Before I wrote professionally for a media company, my escape from the everyday grind was writing and scrolling through culture news and editorials. Transitioning my hobbies to my livelihood felt like following my dreams in the most classic sense (inspirational-cursive-superimposed-on-a-photo-of-the-ocean kind of shit), but losing my tried outlets for processing and unwinding wasn’t something I prepared for.
On the day before Thanksgiving, I found myself alone in the quiet of my shared apartment and realized, with a deep sadness, that I felt none of the cheer I normally do before my favorite holiday. In its place: a lump of work anxiety in my throat, a tightness in my chest about the state of the world and a pit in my stomach that I couldn’t afford a plane ticket home. The blank page no longer felt like a pace to process, media sites no longer felt like a pace to dream, a homey sense of holiday familiarity was out of my reach. I felt a little lost. So, on a whim, I started talking into my phone’s voice memo. I sat cross-legged on my couch for 45 minutes talking to my own dumb ears.
It was a new outlet. It felt foreign, but good. Soon, I realized it had been months since I’d taken time to process my feelings using different muscles from the ones I’m flexing every day at work, a separation I’d easily achieved when I worked in HR. In that moment, I escaped. And in doing so, I stepped back into my own skin. A little counterintuitive perhaps, but just what I needed.
Ever since I’ve been thinking a lot about escape. So often we talk about making time for it and for ourselves. I’m increasingly interested in how we actually achieve it, particularly since it’s meant to hit two sometimes-at-odds things at once: easy and helpful. Our landscapes (emotional and physical) are constantly changing, that means our outlets will have to also, right? What’s your escape? What does that word even mean for you? I’m curious to hear. Let’s talk in the comments.