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 or 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 Adele album, but I still haven’t finished it. I have a queue 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 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.
I’m a fan of Star Wars, but I wanted so much more from the sequels, and I’m worried about the future of the movies. 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 Disney+ shows. The novels, comics, cartoons… I can let those go.
I’m a fan of KISS, but the band is significantly different now than 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 still want new KISS music.
I’m a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, but they haven’t won a pennant or been to the World Series in years. 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 this year’s squad so far seems to be underperforming. Although to be fair they had suspensions, injuries, and now the flu bug ripping through the team. 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 must 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 also be the goal. Not just with being a fan, but with everything. Work, family, being a good husband, parenting, eating, sleeping… keeping all 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 these ideas lead me to a resolution for 2022 — find balance. That’s a good goal and one that sounds completely within reach but is much harder than it looks. One of my personal deficiencies is under and overthinking. 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 using my digital and physical planner more in 2022 to help me focus on what is important and keep track of things in an organized manner.
I’m also making a conscious effort to not let my fandom interfere with my life.
But that takes time and energy. And balance.