The Pleasures of Escapism

by Peyton Blumenfeld ‘22

Everybody is in desperate need of an escape, especially with Covid-19 updates and political turmoil being shoved down our throats. Every once in a while, we need to give ourselves a mental vacation, so our sanity doesn’t slip away from us.

In simple terms, escapism is a form of distracting yourself from reality. In times of crisis, some may turn to their favorite film or book to dive into a world that is comforting and reassuring, rather than be stuck with the unpleasant aspects of normal life. With the pandemic and politics lurking over our heads, it just feels like everywhere we look there’s a problem unable to be solved. Luckily, we have forms of entertainment to fill our lives with a little more cheer during these dark times. 

In response to my aching sense of loneliness and urge for excitement during quarantine, I resorted back to my roots and immersed myself in fantasy worlds. The looming stress of school kept me occupied, but with quarantine in motion and schools shut down, it gave me a chance to turn to the thing I love most—reading. I couldn’t see my family, friends, or anyone for that matter, and neither could anyone else. Reading guided me out of my isolation. I used to read because I thought it was fun, now I read because I gain friends with each passing story. As long as I have a book in hand, I am never alone. 

If you’re longing for adventure, escapism allows you to set foot in a whole new world without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home. Simply opening a book or turning on a movie can instantly transport you to a land far away from your own. All my worries wash away and an immense feeling of happiness cascades through my body when I allow myself to divert my attention away from reality. I am able to imagine that I truly am alongside my favorite characters. Living in your own head has its perks when you can’t live in the real world at its fullest potential.

Taking a break from actuality now and again is completely fine; in fact, it’s only human nature. I’ve learned to not feel guilty when I miss a major news story because I was re-watching Harry Potter, and I don’t kick myself when I postpone a homework assignment because I was re-reading “Lord of the Rings.” Even though putting off assignments and running away from your problems does not solve anything, it can reduce your stress and give you a momentary sense of serenity. 

It is important to acknowledge that escapism does not pause time around us. The more you indulge yourself into fantasies worlds, the more you shun the real world away. Be careful not to let escapism turn into sheer avoidance because sooner or later you must face reality. But in the meantime, you should give yourself a break and enjoy the pleasures of escapism.