“Is this the real life, is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.”
Perhaps, when our bohemian rhapsody is muted by realistic madness, we feel the nagging urge to run away to our dreamy adobe. Homo-sapiens were (fortunately or unfortunately, it’s hard to tell) given an additional dimension of emotional depth to comprehend. Too many emotions evoked at once jam your brain and make you want to restart your system; after all, when life throws lots of lemons your way, it’s tough to juggle them all at once. So, you escape.
Perhaps, when harsh realism comes as a blow to our utopian bubble, we slam the door shut on the world till we’re ready, or forced, to face it again. Take a moment to ponder over this: What is your happy place? What is that fleeting moment where you slip away from the galactic mayhem of life to a calmer universe? It could be anything- intoxication, meditation, concentration, nature, music, or even long showers. Isn’t your happy place merely a portal away from real life?
The popularity of video games is a bastion to the undeniable fact that fantasy worlds are, and will always remain infinitely more interesting than real life. Video games have the amazing option to ‘save’ a game state, thereby enabling you to go back to that point in your make-believe world where everything was perfect, and getting to hit the replay button in your virtual life from that point onwards – ensuring, thereby, the perfect story to a life in which you alone are the protagonist.
The fact that life doesn’t come with that replay button can very often be daunting. But therein lies the beauty of reality – despite what social media would have you believe, you can’t fabricate circumstances, and you can’t stage the events taking place in your life; and unless you get really skilled at this game of life, a lot of it is left very often to chance.
Some of those chances might not be as vibrant as we may like them to be; and when the greys of life get too monotonous to bear, we tend to seek color in places elsewhere. We often lose our desires to the likes of others- compromising the reds for blues because it appeals to somebody else’s eye- and robotize our pattern of living. When was the last time you tried to paint your life with spontaneity, and break out of routine?
If you had to think to answer that, you’re not doing so frequently enough! The dark skies, bleak without rainbows, send you running to the green, sunny meadows of your mind palace. Escaping only seems like a natural choice, but the irony lies in the fact that it’s not as much a temporary solution as it is a mechanism to avoid facing reality for long as humanly possible.
One way to get out of this viciously recursive rut is to redefine what you think it means to escape. Within one’s subconscious rejection of the real world lies an inherent belief that reality isn’t what they’d like to live in, and is thus meant to be escaped from.
Speaking from personal experience, escapism is very closely related to procrastination, and I’m sure we all know how good it really feels to be productive (it’s exam time – you know you’ve felt the full extent of your potential recently).
Taking that first step towards being productive, therefore, becomes an imperative tool to counter the scourge of escapism. Momentarily engaging in activities that we truly enjoy (and I do not mean going through 50 pages of reddit or 9gag posts, unless that’s literally the only thing you enjoy, in which case, have you heard of test cricket?), with the intention of refueling to be able to work better can be highly beneficial in that regard.
Another thing that can help is to question your motives for procrastinating. All of us procrastinate, but most of us don’t really know why. The strange thing is, it’s not like we don’t like doing the work we’ve been assigned – we just give in to our impulses, choosing instead to watch that 20 minute- long episode of The Big Bang Theory (although, if you really do watch TBBT, you need some serious re-evaluations in that area too), or even that hour long episode of Game of Thrones instead of the two assignment questions that would take 10 minutes to solve. Analyzing procrastination can be the most useful thing one can do in their life, especially in college, and it might just open the pearly gates to a world of productivity.
In addition to these, take a moment to try and understand what it is you truly want from life. Escapism is something people often resort to when they’re unsure of that. Perhaps, dreamlands are safer. Reality may be no match for your life as a dragon-slaying-fire-breathing demigod in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as exciting in its own way! Life wasn’t given to be escaped from; and hopefully, when the light in your tunnel starts receding to oblivion, you’ll chase it, knowing fantasies don’t burn bulbs to life. Risk more, and fear less. Be a go-getter, not an escapist.
— Tejal Khullar and Rahul Basu for MTTN