Living vicariously through other people’s blogs

Note: This blog post also ran in the Society of Professional Journalism’s “Journalism and the World” blog. Click here to see the original post.

I’ve often fantasized about the cool life I would someday lead… in Moscow, in Paris, in Kabul. And I regularly reminisce about the cool times I had — in Moscow, in Paris, and in Kabul. But, depressingly, when you’re actually living it, live becomes very ordinary very quickly.

The first day in Moscow was: “Wow! I’m in Moscow! This is so cool!”
The second day in Moscow was: “Geez, the traffic is not getting any better, is it? And what’s with the weather?”

I’m sure, years down the line, I’ll be telling people about all the cool things I did in Shanghai. But, right now, living it, it all seems very ordinary and routine. Yes, launching a magazine, yes, meeting with investors, yes, going out for drinks with editors and novelists and publishers and entrepreneurs. In retrospect, it sounds great. And that was just yesterday.

But when I was living it, yesterday, it was all: “Another meeting, another beer, hope I can get some sleep tonight.”

Next week, I’m flying to Hong Kong for a conference. It’s going to be so cool — until I actually get there. Then the cool will be instantly gone and it will become “same old, same old.”

For example, Hong Kong air is sweet and fresh — compared to Shanghai’s polluted, smoke-filled, urine-soaked diesel fuel stench. Five minutes after getting there, and I won’t notice the difference anymore.

Am I the only person who enjoys live most either before or after actually living it?

Anyway, some people have really cool lives, and I’ve been envying their blogs lately.

For example, there’s the Maitresse, a freelance writer who blogs about literary life in Paris. I look at that blog — and its graphics — and I think to myself, “that is a cool life.”

Even here in Shanghai, reading the local blogs, everything looks cooler once its on the Internet.

For example, the Shanghaiist just posted a report about a UFO citing here. I didn’t see the UFO. And I just checked out the window — nope, nothing. And Asiapundit seems to have a much cooler reading list than I do.

Oh, I do have to add — Asiapundit has a very very cool baby. I babysat for him and his wife on Sunday, and their baby girl was just adorable. And holding that baby was much cooler than just remembering it afterwards.

Hmm… maybe I should spend more time with my own kids? Well, my daughter does have a newspaper and an online interactive game that goes with her imaginary world… Maybe I can set up a nice content management system for her… a little bit of mother-daughter bonding.

And my son, the future space station designer, has developed an interest in astrophysics. (I spent a year as an engineering physics major, still love that stuff.) Maybe it’s time to explain relativity to him. He’s 9, he’s old enough.

Signing off in Shanghai,