Candy Crush and other forms of escapism

selective focus photography of jelly beans on jar

Photo by Graham Walker on

I am admitting to a few faults that stop my writing progress. One of them is the game “Candy Crush.” Yep, the one that is advertised on those streaming services.

I don’t even remember if it is a TV commercial too. I see it so often that I roll my eyes, but I still play the silly game.

I don’t know why it is so addictive.

My world is divided by before and after illness. Before my illness I escaped mainly through books. I read a lot of Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, Isaac Asimov, and other fantasy and sci-fi authors. My parents received some first and second editions of Edgar Rice Burroughs, which is why I know he wrote at least one Western. It was really good and sometimes I wish I had stolen that book from my parents library before they sold everything.

After my illness, I had a period of time where I couldn’t read. I would read a sentence and seconds later I couldn’t remember what I read. I would sit on the word “the” for hours. It was then that my late-hubby, Otto Tune, introduced me to games like “Bejeweled.” That first year I would sit in front of the computer, looking at the jewels and losing every game.

Even though a normal person would think these games were time-wasters, I found that every day I got better and every day my mind started to make connections. While I was on some serious chemotherapy, my brain had lost several connections. It was amazing that I could speak. As I got better with “Bejeweled,” “Candy Crush,” and other games like them, by brain started recognizing patterns again.

I learned a very important concept. Reading is pattern recognition.

It took over a year before I could read again. It took another year before I could write anything that was comprehensible. It has been over fifteen years since I lost my life. I have built a new life because of the wisdom of my late-hubby.

When I rebuilt the connections to my brain, I found that the memories that were so vivid had lost the emotions connected to them. A lot of the emotional pain except for the deepest scars were gone. I wondered if I had lost the ability to feel.

Sadly I found out that I hadn’t. When my late-hubby died four years ago, I felt the greatest emotional pain that also hurt my physical form. When the pain became too great to bear, I turned to my little Foxy and to the games.

I’ve been told that escapism is bad. I actually don’t believe that. I think that when the emotions are too powerful, it is a blessing when we have something to distract us if only for a little while.

Escapism becomes bad when we lose ourselves and don’t come back.

In a few days I will celebrate the life of my late-hubby. On the 19th it will have been four years since his death. I can think of him now without wanting to escape the emotions. I think that is a win.



What is the Present?

photography of clock displaying time

Photo by Rodolpho Zanardo on

I have always been a future-oriented person. I make goals.

I do know that a lot of my anxiety comes from when I make a misstep or when I can’t reach those goals.

Also when I was making most of those goals, I was in my teens and early twenties. I thought I’d be dead before I reached fifty.

Well I almost reached that one at 41. But because I had this feeling that I wouldn’t last the long term, I had always had this feeling that I needed to pack as much life into my remaining minutes and seconds as possible.

I did get a new lease on life at 41. It wasn’t the life I had before because I didn’t have the energy to really live. What the disease did to me was to take away my future. I had a future planned out where my late-hubby and I would buy an RV and spend the last of our days driving through each of the continental US States.

Up to 41, I had been able to make a goal and accomplish it. I even earned my degree at forty. Life couldn’t be better.

It is a hard switch to go from no future to staying in the present. It is still one of the hardest things I have ever done was to realize that all of my minutes and seconds are numbered. My future is filled with cancer and dialysis. If I think of the horror show ahead, I will falter. I can’t.

I have been lucky. I have a fellow traveler in my quest for the present. My sweet Foxy doesn’t live in the future and doesn’t dwell in the past. She is here and now. When we walk, we feel the breeze and the sun’s rays.

She wags her tail the entire time we are walking. Her joy fills me with happiness. She is my mentor in this new path I travel.