Written by Annie Laskey, Events Director, Pasadena Senior Center
From time immemorial humans have turned to adventure, music, stories, and art for a break from their daily lives. Whether your day-to-day is a whirlwind of activity or unbelievably routine, blissfully happy or terribly sad, I guarantee you need a break. And we all deserve a respite from the drumbeat of bad news, fear, and anxiety that is so prevalent today.
Unfortunately, in the time of a pandemic, it is hard to change your physical surroundings. Travel of any sort is challenging at best. Camping is one of the safest options (your own car, your own gear, your own cooking). But it isn’t for everyone. As much as I love nature, the prospect packing all that gear – let alone sleeping on the ground with bugs - just gives me the heebee jeebies.
However, if we can’t go on vacation to change our physical surroundings, we can still give our emotional and mental selves a break from reality. Call it vacation or call it escapism, it’s all about finding that happy place when we need it.
I’ve loosely sorted the escapism options into three categories:
- Active. Walking, swimming, dancing and all manner of physical activity that we do for the fun of it, not because it’s work-related, physical therapy, or is a chore.
- Reactive. My loose definition is anything you can enjoy without participating in its creation. This includes watching movies, reading books, listening to music, looking at art, following sports teams.
- Interactive. A combination of the first two. It takes physical and mental activity to write a book, paint a picture, craft a model airplane, cook an elaborate meal, even dress up for a costume party. And after you have engaged in the creation process, you can enjoy what you have created. Or give it to someone else and spread the joy.
I recommend mixing and matching activities from all three categories as the best way to go. I love to dance (active), I’ve been a fan of movies and books my whole life (reactive), and among my hobbies are cooking, photography, and writing (interactive). I’m not sure what category collecting, sorting, polishing, and wearing jewelry falls into, but that’s another happy place for me.
Think about what you do, and what you’d like to do, and do it! Do what gives you peace, what gives you energy, and what makes you happy.
Whether it is watching a James Bond movie, martini in hand (shaken, not stirred, thank you!), sweating up a storm running a 5K, or crocheting endless baby blankets, go for it! Escape! When your respite is over and you face the “real” world again, you may find yourself a little better able to get through the day with confidence and hope.