Reality sucks, right? I know. I feel you.
It’s why books, movies and television shows are so popular. You know the old deal. Escapism. And escapism is good in small doses. But sometimes, we can get lost in the wonder of a fictional world. We’re not just lured in by the perfect people in stories with their perfect problems. We like to see suffering, we like to be scared, so that we can feel a tad better about our own often excruciatingly imperfect lives with problems that can’t be solved with a kiss or a lucky save or final showdown.
I’ve fallen down the hole of fiction many times. I’m a huge fan of imagination. I feed on stardust and magic and fantasy. It rejuvenates me, gives me a reason to live in this world.
Thing is, though I don’t feel too guilty about reading books as a form of escapism, because any kind of reading is good, every time I watch a movie or television show, I feel like a child sticking her hand into a jar of forbidden treats, knowing I might get caught and the sweets will make me sick but doing it anyway.
I feel guilty. I feel like I’m wasting my life, the seconds, minutes and hours swirling down the drain of my limited existence. And yet, sometimes, I can’t stop.
You know what I mean.
You come home, tired of reality and the daily drudgery of existence. You want to forget you are you, you want to forget your problems, even if momentarily. Of course, you don’t want to drink yourself into oblivion – that would be reckless. So. You sit down before your television or computer screen. And you watch. You watch, knowing that work is piling up, that you should be doing other things, knowing you should be working towards your dreams, working towards making life better, solving your problems in the real world.
But you don’t want to face it, damn it. You just want to wallow in the beauty of what is on the screen, cry, laugh, let your heart crack open and unleash forth a brief glimmer of joy through a slit that reality normally stitches tight.
But the difficulty of life isn’t the only reason we want to escape. It’s also because we’re bored. Reality is boring as hell. Though we want to solve our problems, we want the solutions to come in a big bang and trumpet of fanfare. We don’t want to talk over relationship issues with our spouse in a silent kitchen sitting opposite each other – we want him or her to clasp us in their arms and profess their love to the sky. We want it to be dramatic, interesting, for the blood to pump in our veins, to live our lives vivaciously.
But most of our lives revolve around work and school, with the occasional holiday and break. It’s painfully dull.
So. Life is hard and boring. Talk about a double whammy. It’s no wonder we want to escape. Reality pumps us full of toxins that only fiction can cleanse us of.
But you’ve got to cling on.
I know. I know. I know. It sucks. It sucks, sucks, sucks.
But don’t let yourself became a slave to fiction. Don’t become an addict dependent on your daily shot of soap operas and Nicolas Sparks novels. It’s easy to, especially if you’re a dreamer or idealistic – escapism runs in your blood. Heck, your own imagination is a portable form of escapism.
Here’s one of the best ways I broke the magic of television shows and movies. It might not work for you, but it did wonders in helping me break free.
Watch videos of the making of the films. Watch the behind-the-scenes footage. It’s like seeing the hands at a puppet show, knowing how a magician did a trick. It loses all of its magic once you realize it was planned, constructed, not real, not real.
What I’m saying is, you can watch your shows. Read your books. But don’t overdose. Force yourself to walk away after the fifth episode. Turn off the computer. Force yourself to turn away from the screen and do something else.
Spend your time wisely. You have less of it than you think. It’s so little – you can’t imagine how little time you truly have in the full scheme of things. Chase your dreams. Work hard. Procrastinate, have fun, waste time here and there, but bounce back. Always bounce back. Step away. Learn to control yourself.
Break the magic and cultivate your own brand of magic in the real world.