Tuesday, 14 August 2012

D&D, Star Trek, Christianity and Cricket all walk into a bar...

On the way home from work I've been listening to some old Make It So - A Star Trek Podcast episodes (from before the half-way point, when it became progressively shitter). The hosts, who are around my age, discuss how they loved Star Trek: TNG as kids growing up, gradually stopped watched during their late teenage years and so missed out on some of DS9 and all of Voyager, stopped watching Trek entirely, and then around their late 20s suddenly rediscovered TNG and fell in love with it all over again.

It got me thinking: I went through pretty much exactly the same experience with Trek and rediscovered it a couple of years ago at the age of about 28 when I was bored and decided to order a season of it on DVD. Suddenly my interest in it was rekindled (though, thankfully, not enough to get interested in Voyager or Enterprise).

And I also went through the same experience with role playing games. I stopped playing those around the age of 16 or 17, I think, and then got back into them at age 25 or so. It happened too with cricket - I was a good player for my local team, then went away to university and drifted away from the game, to come back to it later.

It mirrors what happens to a lot of people with church, as well, I think. They drift away once they hit late teenage-hood, and often come back to it in later life (though that hasn't happened to me so far).

So I wonder: is the tendency to lose interest in the things you enjoyed as an adolescent a universal feature of growing up - a necessary element of the process of becoming an adult - and, if so, is a rediscovery of the things you used to love also a necessary element of maturity and confidence in yourself as an adult? It seems that way.


  1. It seems natural that we move on into ever newer things as we grow, but I'm not sure the return to the early things is a necessary element of the process of becoming an adult. It may be more that when or if our growth plateaus for whatever reason, or we come up against a barrier of some kind, we naturally fall back into the early things. This could be because they represent comfortable spaces to hide or recharge, or - perhaps more worringly - because they set up patterns in our natures early on that we then find it hard to escape.

    I agree at least in part on the confidence aspect, that we might allow ourselves to fall back like this because we are confident enough as adults not to see it as a step back, or childish - and that it really could be a rediscovery - but it might also be argued that staying too long in this comfortable place represents a kind of failure, a betrayal of that earlier trajectory and the potential we presumably still have in other areas.

  2. I hope not, as most of my primary interests I've had to one degree or another my whole life. :) Interests do wax and wane, but I've never had one disappear entirely, that I recall.

    I played rpgs maybe 3 times in my college years (Star Trek) and didn't play at all in the four years of med school. I would blame those breaks on losing interest, though--more other things being more pressing and lacking of an available gaming group.

    Still, I've certainly seen others experience what you describe.

  3. I still enjoy all the hobbies I had as an adolescent, although circumstances prevent me from actually getting to engage in most of them.

  4. Hmmm...

    Loved watching the syndicated Star Trek Original Series with my Dad in the mid-to-late 70's so much I became a huge Star Trek anything fan. Bought the FASA RPG and played it a lot. Watched all of TNG even though I disliked the first two seasons immensely. Loved with a capital 'L' DS9. Tried watching as much Voyager as I could stomach, which wasn't a lot but, you see, I am a Star Trek fan, so I tried. Playtested the Last Unicorn Games RPG. Loved it, bought it, played it a lot. Wrote for it. Liked the premise of Enterprise, the Andorians (virtually every episode with them was good) and really enjoyed the final season, though not the final episode. Didn't care for the Abramsverse version. Waiting for more though.

    Watched Sesame Street as a kid. Still catch it from time to time to see the changes. Watched every episode of the Muppet Show a dozen times. Saw the first Muppet movie 36 times. Saw the most recent one only 5 (got to get on that). Went to the Museum of the Moving Image and watched Jim Henson's earliest works like TV commericals and 'Sam and Friends' and 'The Ed Sullivan Show' appearances. Made my own Muppets RPG.

    There are things I like. When I like them, that is, when I really, really like them because of some intrinsic element that makes that thing unique and special, I don't stop liking them until they lose that intrinsic element.

    With the New 52, I no longer like DC Comics after over 35 years of loving it. I still love my old issues and the pre-52 versions of the characters but I don't read the new ones any more. The spark was extinguished. It lost it's magic.

    That's just how I am.

  5. Yes. Yes. Yes...and no (never had any interest in cricket).

    What actually amazes me as I race towards my mid-forties is how utterly transitory and vapid all the stuff that preoccupied my twenties (girls, booze, live music etc.) seem to me now, while the stuff I'd abandoned in my teens and come back to over the last decade or so carry a real weight with me, so much so that I enjoy them and understand them now in a way that would have been impossible for me as a young adult eager for experience.

  6. I think you're definitely right; I had a very similar experience with being a keen RPGer in my teens, largely drifting away from it in my '20s, and then back again at age 27 in 2000 with the release of 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons, which I suspect was so successful partly because it published just when a lot of people who had played in the '80s as kids, and drifted off in the '90s, were ready to come back to RPGs.

  7. I don't agree at all with Porky's comment above about 'growth' 'trajectories' 'plateauing', 'falling back' etc - teleology might be relevant to ability/progress at a career, or ability/progress in forming a family and raising children, but not to leisure activities!

    1. The teleology and idea of growth was introduced in noism's post itself. I wasn't using these terms for leisure activity alone, but for general movement through life. Besides, I'm really not sure leisure activities are so distinct from career and forming and raising a family.

  8. When you're a youngster, you love what you love and you don't care if it's cool. Then you get older, and all you care about is being cool. Then you grow up and you realise you're an adult and you can do what you like and it doesn't matter if it's cool or not.

    There are some people who never cared about being cool, or rather knew that having a genuine interest in something is much cooler than hanging out with the popular people and knew it before they grew up. Good for them.

  9. It's funny, there's all kinds of transitions and rediscoveries, things from childhood you drop as a teenager only to pick back up as a 20 something, things you drop during uni only to pick up later..

    I'm sure it continues, only in later adult life the transitions become so dissimilar from life to life that it becomes harder to compare.

    Sometimes I wonder if it's simply memory; when the memory of the details fades enough, you can experience it as new again.

    Although on the other hand the way I like the things I liked has changed, so it's not simple repetition. Maybe it's a combination, and distance from it allows you the opportunity to come at it from a new "older" angle.

    Or maybe your life changes pace again and these things fit like they used to. So many possible mechanisms!

  10. That must be why I've been buying dinosaur toys lately... I just haven't gotten to the "rawr, rawr" bit yet though! I dunno', I've always felt much the nostalgic person. It isn't just materials I often return to, but ideas and concepts as well.