*Strap in, folks. This is a long one, with no specific fandom to connect with. But my professor liked it, and I’m proud of it, so here goes. Welcome to my Christian Introverted Nerd Contemplation and Advice Column.*
One time, my college roommates were planning to play Ultimate Frisbee but the weather turned bad and the game was cancelled.
“See, this is what you get for being extroverted, outside people,” I said. “Disappointment.”
The way I see it, emotional energy is a relatively non-renewable resource. This may be a symptom of my Asperger’s syndrome. It’s kind of like how introverts need “recharging” before going into a social engagement. If I’m going to care about things that make me happy, like TV shows or books, and also care about things that are actually important, like academics or my relationship with God, there are going to be things that I just can’t care about, like sports or socializing.
As a nerd, I choose to invest a lot of my emotional energy in fandoms. This may seem unfortunate because I don’t have as much emotional energy to spend on things like academics or socializing. But as we’ve discussed many times on the Correlation blog, there are many benefits to investing in the community of a fan kingdom.
When you care about things like sports teams or celebrities or social interactions, and they inevitably let you down, you feel disappointed because you have wasted your emotional energy on them. But when I care about fandoms, I can more easily separate the things I actually care about from the fallible people behind them, so I don’t feel the same disappointment. And if something within the story is disappointing, I remember that it’s not real and pick a different story to enjoy.
When my home sports team loses, I don’t feel upset, but other fans do. I like to think I “win” even if the team loses, simply because I’m in a better mood than those around me. This is Biblical: “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). We can insert Christian-compatible fandoms and all the benefits that come out of them for “godliness,” and the “ungodly things” we choose not to care about include sports and Justin Bieber. We still have to be content with what we get (for example, we must accept that movies like “Deadpool” are not very good for Christians), but as long as we are putting our energy toward good things, we win by default.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about this in terms of “eternal value.” My brother has complained about the fandoms I’m interested in because they don’t have eternal value. I explain that they do have some value, but he apparently defines value differently. This seems like a reasonable argument until you realize that very few things in this world have “eternal value.”
Almost no fandoms have eternal value. But neither does algebra, and that’s coming from a nerd who likes algebra. You will never be required to use algebra in your eternal life unless you’re forced to use it in Hell. As an introvert, I can see that small talk with extroverts has no eternal value, either. Same Hell scenario applies.
The Bible tells us to store up for ourselves treasures in Heaven, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have nice things here on Earth. As long as we do invest in things that have eternal value, like a relationship with Christ, we can use the rest of our time and energy to enjoy our non-eternal lives.
So if you want my advice, lower your expectations. Stop caring about sports and celebrities and trivial social interactions. Be content. Join some fandoms if you haven’t already. See how awesome your life becomes.