Alter-egos are fascinating, aren’t they? Even thought I’d consider myself a pretty content, well-adjusted and confident individual, my alter-egos (I have a few) represent a different kind of life that I can imagine myself living for a bit, even though in reality I’d never ever trade the life I lead right now, ever.
I think most people (especially writers and actors) have alter-egos. An ideal persona for themselves that has been crafted and nourished from childhood – one that is acted out through play as children and probably still resides in the subconscious today (in my youth I ran several successful enterprises including the Victoria Sipps Detective agency, the Purple Yak cafe and several private schools among others). I suspect we continue to shape and nourish those identities through our continual experiences and knowledge consumption, pick and choose the parts that most closely relate to our own personalities and then daydream about what it might mean to fully become the other persona. It’s a great escape, sometimes a reminder about what’s great about who you are right now, as well as a way to continually try to improve on the qualities you admire most.
What’s really interesting is how social media (I’m talkin’ to you Facebook and Pinterest) has completely enhanced this creative stimulation. All it takes is a few minutes of browsing recipes on Pinterest or the vacation photos of my book club friend, and I’m instantly transported to a new (usually better) life where a crockpot full of tasty organic dinner and weekends in Door County await me. If FB and Pinterest aren’t enough, I also have my usual blogs (visited daily) where I follow way more interesting women who craft, are into shabby chic, have large families or are uber cool urban mommas – all leading lives that I have felt I could claim as my own at some point or another.
I guess in the end, the voyeuristic nature of social media, blogs and the rest of it is good, provided you take it all with a grain of salt. Yes, it’s good to share ideas, learn more about other people’s experiences and continually try to improve those areas lacking in your own life. However, you also have to remember that now no matter how easy and wonderful the lives of those bloggers/FB friends look on the screen, it’s what you do when you’re offline that really matters.