Time-management is hard. I never really understood the whole, “there aren’t enough hours in the day” thing until I got a full-time job with an hour commute. There are so many things I want to do, and just not enough time to do them. Even when I do have time to do things, usually all I want to do is sleep. It becomes really discouraging – there are lots of things I want to accomplish, and lots of hobbies I want to pursue, but I just can’t find the time to fit them into my day.
However, though it is a colossally shitty feeling, it’s also a very common one.
Specifically, I feel like the whole, “ew I’m an adult with a life” thing comes up a lot when it comes to fandoms, whether it be anime, video games, music, movies, whatever. You reach a certain point in your life when keeping up with all the trends just isn’t feasible anymore. Maybe you want to make fanart, maybe you want to run a successful blog, maybe you want to make a podcast, or maybe you just want to find the time to watch all of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Finding time is hard, and it can make you feel like the things you enjoy doing are slipping away, especially if you feel this constant need to keep up with everyone else.
There’s a constant fear of missing out, or falling behind and feeling like a “fake” member of a fandom or community. There are obviously issues with fandom elitism and gatekeeping. Other fans think they’re superior and don’t want casuals or newcomers joining in on the fun. I feel like this has been written about/talked about a lot already, so I won’t dwell on it too long. Even though we all know this is a thing that happens, and we all know that the people who gatekeep are all total jerks, it’s hard not to take it personally. Do I really belong in this fandom? Should I talk about this thing I like, if I don’t know every little thing about it? Have I earned my right to be here?
Even when you are super into one specific series or franchise, if you don’t have the time to create content that goes along with the fandom, it can feel like a real bummer. It can feel like you’re not involved or contributing enough. There are a bunch of articles I want to write and fanart I want to make, but I just don’t have time, and it’s suuuper disappointing. If you don’t have the time or energy to dive into something 100%, it can make you keep some of your interests closer to your chest.
I feel like our interests in anime/games/etc. can get downplayed easily, not just by others but by ourselves. Like, it’s easy to think, “why do I care so much about this if it’s just some TV shows?” Or, “why do I feel pressured to make content that isn’t even a main source of my income?” Sometimes I have to look inwardly and laugh a little bit – do I really feel that much anxiety over keeping up with my anime blog, or over keeping up with my shows?
But it makes sense to feel this way. I mean, if you’re like me, you’re working 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. I can squeeze in a little writing on my break or listen to some anime music as I type at my desk, but ultimately, that’s 40 HOURS A WEEK where I feel like I can’t be myself. Like, I’m not a real person for 40 hours a week. So, it honestly ends up feeling like I’m losing parts of myself when I can’t keep up with anime or writing or drawing or video editing. Now that I actually have the confidence/resources to pursue these things, I don’t have the time! It’s just the way it is, I suppose. And I know a lot of others who feel the same way.
Seeing other people constantly online live-tweeting shows or posting art and things like that can get to you. I tend to get jealous over younger people who can upload a bunch of articles or fanart or whatever multiple times a week. I want to be like that! I want to put out things that hundreds of people see every day!
Though, what we see is often scheduled content, giving the illusion that this person is constantly on top of their fandom shit. And these people are often more experienced, or have more free time, or are doing these things professionally. Their situation is probably way different than ours, so we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves tot them. Heck, maybe they’re getting bogged down by doing too much, just like some of us feel bogged down by doing (what we perceive as being) too little. We always think the grass is greener, you know?
What I’m getting at here is this: don’t beat yourself up for not having the time to be this big expert on every one of your interests. Don’t beat yourself up for not having mastered a hobby or a craft.
I mean, yeah, I just said that I beat myself up over this stuff all the time, but ultimately, I’m learning to be more comfortable with my own pace. Instead of trying to impress other people with your hobbies or your interests, just work on impressing yourself. Don’t watch an entire series because someone said you had to and you wanted to feel in the loop – watch it because you wanted to watch it! Don’t write because you want to keep a schedule or get good stats – write because you want to!
If you feel like you’re on a constant time crunch, don’t take it out on yourself. Relax, enjoy the time you have to do the things you love, and embrace the feelings you get out of it. I might only have five hours or so at the end of the weekday to do the things I enjoy, so I need to make the most out of it, not worry that I’m doing the wrong thing! Time enjoyed is never, ever time wasted. If you’re enjoying watching some goofy harem from the 2000s, enjoy your goofy harem from the 2000s…don’t try to force yourself into watching eight seasonals you don’t even like that much. Once you get into the habit of just doing you at your own pace, you’ll find yourself feeling a lot more comfortable and enjoying things a lot more. Sometimes, that comfort ends up giving way into having more time and being more productive, too…
Remember, we’re all here for fun and online camaraderie. You don’t have to prove yourself or anything in this vast online realm, and you definitely don’t have to pressure yourself, either. It’s not about views or impressing hundreds of other people (although those things are certainly nice…), it’s just about taking time to be your you-est you by kicking back and enjoying the shit you enjoy.