Something odd occurred to me the other night. I don’t “fan” over things the same way I used to. I don’t want to put myself in the action in my imagination anymore. I used to have elaborate fantasies for how the real world would collide with my favorite fictional universes, and I can’t remember the last time I did.
Whether it was the 5th Doctor whisking me away in the TARDIS or somehow being banished to the Satellite of Love to be trapped with Joel* and the Bots, I’d spend hours living in my head, in those places.
I constructed a detailed Red Dwarf fantasy in which the boys from the Dwarf encountered a weak spot in space-time that allowed them to watch me living out my life–but just me–nothing around me (except my clothes because the rules in Red Dwarf were never internally consistent anyway). And of course, they all fell in love with me and eventually were able to pull me through to the Dwarf where I established a firm friendship with Lister, helped Kryten do chores, asked Cat for fashion tips, and fell madly in love with Rimmer and helped him be the good person I knew was hiding inside him all along. (But I was never gonna call him Ace. That’s just a dumb nickname.**)
Nowadays shows rarely, if ever, inspire that kind of response. My fondest dreams and wishes all exist in the real world, and they tend to involve me meeting the actors/creators of a show. Instead of falling madly in love, we hang out and have cocktails and bond over shared love of media properties. Teenage-me would probably think that sounds boring, but now-me thinks it’s great.
Maybe this is partially because I’ve lived that kind of dream with quite a few creators of my favorite show, Doctor Who. The warmth and satisfaction I feel after a day spent chatting with Who-folk is real, tangible, and far and away better than the angsty-yearney longing that fueled my fantasies in days gone by.
Another contributing factor is the likelihood of those dreams coming true again. There’s an actual chance for it in the real world. It’s certainly better than my chances of ending up on the Satellite of Love.
In the most far-fetched of my fantasies these days, those folks offer me a job. Or at least job advice. (Funny how your fantasies change when you don’t have a steady paycheck coming in.)
Perhaps the most significant reason for all this is one I find fascinating: Escapism is less appealing now. I honestly love my life. I may have troubles and things I wish were different, but the thought of being whisked away now brings a sense of dread, not longing. I’d hate to be taken away from my friends, family, and especially my spouse. I fought and worked hard to get here to Canada. I don’t want to end up on a Jupiter Mining Corps ship 3 million years in the future! I like my free healthcare, and I sure trust it more than a skutter with a scalpel.***
So while this change surprised me when I noticed it, I am not-at-all sad about it. You can call me grown-up if you want, but I know better. I’m not really a grownup. I’m just happier. And I’ll take that over fantasies any day.
*Always Joel. Mike was great in his way, but Joel was the only object of my Fangirl Crush.
**And yes, I say that as a Doctor Who fan.
***No offense Pinky and Perky.