Author’s note: This article contains spoilers for all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
As a child, and even as a teenager, I was scared of growing up. I didn’t know what “being an adult” entailed—but I thought it meant grudgingly carrying out responsibilities, such as working in a dissatisfying job, paying bills, and, maybe, raising children through much sacrifice. I now know from conversations with my peers (not to mention the noticeable strain of anti-adult sentiment in today’s meme culture) that I was not alone in my misconceptions. All I wanted was to remain young and carefree—until I realized that avoiding maturity has very undesirable consequences. After that, I was keen to remedy my anxieties about growing up and find guidance to help me on the path to maturity. It may surprise you to learn where I found these things and what they’ve taught me.
I started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003) when I was only six years old. Seeing Buffy and her friends combat the various mystical creatures that plague Sunnydale (the fictional town in which the series takes place), I was captivated by a relatable hero overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges. I was filled with a sense of empowerment and grandeur during these early encounters—and I still am. Although the show’s rich metaphors and deep philosophic messages greatly impacted my development, it’s only now, at twenty-six years old, that I think I can fully appreciate and express what Buffy has to offer—and it offers a lot—particularly on the topic of growing up. . . .
As a child, and even as a teenager, I was keen to remedy my anxieties about growing up and find guidance to help me on the path to maturity. It may surprise you to learn where I found these things and what they’ve taught me. Click To Tweet