Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thoughts on Escapism

The very word "escapism" can evoke a negative connotation in our society, as we often associate it with excessive behavior of one sort or another. But I think it's a necessary fact of life, one we all need to maintain balance against the demands of families and careers. When I'm escaping, regardless of the method, I feel a grand sense of relief, that there is another way to exist outside of stressful deadlines and the demanding cube environment. It makes those days worth it.

After just one vacation day from work, I find myself blissful with domestication and family. Cubicle life is worlds away as I clack at the keys in a tidied living room amongst sleepy pets, enjoying the smell of simmering chili I realize how easily I could lose myself in the keeping of the house, and how odd that the very jail cell women fought to leave is the same one I seek to return to as I flee from a different sort of prison. I could just as easily lose myself in a novel, or a movie, or a nap...but today I escape by simply being here in the present.

During the week, I find it nearly impossible to do anything productive. My mind and sensibility are totally wiped clean from a day in the cube, and the need to escape into something simple grips me with an unspeakable strength. On the good days, I escape into a workout or a walk with the dog, where I am able to wear my body to catch up with the weariness of my mind. On bad ones, I find myself escaping into a bottle of wine and television, unable to do anything except passively forget the stress and absorb the onslaught of primetime's mediocrity.

A day like today serves as the perfect middle ground between the two, where I am able to escape into my home, leaving my energetic imprint on it as I wipe away dust and fill it with healthy food smells. I am surrounded by contentment as cat and dog doze and music plays softly on the stereo. I know that next time I'm chained to the cube, I will stare out the window and remember this moment, escape back into it and hopefully retrieve the feeling it brings.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thoughts on Forgetting to Write

Earlier today, a co-worker and I went to the Open Book for a cup of coffee and I found myself telling her about how I used to take classes there. We chatted about writing in general, and I realized it's been a while since I've written here. I resovled to write a new entry tonight, and when I opened my blog I was horrified it's been nearly three months since my last entry. Three months? That's a quarter of a year. I wonder if I've grown out of writing, and why it has fallen so low on my list of priorities.

I came to the conclusion that there are some areas in life that either take up more energy than I would like them to or more energy than I anticipated when taking them on. My career is the first energy hog, sapping up more hours of my day and more electricity in my brain than I care to admit. It has reached a point where my mind has as much life at the end of a work day as double A batteries have by the day after Christmas. Finding the energy to write this entry is taking some effort: I made myself sit down to write rather than head to bed with a steaming cup of sleepy time tea and a thick Robin Hobb novel.

Energy hog number two is my relationships. None of my relationships are negative (anymore) and I love everyone I spend time with dearly. From my boyfriend to the dog to happy hours with co-workers, I enjoy every second of being with them all. But I can't write and socialize, or write and walk the dog, or write and go on a dinner date at the same time. Hence, the writing doesn't get done.

Balancing the career and relationships on top of the third energy hog, self care, is quite the game. By "self care" I mean physical fitness, tai chi, meditation, cooking...all the things I make time for in order to enhance my health and well-being. Take today, for example. I worked a very full day, took the dog for a run, made homemade chili and corn muffins for supper, cleaned up, and then and only then did I make time for this blog, the first entry in months. I feel out of practice and unable to channel the sentences as readily as usual. I want my writing back.

I don't count on hundreds of people clicking the link on FB I am about to post, but if you do read my entries, I have a small favor to ask. Tell me to write. Even if you hate it. Remind me how much I enjoy spilling my thoughts into the blogosphere, and they will spill. I have many more thoughts to share.