This morning on my walk, I thought about how I have needed ways to “escape” during this pandemic. Where are my places to go when I don’t want to think much, learn something new, create, or frankly do anything constructive? I allow myself at most an hour a day; okay some days up to two hours.
Normally in the summer I would be out traveling for at least a couple of weeks. It was both an escape from the Louisiana heat but also a joy to explore new places, see friends and family, be outdoors and experience creativity.
My escapism trajectory this spring/summer has been in front of our TV with Netflix. It began with The Great British Baking Show, then to Shtisel (a drama series about an ultra-Orthodox family in Jerusalem), and now to Indian Matchmaking (a reality TV show set in the United States and India). Are there common threads in these shows?
What these programs include:
adults who are exploring and learning about themselves through an activity or relationships
beautiful or new settings where I have never been
how people cope with stress
how there are so many different ways that people live
I realize that the shows I am choosing to watch for escapism actually do relate to my work. I am interested in how people relate to one another, how they communicate, and how our families/backgrounds/religion/community and the pressures and messages we receive are integral to who we are and how we choose to live.
Often I will suggest to my coaching clients that they notice what grabs their attention. What do you notice when you walk or drive down the street? Which articles in the newspaper or in a magazine pull you in? These can be clues to your true nature: your interests and values. So that when it is time to make a job or career change or find a new hobby or even choose a TV show to escape with, it may be a good match for you.
I must admit that I decided to watch and continue to watch Indian Matchmaking with skepticism. Nevertheless, I have been captivated. Here are a couple of articles that explore the controversies and then an article about Shtisel.
The Atlantic - Unpacking the Immense Popularity of Shtisel