The Great Escape

My wife and I were with a friend the other day and she said something that has stayed with me, and not in a good way. I don’t think she knows I write this…maybe she does…I guess that’s irrelevant for anyone but her.

She said that she feels trapped. That all she keeps thinking about is escaping from her life.

Her statement has been haunting me, for almost a week now.

Here is a girl who is healthy. She’s the mother of a beautiful, nice young kid. She has a good husband. Parents that love her. She has a bit of money, so that’s not a daily concern. Looking at the honest picture, what’s really to escape from? Where are you going to escape to, that is going to actually be better than where you are now?

Maybe what is so troubling is that I felt this way for a period of my life. I felt trapped. I wanted to escape. And to the outside observer, to the ‘honest picture’ I described above, I was fine. To most people, I was probably more than fine. But all I wanted to do was escape. I wanted out of everything, even my own skin. And the darkest of dark thoughts would enter my mind on how to best accomplish that.

So I think hearing this was especially troubling to me…because I lived it.

The bad news is…there is no escape from your life. Not in any reality. Your life actually isn’t the problem, your problems are the problem. And your real problems are internal. They were either inherited or you created them yourself. Either way, they are now inherent. You can’t just runaway and expect them not to be there. There is no life you can escape to where they won’t follow.

I always find it interesting when people get divorced, then remarried, and they expect to find their new-found relationship that much better. They managed to escape that ‘horrible’ first marriage and finally found their true love. But many come to find out that they have the same or similar marital problems in this new union. It’s not a mistake. And they didn’t marry the same person. Despite how much blame they put on their worse half in that 1st marriage, they owned half of those problems. And if they didn’t address their ownership in the mess they first created, their problems are going with them no matter who they are with.

Luckily, as with most things, it’s not all bad news.

While there is no escape from your life, there is an escape from the misery that your are living in. You can escape from the problems. But the word escape doesn’t really fit either. There is something too quick about that word. Something too easy. There is nothing quick or easy about this. There is no running. This is not a jailbreak.

You can’t run away from your problems in your life, but you can deal with them.

And yes, you might be in a prison right now, but you want to know the best way out of prison? Good behavior. So serve your time. Put in work to become a better human being. To become a better everything. Not just so you get out of prison, so you stay out of prison.

One of the best ways to escape your misery is to build on your current foundation of good. The easiest way to find that foundation is to give thanks every day for all the blessings you have in your life. Take a look around, really think about it. There is so much to be thankful for.

Building on the good things in your life, you can make some repairs to the bad. And some cuts to the irreparable.

All this takes a while to really take effect. A long, most times arduous walk on the path. But it’s worth every step. And there is no other way. I know it’s not easy. For many of us. But get on or stay on the path.

This whole realization came to me very late in my healing process. It’s something I think would have helped me a bit.

In person I’m not a real advice giver. But I didn’t have this on the tip of my tongue anyway. I asked her a few questions. Talked to her about it. I put her in my thoughts and prayers, like I do all people who need them. It’s all I could do.

Happy Thanksgiving.