Today, I turn 30 years old. Now I understand why people have that thing called a midlife crisis…the older you get, the faster time flies. It doesn’t pass in hours and days anymore, it passes in weeks and months. The funny part is that if I weren’t transparent about how old I am, no one would ever be able to accurately guess my age…no one ever does. Yesterday, a group of people thought I was 18.
I am a 30-year-old straight male, and I happen to be a loyal Degrassi fan. The show and its fandom are a daily part of my life.
I take it seriously, but not really. 99.9999999012839% of my time is spent joking around and being sarcastic with other fans of the show (regardless of their age), except for the times when I look for and debate various opinions about the show in a deeper manner.
I don’t receive as many negative comments directly as I’d expect, and I rarely get sucked into fandom drama. When I do, whether it’s someone jumping down my throat because I dare criticize something they like about the show, or it’s a bizarre situation like me getting randomly accused of cyberbullying someone half my age (despite having zero track record of such behavior beforehand), hate toward me is always driven by derogatory remarks about my age. For me the idea of people being “too old” to enjoy certain things is a yawn-inducing cliché, but I guess it’s better than the even more clichéd insults they could throw around…you know, with me being black and all.
Basically, it’s “lame as shit” that “a guy my age obsesses over a television show geared toward teenagers,” as if I were a jobless perv still living in his parents’ basement. Only the problem with being labeled as THAT guy is that in real life I happen to be college educated, with a full-time job in my field and a social life outside of Degrassi. I’m financially independent, but I’m neither married nor have kids, so I’m able to spend my free time literally doing anything I want. What does it matter that I prefer to sit at home and watch the latest Degrassi episode on a Thursday night instead of spending the evening getting wasted at a bar?
At a time where everyone on the internet is obsessed with followers, clicks, likes and hits, there’s nothing lame about how I started blog from literally nothing, only to turn it into something that receives millions of hits a year.
There’s most definitely nothing lame about the friendships I’ve made because of this show. The older fans I now talk to and have spent time with outside the context of the show are amazing. The Degrassi cast is great, but while the majority of the fandom spends their time longing for the chance to meet them for a moment that lasts no longer than the blink of an eye, I would rather hang out with other Degrassi fans any day of the week…you all are the ones who make the 10,050 minutes of downtime between weekly episodes interesting.
There’s nothing lame about enjoying a show that not only provides relatable situations for teenagers, but also relatable life lessons for people of any age.
There’s nothing lame about browsing tumblr to find thousands of Degrassi gifs and edits by so many talented young people, some who might’ve never taken the time to learn how to do so if it weren’t for this show. And among the absurd fangirl behavior that graces any fandom, there are lots of young people who show they’re capable of conveying their opinions in an intelligent, respectful manner.
There’s nothing lame about supporting the work of adults much older than myself, who immerse themselves in teen culture and work tirelessly to create a product they hope the masses enjoy. And if you’re wondering, yes I’m talking about the Degrassi crew.
The point of all of this is a reminder that there’s no shame in enjoying an activity that you invest a lot of time in, regardless of what anyone says. I give zero fucks what anyone thinks because it’s not like I just started watching this show a year, or two years or even five years ago. I’ve been watching this show since I was a 20-year-old kid (if you’re in your early 20’s you’re still a kid to me). If I didn’t lose interest when the previous generation of fans and fandom gathering places got bored and moved on, then I have no reason to quit now simply because I’m “too old.” This blog keeps me more invested in the show than I would be without it. Heck, who knows if I would still be watching if I didn’t need to keep up with what’s happening daily. Regardless, I’m committed until the show gets canceled, or everyone dies…that’s what I told myself when I started this blog, and I’m grateful for all of you who take time out of your day to read the things I post here.
I can handle verbal beat downs by shit talkers on the internet, but it still makes me sad when people in the Degrassi fandom become straight-up malicious and intentionally hurtful toward each other and the cast/crew when things don’t go their way, especially when it’s over the most silly things (*cough* SHIPS *cough*). People will always show their asses on the internet simply because they can do so without direct consequence, so all we can really do is politely tell them to fuck off before going about our merry way.
There will come a time where you won’t have the luxury of spending as much time as you want doing the things you want. Your responsibilities will increase. Your priorities will change. You’ll become consumed by the daily grind of adult life. You’ll feel tired ALL THE TIME. Ask any of other 20 and 30-something Degrassians and they’ll agree.
So what time you do have to do as you please shouldn’t be spent with you worrying about anyone who may want to shit on your parade. This goes for anything you enjoy doing, not just Degrassi. Your passions will take you pretty far in life if you let them. My obsession with radio production in college (despite never working a single day at the college radio station) led me straight into my job. Because of my obsession with Degrassi I was fortunate enough to visit the set (I’m forever grateful for the experience) and cross it off my bucket list, as well as many other things. And if you’re one of those people who can’t help but be worried or be bothered by the world’s judgmental ways don’t worry…by the time you’re my age, you’ll be too tired to care what anyone thinks anyway.