As an avid TV watcher, I find the most enjoyment in re-watching my favourite shows like Friends, Gilmore Girls, The Hills, One Tree Hill, Grey’s Anatomy, Felicity and The Office (US) to name but a few. I enjoy following the lives of characters I identify with and see similarities from my own life and where I am going next.
But for as long as I can remember, right back into my teenage years, I always saw myself as being on a different level to these characters: they were living their lives, dating the wrong people, getting married, changing jobs, growing up and so forth. These things were not something that concerned me however, as I was always younger than them so I didn’t have to worry so much.
Now that I am days away from turning 30, I am on the most part as old as many of the characters I have always admired, nearing their age or bypassing them altogether. It completely transforms how I watch these shows now, as I can’t identify myself in the same way as I used to.
For a long time, I have been the twenty-something ‘Natasha type’ that Carrie Bradshaw and her friends feared as thirty-something women in Sex & the City; but now I am nearing the ages of the Sex & City girls myself. These characters were the ultimate single girls, yet I always knew I didn’t want to be 35 and single, and thankfully, I still have a few years to go before I near that! But that’s the thing-it is all getting that much closer that soon enough I may just be that thirty-something singleton like Charlotte, exhaustedly asking, “Where is he?” in my search for Mr Right.
30 is still young of course, but it isn’t that young. I am almost bypassing the entire Friends group which for a teenager who was 12 years old when it premiered, says a lot. I was in high school when Rory Gilmore was in high school; the same as Dawson Leery and his friends on the Creek. Seeing the high school experiences of these characters reminds me just how long ago high school actually was. It feels like another life time ago altogether. One Tree Hill isn’t so bad, because I am still within the age of where the characters left off, and can enjoy watching the show knowing I have time to do more.
I guess that’s the thing. We always feel like we do not have enough time. That time is running out and seeing the progression of these characters and how old some of these shows are, only continues to remind us that we are getting older.
I have achieved a lot in my life. I have traveled throughout most of the United States, with the hope I will see all 50 by the time I turn 31. I have lived in another country, on the other side of the world practically. I have a degree. I am a teacher. I have an amazing family and wonderful friends I would do anything for. I have knowledge and skills that I can offer many fields of work. I am a writer. There is so much to be proud of so far, and new things to experience in future.
But the years are only getting faster, and soon enough we won’t be young anymore. We won’t be the Ally McBeal’s of the world. No, we will be the Frank and Marie Romano’s, asking where did the time go?
I may be aging, and becoming older than my favourite television characters; but I will always enjoy these shows because they will continue to remind me of specific times in my life: growing up, starting high school, graduating university and entering the ‘real world’ and all of the memories that come with it.
And that’s the best part of watching them.
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