It’s a question I ask myself more and more lately. While I’m not exactly geriatric, some days fandom really does serve as a reminder that I’m much closer to my 40’s than I am to my 20’s. As the grey hairs become more noticeable, I have to ask: should I pack away my action figures, unsubscribe to Crunchyroll and log out of AO3? Is it okay for me to watch cartoons when I’m more than old enough to have kids of my own? Am I too grown-up to be a geek?
Obviously it’s easy to say ‘no’. I cut my teeth on fandoms like ‘Due South’ and ‘Starsky & Hutch’ back in the late ’90s/early ’00s, reading fanfiction by women in their 30s, 40s and 50s. Those women and others of their generation were the ones who shaped fan spaces into what they have become now, through their organisation of conventions and publication of fanzines. I’m immensely grateful to have known them, and it’s because of them that I’m so passionate about not excluding older adults, especially older women, from fandom.
Still, I do have those moments. Whether I’m at a con weaving my way past groups of cosplaying teenagers who seem oblivious to other people around them, or I’m looking at the new season’s anime line-up and asking why there are hardly any shows with female characters over the age of 18, I keep feeling like I can’t keep this up forever.
But where would I go? I don’t actually have kids, or a spouse. I suppose I do have some more ‘grown-up’ hobbies, like photography and crafting, but they’re largely solo activities that don’t allow for much social interaction.
Besides, I still like anime, and fanfiction and talking with other fans. And there’s plenty of adult-aimed anime and well-written fan content. My geekery brings me joy, and I don’t want to give that up.
Where I struggle is in finding other fans my age. I know you’re out there. You’re organising cons and producing content and probably asking these same questions about your involvement in fandom.
So I want to hear from you. All you fans over 30 wondering if fandom still has a space for you. I want you to share with me your stories of being a fan of a certain age. I want to share your art and comment on your fics and I want to let you get meta about the things that bring you joy, the way anime and fandom still bring me joy after all these years.
So don’t be shy, and please don’t think you’re too old for fandom. Because if you are, then I am, and I don’t plan to leave just yet.
Follow me on Twitter @oldanimefan or on Tumblr @fanofacertainage.