Emotional Audit

For many years I had tried to live a life that made sense to others. I had swanned from a prestigious university straight into a job at a prestigious newspaper. I had got married young, to the man I began dating at 23, we had bought a beautiful home, got ourselves a cat, and begun to talk about starting a family. I had tried, very hard, all my life, not to put a foot wrong. And yet something inside me felt perpetually crushed.

This article is a bit humblebraggy, quite waffly, and has some truly eye-popping displays of unchecked privilage. But it also contains some textbook-worthy escape stories. Yay!

“I was deeply unhappy,” [Ben Short] says today. “Beset by anxiety and stifled and frustrated by a career which was supposed to be creative but often felt anything but.”


Rather than walk out entirely on her career, [Lucy Leonelli] negotiated taking a gap year from her job, using the time to explore a range of other lifestyles and write a book about her experiences.

Additionally, the article’s author mentions the significance of running an “emotional audit”:

The pandemic has encouraged many to perform an emotional audit of their lives; with a break from entrenched routine has come a recalibration of work and home, a recognition that life is perhaps too short to spend doing something you do not love.

Yes! Now we’re almost speaking the language of Escapology. A “Life Audit” is what I encourage you to conduct in the “Preparation” chapter of Escape Everything! (now also known as I’m Out). Without fretting about specifics and practicalities, make a list of five honest priorities. Something like “travel, art, family, etc.” and dig deep to find them. Dwell on them while you’re plotting your escape.

Let them glow inside you. If and when you manage to make a break for it and find yourself living a life on the lam, refer back to your life audit frequently as a reminder of your new programme and/or as part of a secondary life audit to find if you’re the same person you were when plotting your escape.

I did not go back to my office job. I did not return to my marriage or my home. For a long time I lived in the state of nothing, trying to work out who I was, and how I wanted to live. I think, if we are lucky, all of us are given a moment to question the narrative of our lives.

For more daring tales of escape via “the state of nothing”, try my book all about these very things.


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at www.wringham.co.uk/about.

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