I had a conversation over dinner with the Birdman during ConBravo and I meant to write on it sooner, but time is not always free for writing. I thought a lot about this topic and I hope if anyone reading is going through the burnout this might be relatable.
What is Nerd Burnout? It’s when your hobbies and interests seem less like fun and more like work to the point you just don’t want to bother anymore. Whether it’s keeping up on your weekly comics, hunting down your collectibles, watching your favourite shows, and of course discussing these things with friends. It feels tedious, tired, and worst of all, like work. But you’re known as a nerd, you like being a nerd, but why does it just seem so hard sometimes?
Of course for everyone it’s different. For me it was having my hobby be my job as well. Shitting where I ate, so to speak. Those are always a bad mix. So over time even talking about anything nerdy would feel like work and no one needs that. The worst thing was being unable to figure out what the issue was. It made work harder, it made my ‘me’ time harder. I felt like I had a role to play and I wasn’t doing it right.
There of course is no cure all, but I did take a step back and stopped trying to make nerdy things ‘work’ for me as entertainment. I stopped trying to force it, explored new interests, and didn’t try to force myself into that roll anymore. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better. Despite everything, I missed being a nerd. The fandoms, the conversations, and the fun that comes with it.
And then came My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Something about the show, its fanbase, the music, the fun. It all clicked. It brought the fun that came with being a nerd rushing back and old fandoms seemed new again. All the good parts about being a nerd were right there, and I really felt like the real me, like there were no roles to play, no shoes to fill. Just me, being me.
From there I discovered new loves like Adventure Time, and revisited old ones like some of my favourite mangas. It felt exciting to have a new book come in or find a new toy on the shelf. I could feel a real shift in not just my interest in my old hobbies, but my general outlook in life improved. I found myself investing more of my free time in stuff I enjoyed. It was a change for the better.
From talking with many other people I know this isn’t just me. I think many have gone through the same, things have a tendency to become stagnant over time. I’ve seen this most in people who try to take on too much and then hold on too long when an interest becomes stagnant. My recommendation is don’t try to force it. Fandoms have a way of finding you when you least expect it.
I’d love to hear your experiences on when being a nerd isn’t fun anymore, leave them in the comments!