Escapism: Creative solution to hard times

Creates opportunity for positive self reflection

Throughout our time in college, we all face situations where we find ourselves stuck, and it feels as if we’re in our own burrows underground with no way out. Perhaps you’re in debt with student loans, your grades aren’t as great as you’d hoped, or you have done something else that you wish you would have done differently. If you can relate, then it might benefit you to learn about escapism. 

Escapism is one way to stop spending all those hours thinking about the stressors of life and find a way to escape. Google defines escapism as “the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.” That definition undermines the utility we can make out of the concept of escapism.

Escapism isn’t a mere distraction for us to waste our time with; it could be a creative outlet for us to explore parts of ourselves that are yet to be discovered. For each person, the outlet of escape will be different. For some it could be activities such as writing, painting, drawing, performing, or reading. 

“Escapism doesn’t dismiss reality, but rather gives us the opportunity to explore our minds with creativity.”

-jesus Gomez

Of course, there are unhealthy forms of escapism that could result in the consumption of drugs, alcohol and other unhealthy methods. However, many forms of escapism can be healthy, and might help you succeed in other areas of your life.

I’m not implying that we all escape our current lives and make it be whatever we want, but we should consider that there are appropriate times for us to simply let go of what’s stopping us from living life to our fullest potential.

College for many of us is a time where we grow and realize the many constraints and freedoms we have as adults. While some aspects of growing up can get out of hand and make life feel like either a bane, or monotonous cycle, there are other aspects that help us realize that there’s more to life than those moments. 

For instance, maybe you’ll consider stepping out of place and exploring new territory. Living through a society that constantly tells many of us who we have to be can be pressuring and very conforming. Stepping out of place might help you escape this constraint and show you an aspect of life that might help you aspire to become something greater than you’ve ever considered yourself to be. 

Another aspect could include a new sense of joy. Often times joy is neglected because we rely too much on happiness. Both happiness and joy go in hand; however, the website Psychologies suggests that joy is more internal and personal, while “happiness tends to be externally triggered.” 

Escapism may be discouraged because it interferes with our reality, but if we use it well, it can be used to find the necessary strength we need to face the truth and manage our own lives. Escapism doesn’t dismiss reality, but rather gives us the opportunity to explore our minds with creativity. 

These opportunities come from the sense of relief to be able to have some time to do something that we’d like. Relief is an essential element to this concept because ultimately, that’s what we strive for when escaping. We know how it feels to be relieved after knowing that something horrible or concerning has got resolved, such as when a loved one gets better after being in a bad situation, or when it turns out an assignment gets a deadline extension and you had not started on it. Not being worried about something enables us to have extra space in our mind to think of something else for ourselves. 

When the world begins to feel smaller, and like we’re secluding ourselves from the million eyes around us, don’t cancel out your good feelings. They’re worth fighting for, and the slightest sense of hope can be the way that leads you towards an escape. Sit or lay down, and relax yourself; think of where you’d want to be anywhere in the world at that moment. Consider what you have to do to face what you are escaping, and after figuring it out come back to the real world and take action on it. defines the word escapist as “someone who doesn’t live in the real world, but dreams, wishes, and fantasizes instead.” Now that you’ve learned something about escapism, maybe you’ll consider yourself an escapist. Not because you’re running away from the real world, but because you can make a fantasy your reality. 

We’re not written manuals, we’re the narrators of our life, and while telling our story, we must not let things get too complicated to the point where we’re the protagonists in peril. Find your way to escape, while also staying grounded in reality. If it’s a dream you’re chasing after, utilize escapism to end the chase and accomplish that dream.

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