Everyone complains about getting older. I don’t think that it’s getting older that sucks, but that it’s feeling older that sucks.
Monday was my 30th birthday. For years I have been dreading this day. I started getting anxious around when I hit 25, because I was no longer in that 18-24 age bracket, but was now in the 25-33 one.
Every birthday has been another reminder that I was that much closer to 30. My best friend is 5 years younger than me, and loves to tease me. So her telling me how old I am at every opportunity has not helped the situation. The anxiety just grew and grew.
On top of that, every year I get anxious about what plans to make for my birthday. Do I just hang at home with the roommate? Do I go out to dinner with family? Do I have a party? Every year I seem to make the wrong decision and I regret the choice I made (at least partly) the next day.
So this year, the anxiety was starting to get overwhelming. 30 is a big day to plan. I just didn’t want a lame 30th birthday. Good thing the problem was taken off my hands. My sneaky fiance planned a surprise party with all of my family and friends. The kicker: it was a Star Wars themed party.
They played the imperial march when I walked in. There were red and black and green and black streamers everywhere, Star Wars banners, Star Wars plates, Darth Vader napkins, food named after Star Wars characters, Star Wars cookies to decorate, a Star Wars themed drink list and a Darth Maul cake to top it all off.
I loved every minute of it. My family and friends played Star Wars themed party games with me. One where we each had a character’s name on our backs and had to ask yes or no questions to figure out who we were. We also played pin the lightsaber on Darth Vader. My fiance even taught me some lightsaber sparring techniques.
It was like being a kid again, which is part of what made it so great. The party was planned to be just like the parties I used to have when I was younger. Themed parties with my family and friends, games, cake, presents and fun. Throw in a little alcohol and it becomes an adult party!
My anxieties about getting older lessened and I was able to relax and enjoy myself. 30 was starting to seem more like just another year. A year that I could manage.
I guess my point is that Star Wars (or anything else for that matter) isn’t just for kids. Kids play sports, read books, play games, watch cartoons, eat junk food, and talk to their friends to relax. So do adults. Coping skills are coping skills. Growing up and taking on more responsibility doesn’t mean we have to give up the things we love.
As long as things are done in moderation, our hobbies and interests are healthy.
My family and friends all chipped in to buy me the Millennium Falcon LEGO set that I’ve been asking for for years. It’s just about the only thing I wanted for my birthday, and it’s freakin’ awesome. I spent the last day of my 20’s building half of it (it has 2 giant instruction manuals and 1325 pieces) and watching the original Star Wars trilogy with my fiance.
I also spent the first day of my 30’s working, studying, going to class, and feeling sick from overeating. The symbolism is not lost on me.
But I will always remember how my loved ones embraced me and my passions in order to help me relax and feel young.
(It’s a good thing they did, too…because if my birthday had sucked I just would have force choked them all.)
Before writing this post, my fiance and I got into a debate about why I like Star Wars so much. I said “I just like Star Wars”. She said there was more to it, something deeper, and she’s probably right.
Star Wars is all about transition and change. Luke loses his Aunt and Uncle and goes on an adventure where he finds out so much more about who he is, where he came from, and who he wants to be. There just happens to be robots and lasers and crazy religions that give people superpowers.
When I look at the times I spent watching the movies over and over again, they were all during times of change. Middle school, starting college, and after I finished my undergrad.
Maybe there’s something about Star Wars that helps people cope, other than it just making them feel young. Maybe it’s the story behind the awesome effects and science fiction.
Or maybe its just that it’s Star Wars.
What all-ages geek love has helped you cope and live a healthy life?