The real world sucks.

Think about it: there are constant disagreements with each other, selfishness, anger, frustration, sadness, grief, and so on. It’s a depressing place to be.

But, it’s the only place to be. Until Congress approves that colony on the moon we’ve all been pushing for (fingers crossed), this is the only world we get to live in. So we need to make the best of it.

And no mistake about it, there are plenty of good things in this world, too. Plenty to be happy about. But for some reason, our brains are conditioned to seek out the lousy stuff and dwell on those things a lot longer than the good stuff.

In a recent interview with Playboy, Stephen Colbert (out of character and extremely well-spoken) talked about his grief over the deaths of his father and two of his brothers when he was a boy (my emphasis added):

PLAYBOY: It’s been almost four decades since it happened. Does the grief dissipate?

COLBERT: No. It’s not as keen. Well, it’s not as present, how about that? It’s just as keen but not as present. But it will always accept the invitation. Grief will always accept the invitation to appear. It’s got plenty of time for you.

The interview itself is a great read, and largely non-political, which is great. Definitely recommended – I read it last night on my Kindle.

(Note: if you want to read the interview but you’re not too keen on hanging out on Playboy’s website, that’s cool: just find the interview here on Longform.org and you can use a tool like Readability to just grab the text and read it. It’s worth the trouble.)

Anyhoo, grief and sadness and all the negativity of the world waits around for you and pounces on you, so it’s important to find ways to escape them, even for a little bit.

Here are just a few great ways that you can escape the weight of the world:

  • Writing – immerse yourself in your own thoughts and get some cathartic thoughts on paper
  • Reading – find a fun story and get lost
  • TV – the lazy man’s form of reading, but still works. Pick something fun, like a good sitcom
  • Meditation – a popular way to empty your mind and relax
  • Video games – more active than TV. Again, pick something fun. There’s a lot of serious stuff in video games these days. Mario always works
  • Friends – find people in your life that don’t sit around and complain all day. Play a game with them or something

That’s a short list, but you can find something for anybody in there. The point is to get a little bit of a release of energy (like you get from a good workout) and to focus on happier things, even if those happier things aren’t necessarily connected to reality.

But be careful: escape has to be temporary

An escape is a great thing, but some people are desperate to escape and they stay away from life. That’s not going to get you anywhere. A big part of life is responding to adversity and negativity and fighting it off. The only way to do that is by doing things. Activity beats adversity every time.

Don’t get lost in your escape. Come back to regular life again. When you get out, just recharge your batteries and then get back to it. You’ll find that, the more you focus on addressing the negativity in your life head-on, the less often it pops up.

Colbert continues:

The interesting thing about grief, I think, is that it is its own size. It is not the size of you. It is its own size. And grief comes to you. You know what I mean? I’ve always liked that phrase He was visited by grief, because that’s really what it is. Grief is its own thing. It’s not like it’s in me and I’m going to deal with it. It’s a thing, and you have to be okay with its presence. If you try to ignore it, it will be like a wolf at your door.