What value is there in letting go of reality—putting ourselves in a state that is the literal definition of escaping the real world?
We already spend a third of our time missing out on life thanks to that old recharge mechanism called sleep, so why isn’t that enough? Why do we find life so exhausting that we need to disengage while we’re awake?
These questions have weighed on my mind for years. I actually attempted to write about this topic some years ago on an old Tumblr blog, which was obliterated for humanity’s sake. Out of everything I wrote about back then, it is the only thought I can confidently say hasn’t left me.
Freedom for most Americans is defined as having time to watch television, play video games, passively explore the internet, go on a movie binge, or, for the book worms out there, dive into the fantasy world of their favorite novelist.
When these novel approaches aren’t enough, we use catalysts like alcohol, cigarettes, weed, prescription pills, and other nefarious chemical combinations.
And for what? To provide ourselves with a short-term fix? One that comes with a 100% guarantee the world we are wanting to escape will be waiting for us—unchanged or worse than we left it—when that unnatural comfort fades?
Of course, if that was our answer, we wouldn’t do it. But, it wouldn’t be a well-performing addiction if it could be approached with reason.
So, here we are, an overstressed, over-relaxed (what a contradiction) society wasting countless days doing nothing but destroying our health and getting next to nothing important accomplished.
What Do We Do?
For starters, we need to put that drink down. We need oxygen, not alcohol.
Oxygen is free, enriching, and immensely under-appreciated, while alcohol cuts into our bank accounts, destroys our livers (and don’t give me the “it’s good for your heart!” excuse—that’s not why you’re doing it), and goes unquestioned far too often.
Feels good, right?
As the oxygen refreshes our lungs, replenishes our blood cells, and relaxes our soul, we are reminded of this limitless, long-lasting stress reliever that dances on the tip of our noses 24/7/365.
What more could we ask for? Seriously? Why do we choose to overcomplicate the matter and turn an incredibly easy-to-solve problem into this complex, overstated issue we have an undying passion to wallow in?
So, Breathing’s Not Your Thing
Ok, maybe your idea of stress relief isn’t an antidote founded in “relaxation,” but instead you need to feel alive, an adrenaline of sorts.
For many of us, we spend 40+ hours a week locking ourselves away in an office, cube, or disturbingly distracting open office space. For those of us still in school, we live in similar doldrums due to our antiquated education system.
Regardless of age, the lifestyle for most of us revolves around a low-energy state. Once we leave these places and go home, we have this false sense of exhaustion because we’ve conditioned our bodies to think this sedentary state is the “norm.”
As the sun sets and our bodies prepare for another night of sleep, our energy turns down even lower because our norm is well below that of our far more active, hunter-gatherer roots.
Taking a deep breathe, although replenishing, is unlikely to curb this habitual turn down. What we need is something to turn us up. Rather than drinking caffeine, popping a pill, or, for those that look for the ultra kick in the pants, doing a line, we need to cultivate our energy from natural sources.
We can explore our passions, get our heart’s pumping through exercise, or have a conversation with someone that will take our thinking to new levels. No matter what we choose, we need to make sure we feel energized and enveloped in this unfamiliar feeling of love.
Love for life, love for people, love for ourselves.
How often are we ever asked what inspires us? What’s the one thing, if given the chance, we’d pursue until the end of time because it enlivens us to an everlasting state of happiness? And, more importantly, when we’re asked, how often are we able to even come up with an answer?
When We Find Our Answer, We…
Live. Possibly for the first time in our lives. We find ourselves distracted by this new flame burning inside us. Like a lightning bug floating toward a fluorescent light, we can’t help but allow all of our attention to be soaked up by this burning desire.
It’s the gateway to an entire new book on life. Not a chapter, a book. This is a brand new story filled with adventures once unfathomable. As we take our passions and bring them into being, the limiting world we thought we lived in grows exponentially, breaking through every barrier we put in the way.
We no longer find ourselves unable to focus on our longterm happiness, using short-term, unfulfilling fixes to simply get us to the next day. Now, we can see the possibility of and in everything. We wake up before the alarm, find every day to be filled with opportunity and fulfillment, and radiate love to all passersby.
This is what we thought we’d get through all of the other recreational activities we touched on in the beginning. Now we know what will bring us this joy.