While sitting on a bench halfway up a hill the other day, (to catch my breath, it was a steep hill!) I realised just how much time I spend escaping from my reality.
When I was younger, I read books every single day, and would happily escape into fictional worlds full of witches and magic and Californian beaches and parties.
Then as I grew older, I loved movies, and spent hours in my room watching videos, getting them second-hand from video rental shops.
I also played video games, racing cars was my favourite kind of game, seeing if I could beat the other competitors on the track.
In the late nineties, the internet arrived, with its allure of chatrooms and emailing, which then consumed much of my time and attention.
Of course, I did actually go outside and interact with real live people throughout my childhood and my teens, but I did spend quite a chunk of time ‘somewhere else’ and not quite on this plane of reality.
In my twenties, I discovered the world of spirituality and mind, body and spirit books, that then taught me about other dimensions and universes that existed, and I explored those topics through my writing, which was also my way of escaping my reality here on this planet.
Now, it’s mainly social media that is my escape. Only with the pretence attached that it’s a more social form of anti-social behaviour, because I’m not escaping into a fictional world of fictional characters, but into a digital world full of actual people.
I stopped to take in the magic of the woods
While sitting on the bench, all of this was running through my mind, and I forced myself to put away my phone (I was having a conversation on Facebook with my friend) and I just sat there, and took in the sunlight, the shape of the leaves above me, the sounds that I could hear, and the smells. I wanted to beat myself up over having escaped so much over the years that I had missed out on being here, fully present, in each moment. But then I realised something.
Escapism may be the only reason why I am still here.
It’s no secret that there have been many times throughout my life when I have found it difficult to remain on this planet. Indeed, many Old Souls and other Earth Angels often feel this way. It can be a dark and scary place to be, and the idea that we are here to make any kind of difference can be incredibly overwhelming. So reading, writing books and poetry, watching films, playing videos games, being on Social Media – they are my coping mechanisms. In a similar way that alcohol, drugs, meditation, overeating, etc are coping mechanisms that others employ.
I would like to be more present, to be in the moment with whatever is happening or however I am feeling. But I recognise and accept that in order for me to be here, I also need healthy doses of escapism, in the form of fictional worlds and chatting with friends in various parts of the world, watching stupid cat videos and even blogging my random thoughts right here for all to see.
So next time you find yourself vegging out in front of the TV or computer, don’t beat yourself up over it. Just enjoy the escapism and let the break from reality refresh you and help you to be more productive and present at other times.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the world of Faeries and Starpeople to continue writing my new book!