A Life You Don’t Need to Escape From

If you could do anything right now, what would it be? Would it include your work? And if not, why not?

I remember back when I had a job, there were many days I wished to be somewhere else, doing something else.

But ever since I became a freelance copywriter, those thoughts have been extremely infrequent.

That’s because I’m a writer. If I wasn’t working as a freelance copywriter, I would still be writing in some capacity.

It’s who I am. It’s what I do.

Most days I don’t wish to be anywhere else or doing anything else. I truly enjoy my work.

But if you feel differently about your work, then consider this pithy quote from Seth Godin:

“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” -Seth Godin, Tribes, p. 101

Most people have lives they want to escape from.

  • They can’t wait for their next holiday.
  • They can’t wait to quit their job and move on to the next one.
  • They can’t wait for school to start again so they can hand their kids off to the public school for the next 9 months.

It’s kinda sad when you think about it.

And this kind of thinking affects millions of Americans.

That’s why I think Godin’s advice is so timely and relevant. Create a life you don’t need to escape from.

If you can do that, it’ll make all the difference in the world.

-Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like WordStream.com, SmallBizClub.com, and MarketingForSuccess.com.

Joseph Ratliff - September 18, 2012

Amen Ryan!

For years I wasted my life in the retail “corporate grind,” working 50 plus hours a week… adding stress to my life… wanting to escape for the 2 – 4 weeks they would “let” me.

In 2001, I realized that had to stop.

Ever since, I’ve NEVER wasted a minute of work, in fact I don’t call it work anymore. Sure, there have been bumps on the road, as no situation is perfectly enjoyable… but I DO NOT want to escape from it.

John Thomas - September 18, 2012

Hey, Ryan,

Reminds me of the advice that Trump gives on thinking like a billionaire: #1 Don’t take a vacation.“what’s the point? If you don’t like your work, you’re in the wrong business.”


Planning on becoming a billionaire? :-)


    Ryan Healy - September 18, 2012

    Haha… well, I wouldn’t object to being a billionaire, but it’s not one of my goals. :-)

Jerry Bures - September 22, 2012

But remember…

Anyone who has ever created such a life, a life you don’t need to escape from, spent some time in a life they thought they wanted to escape from.

We must not mistake challenges for a “need to escape”, but see them as the opportunity for growth and discovery in what we truly love.

Thanks Ryan for the great insights!

Gogo - September 28, 2012


I really like Jerry’s point. I think the real challenge with issues like this has to do with the “thin line” principle.

It’s sometimes a thin line between a genuine “growth opportunity/character builder” (challenge) and a “life you should escape from”. The true value for individuals is finding personal insights that help differentiate one from the other.

For example, your insight about writing (“It’s who I am. It’s what I do.”) is a clue for someone struggling to tell the difference. Deeper self-knowledge gives context to the conflict and clarifies whether a particular job, career, challenge is actually a growth opportunity or “a gaol” of a situation – one to be escaped from.

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