When your favorite characters outgrow you

You know what’s weird? How sad I get when I see my favorite characters in a TV show grow up. It’s the strangest thing because they’re not real people, but it’s hard to differentiate from reality and TV – sometimes they’re not even people so much as cartoon or anime characters, but it’s still sad. A lot of people enjoy growing up with the characters, and they continue feeling like rowdy friends with them, but I strangely feel this yearning for the past – when things started out and were simpler and good.

For example, I’ve been watching ‘Parks & Recreation’ lately, and I got sad when Ann and Chris left. I think that’s understandable – most people felt like their real friends were moving away from them. And I actually really enjoy how this show is progressing, more so than the earlier seasons. But I’ve also been re-watching ‘Naruto,’ and I grew pretty sad when I realized how much older they got in the later seasons, to the point they were marrying, settling, and having children. It was strange to me. There’s a super bittersweetness to it.

But that’s life, isn’t it? Maybe I’m still a child unwilling to accept the grownup changes that are inevitable in life, but I’m always yearning for the simpler times. Even in my life, I’ve grown accustomed to friends growing distant and all of that, but I’m still fond of elementary school when everyone used to be friends. I remember how depressed I was in junior and senior high school when people separated into cliques and never talked to one another when we had grown up together and had always been friendly.

I think it’s something I have to deal with. Perhaps I’m just too sentimental and naive, but nostalgia has always been a big part of my life. It actually feels like they’ve grown up without me because I feel the same. I’m the same Annie, but these characters in shows I’m binge-watching of course grow quickly. It’s as if they’ve outgrown me, and then I’m left behind, thinking fondly of when I first met them.

It’s the same with K-dramas or J-dramas, too. I love the earlier stages because they’re fun and simple – two people meet and get to know each other with all the good and bad. It’s usually funny and I anticipate the future. However, as things develop, they naturally become more complicated, and I become averse to that. Things become more intimate, and I’m uncomfortable with that – maybe I feel like I’m intruding in their personal lives or I just don’t care enough? Maybe because I don’t understand because I’ve never had relationships that were that intimate.

These are just some musings I’ve come across these days because I’ve been binge-watching a lot of shows lately on Netflix… I’ve had trouble with this since I was young, and not sure what it is. It’s like I see how much they develop as people and in relationships, but I feel like I’m stuck in the same place. And in some ways, afraid to move on. Because then, maybe I’ll outgrow them. Is this just some sensibility that I need to outgrow or just embrace, accept, and move on? Either way, it definitely leaves me feeling lonely, and like I’m missing something in life. And then I try to fill in that hole with another show or group of “friends,” but the cycle always repeats. They do say that all good things come to end, but I think I need to remember that new good things always start, as well.

Have you ever felt this way? What’s your say in it?

Best,

Annie

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