We’re just a few short weeks away from Celebration Orlando!!! Can you feel it? I can feel it. It feels….good. This will be my second Celebration, and it will be VERY hard to top the experience I had in Anaheim in 2015. It was, quite honestly, one of the best times I have ever had in my life. Meeting friends IRL for the first time, making new friends that I’m going to get to see again, eating good food, and being immersed in Star Wars for 4 days was kind of my own version of Heaven. Can I expect the same sort of thrill this time out? Probably not. But that’s ok…
…because I’m not expecting the same experience. I’m sure it will be a wonderful time, full of laughter, surprises, and all sorts of fun. I’m not downplaying my anticipation for the event, or trying to artificially suppress my excitement, I’ve just learned to manage my expectations. “Manage” may not be the right word. “Temper” might be better. Or not. Wow, I’m good at this writing stuff, ain’t I?
The point of this month’s blog is this: As fans and geeks and what-have-you, we all feel a lot of passion for the things we love. It’s a good thing. It’s part of what keeps us all young. It’s also what sometimes causes us grief, heartache, and upset stomach. We love the things we love, and we get excited about them, and sometimes our passion gets the better of us and we are SO sure that we’re about to experience something life-changing, that anything short of perfection is unacceptable. It’s a recipe for disappointment, and we’ve ALL been there. Some of us keep going BACK there, and it can be a source of continual frustration.
You’ve been there, too, haven’t you? And if you haven’t, if you’re reading this, you know someone who has, so you can imagine how exhausting it is, right? So, the big question is this: How do we set our expectations so that we still get excited, but not set ourselves up for The Big Letdown? I’m not sure I have the answer, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing. You’re not THAT lucky. This is a situation of the world not moving to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you may not be right for some. Is that the second time I’ve reference the Diff’rent Strokes theme? Man, that Alan Thicke was a talented man. Where was I? Oh yeah! For me, it comes down to focusing on what I hope is accomplished by the object of my excitement. For movies, tv shows, books, comics, etc, it’s a matter of knowing that art isn’t meant to be perfect. Not EVERY question will be answered, not EVERY box will be checked, and that’s ok. To me, that’s what makes art interesting, its imperfection. With events like Celebration, it’s a bit trickier. I’m the guy who wants to do EVERYTHING. At a theme park, I want to ride ALL the rides. At a convention, I want to go to ALL the panels. It’s just not possible, so I have to pick and choose. This is what helps me temper my expectations. Knowing that I’m going to miss SOME things helps me to not worry about what I’m missing, and to focus on enjoying what I’m NOT missing.
So, the question is, what AM I going to be able to enjoy? The only thing I know for sure that I’ll enjoy is seeing my friends again. That’s my focus, and I have no doubt that I will not be disappointed. In many ways, the convention is secondary to the time I’ll get to spend among my people. It’s really just an excuse for us to all get together, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, the panels, the celebs, the vendors, and the parties are all going to be off-the-hook-fun, but only because of the people we’ll be experiencing them with. Even if I hadn’t been able to get a pass to Celebration, I had considered going anyway just to be able to see all the people who are going. The people I’m with are the real draw for me. And that’s how I avoid disappointment.
I’ve written before about how collecting memories and collecting friends have taken priority over collecting toys, records, or anything else. Focusing on the experience of experiencing things with people I enjoy continues to be a recipe for success in my geek life. My passions are shared, so I can share my passions. And that’s the best part about having a passion. Being able to share it with others makes all the waiting worth it, don’t you think?
So, as we near Celebration, I encourage those of you who are going to think about all the fun you’re going to have with your friends. Make your list of autographs, panels, collectibles, all the things you’re looking forward to, but don’t forget to include bonding with like-minded fans at the top of the list. Not many people get to share their passions on this kind of scale, so let’s take the time to appreciate that we get to spend as many as 4 days in a place where our passion is ordinary. That is a privilege for which I continue to be thankful. And for those of you who won’t be able to make it, know that your presence will be missed, and that I look forward to the time we CAN all experience something like this together.
Until next time,
May The Force of Others Be With Us All
Jeff can be heard weekly on The Geek Directive at the Assembly of Geeks (www.assemblyofgeeks.com), and on his own podcast network, MarvinDog Media (www.MarvinDogMedia.com) where he hosts Talking Toys with Taylor and Jeff, The Pilot Episode, and Bantha Banter: A Star Wars Chat Show. He is also co-host of Comics With Kenobi with fellow CWK blogger Matt Moore on CoffeeWithKenobi.com, which you have already found if you’re reading this blog. You can contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org