It seems that the quarterlife crisis is now official. Today’s Guardian carried this article reporting findings that despite the quarterlife crisis, “which lasts on average for two years”, being characterised by “insecurities, disappointments, loneliness and depression” it can be a positive experience. Quite.
There are four phases, two of which are aptly demonstrated by presumably twenty-something residents of Procida, and here at the bbp we often refer to the experiences described above as episodes because they occur at least with less regularity than a crisis. Hence over the years we have developed strategies of our own.
This article reminded me of a piece from 2006 pre-bbp which outlined a strategy for “coping”. Rereading it now I can chart how we’ve arrived at the current state of delusionoir we have mentioned a few times; I think by submitting what you are about to read to the FT Life and Arts magazine for their Pampering Pleasure section says it all (delusionoir).
Yachts, exotic paradises and a whatever the imagination allows
The Escanapism Centre in the silent surroundings of a Hampshire hamlet has a dubious feel to it. Is it a cult? It certainly feels like it as I drive up the gravel drive to the ‘epicentre’- an 18th century Georgian house. ‘Esacanapists’ stand solitary and sporadic in the grounds, lost in their self-indulgent reveries. I wonder how much they ’donate’ for the pleasure of looking like zombies. But my cynicism is assuaged when I meet Beverly, the founder and enterprising mind behind the Escanapism Centre. She has a warm and genuine smile and is of a slight and gracious build. She quickly explains that the Escanapists I encountered are the rich and very lost. Most are investment bankers and lawyers who work extremely hard and have tried every method and alternative therapy to attain the work-life balance that has become the new Nirvana in our global identity. They are the extremity of the people Beverly encounters-hence their need to remain close the house, “it’s a comfort thing”.
Beverly is not a psychoanalyst or a trained therapist. She is a former CEO of a successful global multinational who has attuned herself to the pleasure of daydreaming and turned it into “almost rehab” for the overworked. Escanapism is a fix for “the tortured soul of the global human being. We want everything, we want it now and we want it everywhere we go. This is a new phenomenon bought on by the global market that needs to have its counter-balance or we’ll end up losing ourselves.” She continues, “everywhere we go we leave a tether of ourselves and our memories in every port of the world. The GHB (Global Human Being) is not used to this.” Her spiel is convincing when I apply it to my own life. How can I compress all my social relations into an immediate sphere that enables me to access those nearest and dearest when they could be 6000 miles away? For Beverly, Escanapism is all about this compression “through the good old fashioned means of daydreaming.” She leads me into the house where I find more people essentially taking an afternoon nap. She instructs me to find a chair I find comfortable. Once seated she tells me to indulge in my fantasies. Or “realities” as she calls them.
After I have indulged myself with the company of Monica Bellucci and my ex-wife on a 70ft yacht moored in the Indian Ocean I leave to return to the hustle and bustle that is my life. Beverly imparts some wisdom before I leave. “Remember, a global human is subject to global pothos. If for a moment we can escape this global pothos, we can strive for more meaningful lives. It can be done anywhere, anytime.”
At the traffic lights and in a jam on the way home I snatch some moments of escanapism free of charge.