Movies. Television shows. Video games. There is plenty for us to watch. And in watching, we are able to escape from the reality of our lives. Let’s face it. Reality, at times, is rough. There are health concerns, economic challenges and relationship issues to deal with. Sometimes we feel we have had all we can take.
Accordingly, we seek, wittingly or unwittingly, to immerse ourselves in experiences outside of our reality. We call this delving into a fantasy world, “escapism.” When we go to the movies, play a video game, enter into a virtual world or watch television we have the opportunity to take a vacation from our reality.
I do not see the above mentioned means of escapism as necessarily bad things, as long as they are participated in within reason. However, we live in a time when concepts of moderation and reasonable behavior continue to give way to self-indulgence. Maybe that has long been humanity’s challenge – finding balance.
I do not see anything wrong with reasonable indulgence, but might we have lost sight of what is reasonable?
Swimming in a sea of fantasy, from time to time, might be refreshing. Considering how tough reality can be at times, that seems downright understandable. Yet, as tough as reality can be the only way we can improve our reality is by confronting it and finding a means of changing it.
I think back to my college days when I had seemingly daunting term papers due. At times, more than I care to admit, instead of laying out a plan for putting together a well thought out paper, I procrastinated. Often, I felt anxious because I put off the work I needed to do and instead used escapism to assuage my nervousness. The problem was I still had to write the term paper and with less and less time available. Oh and the anxiousness I suffered frequently persisted during my escapist indulgences. It only relented when I had completed the paper. Eventually, I learned that escapism and procrastination were not good methods of surmounting a challenge.
Enjoyment is good. Escaping into games, movies and shows is just fine if it is done in moderation. However, if we forever put off dealing with our reality, we are destined to lead our lives by default instead of design (a topic I will cover in another column). Better that we find a more reasonable, realistic and productive path to tread down.
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*Authors note: You might see this column pop up online in a newspaper, under the name Both Sides. I am publishing this column here first at CYInterview.com. For a bunch of years, I have been writing newspaper columns. Since my columns have received a good response on CYInterview, I thought I would share it with you. Hope you enjoy.
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