Article

Escape from ‘Escapism’

Escape from ‘Escapism’

When one tends to live in fantasies, is usually disturbed by one’s own reality; it is called as 'day dreaming' addiction.

Since childhood, I have always tried to run away from growing up and taking responsibilities for years and in different phases of my life, I have wished and wanted that people, situations and many other things changed. Moreover, I have always felt a sense of entitlement may be due to my attachment with my dreams and desires and had been sad and angry when my fantasies did not turn into reality.

But, as time passed by, I realized through my experiences that reality is greater, stronger and grander and all I needed to do was to accept it completely. Let your fantasies be woven within your realities. Don't let them be two separate worlds where you have to choose one over the other. Don't get attached to your fantasies and neither to your realities because life is all about change. Learn the art of acceptance. In fact, master it if you could.

I feel one does not need to go conquer the world if one accepts the universe as it is. Learn to accept your reality as it is. Howsoever, it may seem, it is a gift in my case. As your own existence, your reality sounds like a gift by the universe to you but do remember that you have the right, the courage and the will to change many aspects of your reality, if not all. You can start by making better choices and make necessary decisions to change that part of your reality which you don't like. Do mind that it is easier said and done. But of course, to a large extent I have done it therefore I know it is quite achievable.

Today, although I love my reality, is it anywhere close to my fantasies and what I hoped and desired my life would be? Not at all; but I still love it. I accept it as my destiny. Whatever, I can change by my choices and decisions; I change rest of all I have begun to accept. For example, what if you were living in a small village and you become really excited to watch a movie but the village you lived in didn't have a movie theatre. Therefore, in order to watch the movie, you had to leave home at 9 am to catch a 10 am bus to go to the town where the movie was playing a 12-noon show.

You reach there quite early and wait till the ticket counter opened and you are the first to stand in line to get your ticket. Then go inside, buy your refreshments and wait for the movie to start. And then suddenly there was an announcement that a faulty print was received and hence the theatre was not going to play the movie you wanted to watch, but some other movie.

Now would you sit and watch the other movie by considering all the effort you had taken to reach there or would you ask for a refund for your ticket and go to the bus stop wait for the bus to reach your home? If I ask myself this question my answer will be “I would have stayed back and watched the other movie and tried my best to enjoy it while I ate my refreshments as they were quite delicious. I would have enjoyed myself with the movie shown as it is.”

It is the same that goes with life. When we think that our life will go the way we want it to at precisely the time we want it but, it does not, but then we wonder, and are sad about it. However, please do not be attached to your fantasies or your realities, because both are bound to change. Nothing lasts forever, remember. When we try to analyze our escape route, first, here are the main pros and cons of escapism. Escapism can bring you some temporary happiness which is quite a lot of it. It can be a source of your creative thoughts for some time. It is particularly useful when you are bored, stuck in a long bus/train journey etc., and when you can use it as motivation to reshape your reality.

However, on the other hand, it is a major cause of waste of time, probably more than all other causes combined. When you are depressed or have something on your mind that's bothering you, your daydreams might turn dark and magnify your sorrows greatly. It provides an escape whenever an unpleasant situation turns up and tempts you to stop worrying and deal with the problem later when you definitely should be dealing with it then and there. Whatever happiness it brings is not real.

You know this in the back of your mind, and hence you are never satisfied. In my case I have found that the habit is so deeply rooted in me; it is almost impossible to get rid of it. To make the best out of the situation, I have tried to set down few rules, which minimize the adversities as much as possible.

If you are going to daydream, then make sure it is productive in some way, like going over the same daydream multiple times is a big no. However, make sure you're exploring new possibilities every time like I have a hobby of writing, so I tend to imagine the dialogues said by my characters and use the words in detailed sentences hoping that it will help me write a little better.

If you can strictly shut out daydreams while trying to concentrate on something important you can set some penalty for whenever you feel yourself drifting like a set of push-ups, extra hours of studying, etc. However, there will be times when you will fail to concentrate, in which case go out and finish your thought process before continuing with your work; otherwise, it will go on adding to your woes.

Try to avoid the last-minute pressure. Chances are that your distractions will be at their peaks when you're tensed. Daydreams say a lot about what you want in life. Give them proper consideration, and work towards them if possible. At the same time, recognize the things that are indeed out of your reach and avoid unnecessary sadness related to them. Easier said than done, I know.

When depressed, keep yourself occupied. Do not let yourself think too much to avoid the downhill tumble like the 'Jill came tumbling after'. Seek out the company of some real friends. Escapism, I know is a double-edged sword. It can serve you well, but only if you learn how to control it. Lastly, I want to remind you that I am not an expert and do not have any knowledge in psychology. I'm just someone in the same river trying to swim and survive in case some boat comes up to pick me!

Also, simple acceptance is essential in life. Accept that things are not good in life. This sort of accepting it won't be easy to live life. You fantasize these scenarios in mind, because you are not happy with your current reality. Moreover, since you are not happy with your current life; you cannot accept your life as it is. Therefore, first, accept your life, sit down and tell yourself - that these are the problems in my life. Then work towards those problems in your style. Maybe you are having some career problems – first, analyze them and understand where you lag behind and then work on improving on it, just do not run fancy scenarios in your dreams.

One of the main problems nowadays is that people think more than they are supposed to. Start acting on your focused thoughts and leave aside random thoughts entering your mind. Meditation helps in such cases whenever you are not able to calm your mind. It will help you to filter out unwanted thoughts entering your mind and help you to focus on the active thoughts which would help you in the decision making.

Finally, understand the fact, that no matter how accurately you plan things, no matter how well you analyze and predict a situation. Something is bound to go wrong. Make provision for the same. You cannot be sure what is going to happen in life, but you can prepare for it. I would like to quote Bruce Lee, to sum up, my article:

“DO NOT PRAY FOR AN EASY LIFE, PRAY FOR THE STRENGTH TO ENDURE A DIFFICULT ONE" - Bruce Lee

About the Author

Kishore Shintre has been authoring stories based on fiction since many decades and his first two collections of short stories were published in the year 2000. He has written over 1,000 articles on LinkedIn which are well acclaimed by the readers. Professionally, he is the ’Head of Corporate Communications' with Hindustan Laboratories based in Mumbai.