I’m a big believer in suspended reality. I believe that a temporary escape from reality can be a good thing. I’m not talking about going off the deep end, or refusing to accept reality. I’m just talking about taking a break from reality to preserve sanity.
A mother or father starts her/his day dressing and feeding their children, packing lunches, driving them to school before racing off to work. Once at their post of employment, they have constant demands put on them by supervisors, clients and colleagues. When their work day finally comes to an end, they rush home. Meals must be prepared. Children must be whisked off to dance, soccer, hockey, karate, music lessons, or whatever other activity their children are involved in. It is not uncommon for one parent to be rushing one child one way while the other rushes another in a different direction. If they have more than two children, it really gets complex as they somehow manage the logistics of getting everyone where they need to go and then ensuring that they all make it home again.
Once back home, homework must be done and checked, children bathed, teeth brushed, and kids tucked in. Now the leftover dishes need to be washed, a load of laundry needs to be done and it’s already time to go to bed. It’s a wonder how cable companies stay in business. Nobody is ever home to watch television.
Day in and day out they continue on. We all endure overly busy lives. Maybe children are no longer a responsibility, but no doubt that void has been filled with volunteering for an organization, or undertaking more hours at work in hopes of saving for an eventual retirement. No one is immune from getting a little burnt-out now and then. It’s not uncommon for many of us to actually know off the top of our heads how many days there are until our next vacation. We look forward to those little escapes from the hustle and bustle of daily routines. But vacations for most of us only come once or twice a year. How can we possibly survive the long periods of stress in between?
I believe it’s important to mentally escape every once in a while. Perhaps read a good novel or watch a movie. Get caught up in a world that you are not personally invested in. Through the stories of others, our imaginations allow us to travel to distant places, do things we may not have the talent to do, and meet people we will never have opportunity to. Only by inserting our minds into another’s story can we share in their adventure, or experience their trials and triumphs.
“What about time?” most of us will ask. “When am I supposed to find time in my busy life to read a book?” To do that, my friends, we must suspend time. The lawn will still be there to cut an hour from now. The vacuuming, dusting, weeding etc. will also wait for you. I’m not telling you to neglect your responsibilities to others or yourself, I’m just saying that there’s nothing wrong with taking a little time for yourself, even when there appears to be no time to be had.
We send our children to school so as to ensure their ability to read, but we forget that there is more to reading than simple communication. We get so caught up in reading memos, contracts, and email, that we forget what a pleasure it can be to use reading a book as an escape. We forget what it’s like to experience the wondrous world around us through someone else’s words. We forget how to go on a mental adventure through someone else’s stories. It might be time for some of us to make a trip to the local library, or book store, and reacquaint ourselves with a skill we have all long forgotten that we
possess… the ability to suspend reality.