost in the Life of Another



That glimmer in his eyes was merely the reflection of his hopes and dreams being lived out by another.

To live vicariously means to live through the actions of another. In other words, instead of exerting his or her own energy to achieve something, the person watches from the sidelines and gains a thrill through the experience of someone else.

Sadly, far too many people have expended life energy (not to mention time) watching and living through the accomplishments of others.

Living through TV and Film Characters

The most common way that people live vicariously is through television programs or films. Many people live their whole lives mesmerized by the actions on the boob tube. They do the minimum work to pay the rent and put a little food on the table, but never really live out their own dreams. Instead they accomplish their dreams vicariously through the lives of others.

They sit on their couches snacking on just about anything while entering into the world of the television program. Women and young ladies live vicariously through Soap Operas like The Days of Our Lives, All My Children, and General Hospital. Men live vicariously through sports events exerting energy yelling at the players and refs, throwing up their arms in jubilation or exasperation. When their team wins, then it's we won; if they lose, then it's fire the coach. When the season ends and their team wins the championship these Monday morning quarterbacks feel like they have accomplished the goal of their lifetimes even though they never exerted one ounce of energy on the field.

Movies is another medium people use to live out their hopes and dreams. What man has never gotten lost in the escapes of Rambo or Rocky, Jackie Chan or Chuck Norris; some find sexual satisfaction through love scenes on the big screen.

Living Lost Dreams through Our Children

Parents do this through their kids. They are either "never weres" who really think they were something back in the day or they are wannabes who have long outlived the heyday. Now, they plug their kids in soccer, or baseball, or pop warner football or miss junior pageants and push and prod them to be what they themselves could never become. Attempting to find their own thrill on blueberry hill they live vicariously through their children.


Similar to television and film stars, a number of people live out their dreams by proxy through characters in classic literature or modern day novels. The eloquent strokes of the pen or typewriter can woo the reader into the title role and leave them satisfied that they experienced life at the fullest.

The Sad End

In every case, millions of Americans and others around the world are settling for living through the exploits they watch from the sidelines or through the glass tube. America gained its reputation as the the land of freedom and opportunity and while many immigrants are taking advantage of the claim; many second, third and fourth generation Americans have lost their will to compete. Every man, woman, and child is important to the growth and success of the nation as a whole. It is time to turn off the boob tube; to wake up from our daze; and live the full and abundant life God created us to live. Not through watching others but through our own individual effort and participation.


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    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 8 years ago from Corona, California

      James and HOOWANTSTONO, Thank you for your support. I appreciate it very much. My pleasure to serve the Lord by your side.

    • HOOWANTSTONO profile image

      HOOWANTSTONO 8 years ago

      You are 100% correct here.

      TV is like a god, people believe everything on there, even the UFO and Alien stories, like X Files, Ghost whisperer, etc.

      Take heed to what you see and what you hear

      Go well

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      Amen! I think these "reality" shows have exacerbated this vicarious living for many. The only TV I watch is news and my Cubbies—and I quit the Cubbies two weeks ago. I do rent a lot of movies though many of them are documentaries.

      I agree with you. We need to live real life with real people.

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 8 years ago from Corona, California

      DeBorrah, Thank you for your encouraging words and for sharing your experiences. It seems that many Americans have lost a sense of purpose or they have lost the desire to live for a purpose.

      I have also had the opportunity to travel abroad with my family. We lived in Cambodia for six years as missionaries. It was a great experience that I would not trade for anything; it gave us all broader view of life.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 8 years ago

      You have made some very good points. Having your own business can give you a good dose of reality. You realize that nothing happens unless you do something. You may even have to work at it 24/7 and still no profit and that could go on for awhile. (Especially in this economy) By keeping a goal in mind at some point it will happen. In the process you learn to reposition and forge ahead.

      I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to travel along with my husband to other countries. This has also given me a deeper appreciation for life and that it is important to not take things or people for granted. I am thankful to have experienced a measure of His abundant life! Praise God!

      You are so right about many sports activities for children.

      I have counseled with parents who live their life by coaching and yelling at their kids at a game. But really it is there own frustrations. The parents often turn the event into a social oulet for themselves. When they get home they go their separate ways. As you say they are "living vicariously" though their children.

      I enjoy my grandchildren. But I also want my children to learn by being responsible parents the many invaluable lessons of sacrifice and multi tasking I/we learned ....

      I have found living life with a purpose is what's really important. I believe that God has created each of us with

      a purpose. Life is about living to discover what that purpose is. You must keep plowing through until you find out what it is. You might have to change direction but Never giving up... Life is too precious so get busy!

      Thank You for a GREAT HUB!