So, after admitting my escapism, I guess it’s a good idea to ask myself whether it’s a good thing, whether it’s overdone. But first, I wanted to think about it in parts. It seems logical to start with the easies thing: where do I escape to?
I need only have a look at my bookshelf, remind myself of my favorite day-dreams, the ones that I flee to when I feel dissatisfied with reality.
I daydream about power.
There, I’ve said it. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true: when I escape to a day-dream, it’s to an alternate reality where I have some level of the authority, know-how, finesse required to fix things that really bother me in real life.
Hearing on a podcast about unfair treatment of Chinese immigrants to the U.S. (you should really listen to backstory), I fantasize about ways I could make that better, about having the authority to offer restitution. Having a position of sufficient influence that my just mentioning the problem would bring press attention.
Realizing this, it’s probably wise to wait before telling myself this is healthy/unhealthy or some kind of neutral other thing. I mean, I’m ashamed to admit it — though I couldn’t tell you why — but I’m heartened to think that it means that I care. Perhaps, though, I should be looking more actively for the things that I can do, rather than taking solace in fantasies of easy solutions.
I escape to simplicity.
I’m less ashamed of this, but that’s probably because I subconsciously ascribe to the same, flawed logic “if I’m not the only one, then it’s not so bad” that I’m quick to criticize in others. After all, none of the books I read have been written specifically for me, so I’m just one of many.
But, looking at what I read, it’s clear that I like things that reduce the world to clear moral boundries between good and evil. (Clive Cussler, W.E.B. Griffin, anyone?) In real life, I find that I invest almost more of my energy into trying to find the right thing to do than I do into actually doing it. This, of course, leaves me feeling weak and somehow insufficient to the challenges presented to me. It would be nice to think of a world in which I could invest my energy in doing — even under difficult circumstances — instead of into deciding.
I suppose that history isn’t kind to those who’ve decided badly, but, on the other hand, I look up to my grandfather for the hard work he invested into slogging across Europe in the war, rather than into any amount of deliberation he maybe put into whether or not to sign up in the Army in the first place.
Again, I’m not saying that it’s good or bad, but I’m realizing that I’d like a world in which there is more possibility for action.
That’s a load of bunk.
I say that I’d like a world in which there is more possibility for action, but I have to say that it continues to be very hard for me to overcome my own inertia. I’d like to build a birdfeeder with my oldest son — there has been no action on that front. I promised myself to learn more about Brigid — there has been very little action on that front. I need a new poem to memorize on my next ‘bardic run’ — there has been no action on that front.
Perhaps I need to challenge myself to act more, and escape less.