It looks like science is starting to discover what geeks have known all along: Holding on to your youth is a good thing. Earlier this year, the University of Exeter’s Krystal Warmoth released findings showing that people who view themselves as elderly are more likely to behave as such, and thus are frailer and live less-healthy lives. As Warmoth stated: “A person’s belief about their self could lead to a loss of interest in participating in social and physical activities, poor health, stigmatisation, and reduced quality of life.” Now, Warmoth hasn’t made a direct connection between geeks enjoying “childish” things and aging gracefully, but I’m taking it there.
Adulthood hits before you know it. One moment you’re getting krunk in the club, the next you’re discussing the best flooring options with your friends over a glass of cabernet sauvignon. It happens slowly and surely. Ugh, when did being an adult become so boring? Sure, you have to be responsible and do all those “adult” things, like pay bills and make sure you have more than ketchup in your fridge, but that’s not all it has to be! To live long and prosper, adults must remember to embrace their youthful passions.
Geeks never forget this. We understand the value of indulging in childish activities. In our world it’s perfectly normal to walk into someone’s home and see their fandoms represented all over the house. As kids, you have your obsessions. Every boy and girl had a fantasy about the reality he or she would create as adults. Yet many people let go of these dreams. This makes no sense to me. You finally have the financial freedom (hopefully) to create your own reality. Do it.
My friend, accurately known as Star Wars Meg, has the largest Ewok and Star Wars Lego collection I have ever seen. She builds all the models and proudly displays them. Asked about her fandom, Meg notes that the Star Wars community has a huge age range, but points out that “we’ve been able to connect and learn from each other through our mutual love for the galaxy far, far away.” As for her health, Meg exclaims that Star Wars “gets my blood pumping and gives my mood a boost!”
It makes sense that something that brings such happiness and keeps your attitude youthful would also help you view your age differently. A prime example is my uncle, who’s in his 50s but still has his comics on display, along with his figurines for HeroClix, a superhero-based game. He is one of the happiest and most youthful people I know.
I have aimed to live a fun life, adding nostalgic items and activities that might be considered childish. This is best illustrated by a childhood dream of my brother’s and mine. As kids, we talked about the days when we would finally be adults with our own money. We had grand plans, including filling our homes with arcade games. So it was quite rewarding when my brother recently visited and declared “You did it! You did what we always talked about as kids!”
That’s right. I bought an arcade game. Sadly, B&I Amusements in Lakewood recently shut its doors and auctioned all its games. I bid on a few, hoping I’d be lucky enough to win one. I’ll admit I got into a bidding war over Mortal Kombat, but sadly lost (it went for more than $800!). But luckily I won Tetris! Like many Nintendo gamers, this was one of my favorite games growing up, and still is (I have it on my phone, DS, and Wii), so I was ecstatic to add another version to my collection. So now I have a Tetris machine in my dining room (have I mentioned I have a really awesome and laid-back husband?).
It is a guaranteed conversation starter, and one with its own particular history. I did some detective work and figured out that the cabinet, originally for Donkey Kong, was converted to Tetris. The Russian puzzle game was so popular in the ’80s, it turns out, that Atari sold kits so arcades could convert less-popular cabinets.
People’s reactions to my arcade game have been funny; other nerds understand, but non-nerds . . . well, they seem confused. They look at me puzzled, laughing nervously while trying to decide if I’m a crazy person. But I find their reaction puzzling. Why not play and enjoy the things I did as a kid? Just because I’m older doesn’t mean my loves for games or comics have lessened. In fact, I enjoy them more now because they allow me to escape the seriousness of everyday life and add simple fun. As Warmoth noted, “You are as old as you feel,” and I plan on feeling young for as long as possible.
So while I admit it set me back a bit, it was a good investment. My health depends on it!