I have to confess I’ve taken up a rather unhealthy habit as of late. It’s called running, but not in the kind of physical exertion that will ultimately lead to weight loss and increased physical fitness. More in the sense of running away from oneself – escapism at its finest.
I see it around me daily. I’ve done it before. Seeking to meet other people’s needs and looking to sort out other people’s problems, and in doing so avoiding one’s own. Burying oneself in work, so that the brain is bereft of energy to start wandering down meandering memories and invented scenarios. Filling up your social agenda with so many events, surrounding yourself with so much chatter and so many faces that thought is banished.
July’s at its end – these past few months have been a sort of a blur for me and have left me wondering where the days have gone. Maybe they’ve just melted into each other under the intensity of work and the heat of evenings and weekends filled up with everything from chores to aimless walks, to drinks and concerts.
This weekend I finally took proper time – since I can’t remember when – to sit with myself, to think and to reminisce. Childhood and the slowness and laziness of those long ago summers came to mind: the evening walks I’d take around the neighborhood and the intoxicating smell of the summer flowers, the cooling rain showers and the way the hot asphalt smelled afterwards, the silly songs we’d record on cassette tapes to be able to listen to them again and again (and the way we’d swap tapes to get songs we weren’t able to properly record ourselves).
Looking back at how those days used to effortlessly roll one into the next – and then without noticing into autumn – I’m starting to question if some of ways through which we escape a reality we’re not fond of may in fact be the best means to reconnect with who we really are. The line between escapism and truly living in the moment is finer than we’re comfortable with. Does not thinking about an issue all the time mean you don’t consider it important? Does prioritizing a concert over a house chore mean you’re careless and immature? Does not allowing a disappointment to ruin your mood for weeks mean you don’t care?