Okay, maybe that's not quite it, but it seems that the free time needed to read about the minutae of other people's lives, and maybe even write about your own, could be better used doing other things. Especially when many people who read blogs read them at work, when they are actually being paid to do other things, or should be, except that maybe they haven't any other things to do.
Let me clarify. If you're reading this at work, I don't mean you, and please don't go away. You are a boon to the economy, I'm sure. But I first started to read blogs when I was chronically bored at work, and I'm pretty sure that's the only reason I ever read through all the archives of Amy, Kristen*, and Julia, to name a few. There I was at a desk with a computer and literally nothing to do, so my self-assigned project for the next few days became to read through someone else's backstory. If I did have something to do, I needed to string it out, so I'd read blogs in between short bursts of work.
I'm not the only overeducated underused employee that ever existed, so I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who ever did this. I'm not the only person with a degree in English to find herself sitting behind the receptionist's desk or waiting for someone else to schedule a meeting so that she could update a handbook that nobody would read anyway. On a global-economy scale, that's a lot of unharnessed energy.
It occurred to me today that if I had been driven enough, lucky enough, and interested enough in something, I could perhaps be somewhere very different today, with a big fancy career and a big fancy life. (I'm very lucky and interested in various things, but I'm the first to admit that I'm not very driven.) But then, I thought, would I be any happier than I am right now?
Nope. I'm pretty much as happy as whoever Larry was. There are niggly things that I'd like to have more money to spend on - outsourcing housework, getting my hair professionally coloured, buying all my clothes from J Crew - but in the big picture, this is where I want to be. There's the tiny issue of that hypothetical third baby, but I think in order for that to happen I'd have to go back in time and have got married a few years earlier.
Which would have required me to win the visa lottery the first year I applied instead of the third, let's say. (You note that marrying someone else is not an option. He's my lobster.) And maybe B and I needed those years apart to make it work now, anyway.
And then I thought, what if I'd never got the visa? The Diversity Visa Lottery is something many Americans have never heard of: the government offers a number of resident alien visas every year to countries whose emigrants have been under a certain number for the previous five years. If you're lucky enough to be picked, once you can show that you're reasonably employable and enough money to not be on the streets straight away (and not a communist), you get your very own green card. My chances of winning the year I did were about 1 in 100, and you're no more likely to get picked the tenth year you enter than the first. I was lucky.
If I hadn't got my green card when I did, I don't know what we'd have done. B could have come home after his PhD, but to no job. I could have gone over illegally, but it's very unlikely I would have. We could have got married straight away and I would have been legal but not eligible to work (I think), which would have made me feel that we began things on an uneven keel and under some level of duress.
It's all very Sliding Doors-y to peer down the wrong end of the telescope at what you might have done if your life had turned a different way. And while Gwynneth Paltrow's haircut was cute and John Hannah's accent was dead sexy, it wasn't a very good film, and the ending left us all feeling pretty frustrated.
It's probably better to just work with what you've got and move forward as you are. As I am, damn lucky. For one thing, if anything had been even a tiny bit different, I probably wouldn't have this to entertain you with:
*Not there; at her old, and sadly currently defunct, blogs, "Debaucherous and Dishevelled" and "Better Now".