So, what does it mean to grow up? Depends on who you ask, I suppose. This is the question I seem to be searching during 2013.
For those who are familiar with my blog, it is quite evident that I have barely written a thing during this past year. My reason is simplelife got in the way. It has been getting in the way for some time. There was evidence in 2012 that my life was starting to change. Truly it started to change when I decided to leave my life in Orlando back in 2010 to complete my degree at USF. Still, during those two years in college, I still found time to do what I loved to dogeek out. But ever since the beginning of 2012, when my internship began, I found myself making a sacrifice I didn't realize I was even making. I was slowly giving up my time as a geek to become one with the real world. I devoted myself to my work by taking on a teaching job that involves a lot of time and energy. It also started to provide me with a regular paycheck that was less than expected (especially when I came to the realization that I need to furnish my new apartment and begin to improve my credit by paying my bills and taking care of my early adulthood financial mistakes). Do not get me wrong, I am not complaining about my job. I have always wanted to be a teacher and I enjoy what I do, but there is something that came with my work that I was not expecting. The sacrifices I had to make to be truly on my own. That being my geekdom.
For the past few years, I have been going to fewer conventions, and with that, I have realized this horrible feeling in my gut of remorse. Then, if I do attend a convention, I feel it is more of a learning experience instead of a gathering of minds because I am so behind on what is current. It's been years since I picked up a comic book, read a whole manga series, or marathoned a new anime. I'm ashamed to say, I have yet to finish watching or reading all of Fullmetal Alchemist (Brotherhood), even though it is my favorite series of all time. I've read chapters here and there, even reading the last two, but I have yet to complete the series from start to finish. I've had the light novels of Haruhi Suzumiya sitting on my bookcase for two years and I have yet to read the first chapter of the first book. My biggest sin of all, I have left my pre-order of Kingdom Heart 1.5 sitting at the GameStop and I have yet to pick it up.
I remember a time when I would play my video games for hours, watch three hours of anime with dinner and then read a manga or book before bed. Now, I have a lot on my plate and I find myself to lazy for anything else. This isn't an excuse, I know I can fit the time. The money is one thing I couldn't control that much in the past, but I know I can geek out with a small budget. What has happened is I have allowed myself to stay stressed. Instead of relieving my stress in the manner in which I prefer (geeking out), I have converted to other forms of stress relief that have not been as affective.
So after all this, what is the point I am trying to make? Well, I've had an epiphany.
My mother used to say all the time, "When are you going to stop watching those cartoons and grow up?" It always bothered me when she asked me that. Was I not mature because I watched these so called "cartoons?" Did my hobbies showed a reflection of childishness and the inability to grow up.
My answer came to me on my Facebook page. Scrolling down, I began to see images from December's Holiday Matsuri Convention in Orlando. I saw teenagers walking around in the latest inside joke shirts, cosplay, and references that I had no clue were about. But I also saw adults. Adults who were geeks. Many for which I had met at previous conventions. Some were my age. Some were older. Some brought their children, including infants less than a year old. I remember the conversations we had about their careers and what they do for a living. They discuss how their lives are, including paying bills, buying new homes for their growing families, and filling it with fanart in the family rooms and hallways. But most importantly is what is laid underneath their words, "My age doesn't change who I am. I am a geek because it's what makes me happy."
So, what does it mean to grow up? I think its finding what works best for yourself and what keeps you happy and moving forward with your life. Yes, growing up means moving out of your parents' house, finding a job, earning money, paying bills, but that happens to everyone eventually. Life will give you obstacles, some way worse than others, and it will be hard to keep moving from day to day, but as long as you keep true to who you believe you are, things can only move up.
So here is to 2014, the year I find my inner geek again. She never truly disappeared (thanks Doctor Who for being there when things got tough and to my desire to keep making AMVs), but it's time we begin to explore again and revisit those good feelings.
Yeah It's about time we did.
Ow, the feels I had with the 50th Anniversary Special.