COLUMN | The Importance of Escape Entertainment

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We are pouring out daily as we live – we are pouring out our strength, our passion, our talent, our interest, our time, our attention and our efforts.

A cup that is poured must be filled again; otherwise it becomes empty.

This void is burnout.

Life requires the cup to be poured out, however. It’s inevitable. School, work, a social life, hobbies – all this pours our cups.

We can find purpose in what we do, and some of us even find something that satisfies and gives meaning to everything we do. But even though our lives are perfect, the cup is always empty at the end of the day.

It is necessary to find a way to fill the cup; finding a way to recharge is vital. It allows us to continue life without burnout.

Taking a step back is important. It fills our cups and keeps us participating in the things we love and the things we need to do.

One thing that fills our cups can be escapist entertainment.

Writing or cinema is supposed to transport its audience to other stories, places and realities. For many reasons, escape entertainment benefits those who participate in it.

It is an important aspect of the human experience to see the world from other points of view. This is how we keep from becoming self-centered. This is how we develop empathy and compassion, and protect ourselves from ignorance.

Life is easier to live when there is meaning and joy in it. Opening our minds to happiness enables us to love the things, people, and circumstances around us. Participating in escapist entertainment is one way to do this.

Perhaps the most important aspect of escapist entertainment, however, is that it distracts our minds from what is present. This allows us to encounter without thinking different ideas and stories. Because a world of problems, solutions, comedy, drama, romance, or adventure is offered to us in full, we experience it instead of spending what’s in our cup.

These media help us escape the things that empty our cups, and it takes no effort to experience them.

As with all things, there is a balance that must be maintained when participating in escape entertainment. If we engage with it too much, we run the risk of it consuming our lives, becoming an unhealthy addiction, making us lazy, or making us never want to return to our real world.

Plus, rarity does more.

The goal is to fill our cups just enough to have what it takes to keep going. “Just enough” is a niche amount that is subjectively determined by how much rest or downtime a person needs. Escape entertainment should be a coping mechanism – a habit even – but not a lifestyle or all-consuming idol.

It exists to help us and give us pleasure, so “just enough” becomes too much when we find ourselves unable to escape the escape medium.

Many people like to incorporate escapist entertainment as a motivation or “reward” for being productive or having a long, busy day. Timing is everything.

Personally, when my checklist fills up, I like to block time between projects to engage in escapist fun. It’s like watching a movie in the evening after a big exam to de-stress and help me rest for the rest of the week.

I always feel refreshed, especially when the plot unfolds the way I want it to. Additionally, I find that my ability to think creatively is being replenished and I feel rested enough to begin my next task.

There’s a sense of productivity in finishing a chapter, book, TV show, or movie. It gives us a sense of control.

We need to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of all our other responsibilities. We have to fill our cups.

Living a life with a steady and balanced flow of outflows and returns makes our human experience the most fulfilling, enjoyable and meaningful.


Opinions expressed in columns and letters represent the views and opinions of their individual authors.

These opinions do not necessarily reflect the student body, faculty, administration, or board of trustees of Auburn University.

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