Being a passionate and devoted geek/nerd is tough work when you’re an adult. Forget about having more than one hobby to choose to spend your time on. That’s only part of the challenge we deal with on a regular basis. When you factor money and time into the equation, specifically when you’re a manga fan, you may find yourself in the position of not really reading them as much as you used to.
I’ve written about the woes of being a geek/nerd on numerous occasions on my blog and elsewhere. When you’re a kid, you think you have all the time in the world to do whatever it is you want to do. When you’re an adult, it becomes more about how to use your time wisely to be able to do most of what you wish to do during your down time.
For a while, I’ve been able to get my manga fix at least once or twice a month. Working at a job with a decent salary can enable anyone to collect the volumes you want and almost read them immediately as soon as you come home. Where my manga reading hasn’t suffered a significant decline, my anime watching has. Now, I’ve been able to watch a little anime here and there (more than last year) but rarely read much manga. Why the sudden shift? Two words: money and time.
I haven’t been buying manga as much as I used to. I do have a few manga volumes I personally bought a while back lying around in my room, but they’re volumes of a series I’ve already read before, back when Shojo Beat magazine used to exist or through online scanlations. When it comes to a volume of a series I haven’t read before in another way, my pickings are slim. What’s also keeping me from buying manga at a faster rate like I used to is my expenses going to more adult things like bills, mutual funds, and other not so fun stuff.
Prioritizing what’s most important in your life becomes a constant theme you have to deal with daily. When it’s a choice between saving money for your future retirement vs. spending it on a graphic novel you may only get to read once and not read again, you’ll have to go with what will benefit you financially in the future. I like diving into the story and stimulating my imagination when I read a really great manga volume, but it’s certainly not going to feed me much less take care of me when I’m no longer able to work. Wise words from an older geek to my fellow younger geeks out there.
On the rare occasion when I do have the extra money to spend on the fun stuff, like buying manga, the next problem I have is time. My life can have days when I’m socially active and other days when I’m just not. When I’m home, my time is split among other hobbies clamoring for my attention. On the days when I don’t want to settle myself behind a glowing screen, I’d curl up with a book. This can either mean a regular book or the volume of a manga. Lately, I have found myself choosing a regular book over manga.
The reason behind my choice lately has nothing to do with a declining lack of interest in manga. It’s just the opposite. I simply want to go deep into my imagination and conjure the look of the characters myself. I want to imagine what a house looks like based on the description I’m given and add my own details to the mix. When you’re reading manga, everything is illustrated for you and it’s the kind of experience where you not only read but appreciate the art at the same time. I like to take my time savoring the details of certain panels before turning the next page. Another factor for choosing a book over manga is the lack of newly bought manga kept on hand. The ones I do have, and it isn’t many, are volumes I’ve already read through unofficial scanlation websites. The main thing I’m after when it comes to my reading material these days is a fresh experience, one where I haven’t read what’s currently in my room.
There are moments when I crave having more manga to read because half the fun of reading them is being able to fall in love with the story and characters and then discussing them critically or deeply on my blog. I like getting my own thoughts out there on the internet and it’s one of the main reasons I started this blog at the tail end of 2011.
I’m not sure how I can really remedy the situation. Similar to how my anime viewing habits in the last few years have changed, I’ll have to indulge in this hobby when I can and not beat myself up too much over the changing nature of my identity as an anime/manga fan as time goes on. As long as the passion is still there, anime/manga isn’t going anywhere. I’ll just be behind on what’s hip and current in anime/manga.