There are fans who spend considerable amounts of money to turn their basements into shrines to sports teams, musicians and bars.
There are fair weather fans who only like something if it’s popular or successful. There are anti-fans who maybe at one time in their life loved something, but only follow it to bash it and tell everyone how bad it is now compared to when they loved it.
There are fans who head to a bar and drink when their team wins and those who drink when their team loses.
Lately, I’m finding it incredibly difficult to be just a simple fan.
Being a fan takes time and energy. For example, I’m a fan of a particular author, but I’m three books behind and I fear I won’t ever catch up. I don’t have either the time nor energy to devote to being a fan of this author, but I still want to read his books. It’s the same for TV shows, movies, even music.
I have started to listen to the new Garth Brooks album, but I still haven’t finished it. I have a que of podcasts that I really want to dive into, but my time to listen to an hour long podcast is severely limited. It all comes back to time and energy.
Do I simply let go of my fandom? Do I keep collecting entertainment for that time in the far, far future where I can sit and enjoy it? Can you bank time and energy? I don’t think so.
I’m a fan of Star Wars, but I wanted so much more from the prequels and I’m worried about these new sequels. Do I just keep my fandom to the things in Star Wars I like and forget the rest? With the vastness of the Star Wars universe, I couldn’t possibly enjoy everything or even like everything. So, I’ve concentrated on squeezing all the fun I can out of the upcoming sequels. The novels, comics, cartoons… I can let those go.
I’m a fan of KISS, but the band is significantly different now then when I acquired my first KISS album. Do I only listen to what I like and ignore the rest? I could do that, but I feel it limits my enjoyment of the band and dismisses any achievements of the current line-up. I want new KISS music. I want to see them in concert again.
I’m a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, but the manager mismanaged the bullpen so poorly they lost their chance at getting to the World Series last year. Do I simply relive the glory days and not care how the team fixes or positions itself for the future? For me, the only way I can maintain my Cardinals fandom is by not caring about the Cardinals until the playoffs. Because I know following such a long 162 game season would be bad for my heart as I live and die with every pitch, play in the field and swing of the bat.
I’m a fan of the Illinois Basketball team, but the 2014-2015 squad so far seems to be under performing. Although to be fair they just had an amazing win against the 9th ranked team in the country. With two huge injuries to important personnel, do I keep watching because I want to cheer them on or do I not support the team because when they lose I get grumpy and upset? What I probably should do is not take things so personally.
That’s the thing though isn’t it? By being a fan, you invest your time and energy into something and you want to be entertained and you want to go through the adventure and the excitement, but it doesn’t always turn out for the best. Sometimes that low keeps me from enjoying the highs. There is no balance.
I guess the real question is can you find balance in being a fan? I get accused all the time of being an all or nothing kind of guy. This feels like a true extension of that mentality.
Maybe being a fan is a kind of mental exercise. Personally, I have to really disassociate myself from the entertainment. I can’t get too invested because if something bad happens I will become depressed for days and if something good happens it’s never enough.
As I think about that investment strategy with my fandom, it occurs to me that finding balance in my personal life should be the goal. Not just with being a fan, but with everything. Work, family, being a good husband, parenting, eating, sleeping… keeping all of these things, and so much more, in balance.
So, being a fan is finding the right balance in my life. However, finding the right balance is really the key to everything.
All of these ideas leads me to a resolution for 2015—find balance. That’s a good goal and one that sounds completely within reach, but actually is much harder than it looks. One of my personal deficiencies is under and over thinking. Again, finding the right balance in how I approach things would make for a better life.
One way I’m attempting to bring balance is to manage my time and energy better. For example, I’ve adopted the Bullet Journal in 2015 to help me focus on what is important and keep track of things in an organized manner.
I’m also making a conscience effort to not let my fandom interfere with my life.
But that takes time and energy. And balance.