As someone who lives in a world of entrepreneurship, I often hear discussion about "wasting time" and how people don't watch TV, or go to movies, or do anything that could be considered "counter productive," unless it's something that is teaching you how to run your business (i.e. the umbrella of "personal development"). I feel like those who do spend time doing those things are looked down upon as though all they are doing is wasting their time. You know what I think, though? I think that this "personal development" that people talk about can come in many media and art forms. A big part of personal development is simply about improving ourselves. Sometimes this involves improving ourselves through our habits and skills (which is truly necessary, and I highly recommend), but other times it simply means learning to work through some of the shit that life is throwing at us... and THAT is where I think "escapism" is a completely valid form of personal development.
Not all people can "snap out of it" simply with a good pep talk and pat on the back (or ass... whatever floats your boat). There are many, many different personality types out there, and a lot of times we have trouble understanding each other (*side note* this is why I love the My Little Pony cartoon, because it's teaching kids [and some adults] early on how to deal with people of different personality styles, in different circumstances, from different walks of life, and how to all get along and work through things together *end side note*). Some people truly need to dive into some form of escapism in order to clear their head and truly find themselves again. They are not being "lazy" when they do this... they are working through some shit. And, you know what? Even if they aren't at any given moment, I think it's totally ok to sit down and just enjoy something for the sake of enjoying it every once and a while (or, in my case... 1 to 3 hours per night... yes, I watch TV *gasp* OH NO HOW COULD SHE!?).
Look, I'm not saying that you should re-prioritize your life and put your escapism first before all other things (because that wouldn't be the healthiest way to go about it either), I'm just saying that I understand that there can be a valid place in life for it to happen. Sure, you never want to escape to the point of it being running away from life completely, but sometimes people need to deal with shit and HOW they deal with shit is going to be different person by person. The important thing is truly learning to understand ourselves and become vividly aware of how we deal with things and what we need to do in order to find ourselves again.
Why am I ranting on this? Well, I just got out of a Supernatural panel at San Diego Comic Con (stay with me here, kids). For those who don't know, that show just wrapped up season 11. Yes, that's a lot of television! Yes, I watched EVERY EPISODE just this year (starting in January when I came down with the flu really badly). So, needless to say, I binge watched a bit. What I didn't realize, at the time, is how watching that show was helping me through things that were beginning to unfold in my own life (well, look, ok... my life has been a bit shaky this year. If you want to see reasons, just read my last blog). I was going through hard times for longer than a lot of people may have realized, because I was hiding it all away. So, I still did my job during the day, but at night I joined the Winchester brothers on their hunts and it helped me get the bottled emotions out. I'd laugh, I'd cry, and I'd find relatable circumstances in the show that helped me guide my own life (yes, this IS possible even in a show where the main characters are running around shooting ghosts in the face with rock salt loaded into shotguns). I'm just saying, before you judge someone, learn how they heal. Just because you don't understand, doesn't mean that the other person is wrong. So, before you think someone is silly for being into something (a tv show, a movie, a band, etc.), realize that the deep rooted reason for them being so into that thing may have nothing to do with the actual thing itself, but could perhaps have to do with the time in their life in which they decided to latch onto that thing, and what that thing helped them work through personally.
Overall, I think escapism is GOOD (to a point). Just remain self aware and know when you may be diving in too deep. Stop feeling guilty if you need to use escapism as a method to cope, or simply just to unwind. If you are someone who copes this way, look at what characters you are drawn to and ask yourself what about them speaks to you. Learn about yourself more by taking a deeper look at the characters you relate to. Even fiction can help you learn a little bit about yourself in the long run. Take the lessons you can get in life from wherever they are provided, because you never really know how life is going to speak to you.
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