The only thing I will say right now about this election season is that it’s terrifying. Maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement, but it doesn’t feel like it when every media outlet and great uncle on Facebook is talking about it in increasingly alarming tones. It’s enough to make you want to curl up under a blanket fort with the essentials (tea, sweatpants, guac) and hide out for a while (not that I ever need an excuse to do this anyway).
Which brings me to the idea of escapism. We all have that one guilty pleasure, whether it be Bravo reality shows, Sunday football, or trashy romance novels, that allow us to escape reality for a bit and lose ourselves in another world. They don’t even have to be guilty pleasures, as plenty of people do productive things when they escape, such as write poems or sculpt something. Whatever works.
Right now I’m sucked into the Outlander series. I’ve watched the show, which I enjoyed despite getting so distracted by the actor who plays Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan, <333) that I could barely follow the plot. The first book, which I’m in the middle of, is over 500 pages long and is as deeply entertaining as the show – perfect for a little escapism. Plus, I finally understand what’s going on!
Other recent outlets I’ve used to escape include The Bachelor franchise, the Zillow app (I have a thing for home tours), and long meandering walks through the nearest Barnes & Noble. The trick is to find something you can lose yourself in that represents another type of world. Even if everything goes wrong in that alternate universe (like the drama of any Real Housewives show), it’s still contained and can’t touch you. It promises to be resolved in the end, whether through a televised wedding proposal or the defeat of a certain dark wizard.
Whatever it is, it’s necessary. These escapes are short-lived, but they are effective. Rereading Harry Potter helps me get through times of deep anxiety, and right now Outlander is exactly what I need to recharge during my hour-long break from my retail job. Although people tend to be embarrassed by their guilty escapist pleasures, I say we screw that and live our lives. The world can be a discouraging and hopeless place, and sometimes we need reminded that there are still things we can simply enjoy without overthinking it.