We’ve all seen, and secretly hated on, the couple in the magazine that’s sitting on a rooftop in Bali, while sipping on cocktails that are impossible to pronounce — “I’ll have Le Maudit Français, please”.
Perhaps we’ve also encountered that friend who travels the world on their yacht who doesn’t even need an Instagram filter, considering they’re naturally beautiful and the Mauritius Island is reeking of greenery.
We’ve also had our fair share of those who simply quit life, and decide to branch off into the world of total escapism (and destruction)— drugs, alcoholism, and the likes.
Why do these scenarios attract us?
What is so powerful about traveling or going away from home?
What’s in the drugs or alcohol that comfort us?
They all offer escape.
No, no — Don’t run away, let’s talk about it.
Escapism is essentially the practice of trying to avoid things in our lives, such as work and a relationship. Though some people do indeed escape by simply leaving or mentally checking out, others will seek alternatives.
Some will immerse themselves in work, some will dive into deep cycles of sleep, others will binge, and then comes the drugs.
No matter what we all try to avoid, deep down escape stems from fears, sorrows, regrets, pain, and disappointments.
We’ve all had that rebound when it comes to a broken heart.
When we feel detached from someone we’ve had a strong connection with, we will seek the same attachment elsewhere.
It’s the nature of the game.
The feeling of being wanted and desired is so great, that living without it once it becomes a habit can spell out disaster.
So we take the next candidate and try to build what we’ve lost. Sometimes it works, but most of the time, it doesn’t.
While it seems we have escaped the pain and loss, we realize it catches up to us when we least expect it.
We then understand that escaping is not the answer, as we will always have to mourn what we’ve lost.
So, ask yourself this: Have you truly faced the sorrows of a broken heart? Or do you keep replacing band-aids?
Oh, the number of people I know that work every day through their passionless jobs.
They try and avoid thoughts: They hate what they do, who they work with, and how they’ve put a stop to their growth.
But, will they do something about it? No.
Why? Because they’re afraid of failure or maybe even success.
Either way, they’re afraid.
People who avoid such challenges work on their mental escape. While working in their now-programmed jobs, they imagine another life in their head — CEO of a company, nice suit, power, money.
Their passionate job exists, but only in their psychological space.
Perhaps having the ability to escape to their exciting jobs during their boring jobs is satisfying for them — sometimes, mental escape is enough.
Then, there are those who hate their lives so much that they escape it with ridiculous amounts of work.
Late nights, caffeine overdose, and headaches — All that matters is running from what’s waiting for us at home.
So we work 70-hour weeks because going home is unimaginable.
Yet, ask yourself this: Is work really going to solve a problem at home? What will? Why aren’t you doing it?
If you ask me, we are all victims of the past.
We regret things we shouldn’t have done or should have, we are deceived by others, and the worst of all — we lose loved ones.
Sometimes we can run away from thinking about death or about those who are no longer with us, and sometimes death chases us.
We lose sleep, appetite, and energy because we are so focused on what happened, not what happens.
It’s like the past somehow found a way to rob us of life’s luxuries, swiftly and quietly — a criminal we can’t catch.
Do you see how this can dramatically affect our present and future?
Until we all acknowledge that the past no longer exists, and we stop forcing its prominence in our head, we will forever need escape.
Until we truly understand the beauty of what’s to come instead of what has been, we will forever be stuck yearning for what has expired.
We've all had childhood traumas, painful truths, social tensions and unfortunate circumstances. We’ve all attempted to escape, and probably still do.
But, ask yourself this: How much longer can you hold? Will you be able to handle the dead-end of escape?
What the Hell Do We Do?
Considering it’s not fair to talk about the downsides of escapism without offering some sort of solution or advice, I’ll take a stab at it.
But before we try our own ways of embracing what’s in front of us, remember that escaping is normal.
It’s okay to need a break, as long as it doesn’t sync into your character, or become a routine.
Remember that trying to escape too often can lead to inaction — A dangerous satisfaction with what’s in our dreams, rather than what’s in our life.
Though every solution may vary depending on the circumstance, here’s what to consider:
- Embrace the pain, don’t escape it — Acceptance of circumstances is powerful and will get easier.
- Be patient — When embracing challenges, be patient with the results. Nothing great comes overnight.
- Know you are making the right choice — Some people believe that a little escape every day won’t do any harm. Yet, it can become a habit, and habits are hard to break. Don’t get used to it, and remind yourself that you are on the right path.
- Realize some things are not in your control — Let the universe take over and let go of how it’s supposed to be. The outcome may just be what’s best for you.
- Seek support — If you’re trying to escape something like a breakup or an event of the past, speak to someone you trust or go for a therapy session. Don’t be afraid to express your emotions and project what’s inside.
My grandma once told me, “With your heart, you can buy the sky.”
I understood this when I started doing things wholeheartedly and chased what I was truly passionate for — A job I love, friends I adore, a non-profit I stand for, and a religion I worship.
I never tried to escape my reality, because I chose to follow the soul and work through the barriers on the way (even when it wasn't easy at all).
I understood that money and power will get us places, but genuine bonds with people will take us way farther.
…and I can’t help but wonder, maybe escaping escape with our heart’s blessing is what will really set us free.