The Art of Rejuvenation: Time with Fellow Comic Nerds Inspired Me

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by Kevin Schaefer |

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My computer screen stared at me as a wave of unread emails and messages flooded my inbox. I work in management, so it’s not uncommon for me to respond to dozens of messages on a typical workday. This is not normally a problem, but for some reason, I was feeling particularly sluggish that day. 

I couldn’t figure out why I was dragging so much. I often conduct multiple conference calls, reply to emails, moderate the SMA News Today Forums, track statistics on Google Analytics, and still find time to write in the evenings. I can usually handle all of these tasks and still maintain a solid energy level. 

Then it hit me. The reason for my creative work funk was fairly simple. I had been pushing myself a little too hard lately and needed time to rejuvenate. I had also been trying to manage stomach issues that had depleted a lot of my energy. 

But the rejuvenation I needed wasn’t in the form of a vacation on an exotic island. Despite how appealing that option sounds, I needed something to inspire my creative side and allow me to interact with people. I’m a natural extrovert, which can make working from home challenging at times. 

Fortunately, the North Carolina Comicon came at just the right time. I’ve attended this annual event for the past six years, and it always brings me joy. When I’m in a large space surrounded by other nerds, I experience a unique kind of rejuvenation. 

I arrived at the con on a Friday afternoon with my friends Young and Rich. We stopped first in the cosplay armory — yes, that’s a thing — so I could grab some food, and then made our way to the main convention center. Along the way, we discussed the latest movies and TV shows we’ve been watching. 

Despite the cold temperatures outside and the cracked sidewalks that I had to navigate around, I made it safely to the show floor. In addition to my loyal companions, I also knew a ton of people at the con who could assist me. 

After passing by people dressed as Batman, Lego Wonder Woman, and a swath of obscure anime characters, I felt right at home. Normal people dress up once a year for Halloween, but weirdos like me do it all the time. 

As the evening proceeded, Rich and I hosted a panel with two renowned comic book creators. We talked about everything from their careers to life advice they had for aspiring creators. And of course, we geeked out about comic books and movies. It was the kind of conversation that rejuvenated my spirits and made me want to do something creative. We capped off the night with dinner at a nearby Outback, and I continued my adventures the following day. 

I even got to meet voice actor Greg Cipes after he admired my JACO robotic arm. He now follows me on Instagram — because I’m that cool. Just saying. 

Kevin hanging out with Greg Cipes. (Courtesy of Kevin Schaefer)

Rejuvenation is an essential part of living with SMA. After several months of working long hours, traveling for conferences, and juggling personal matters, I knew that it was time for an escape. Now I’m rested, refreshed, and ready to finish out the year with superhuman energy.

OK, I’ll admit that I spent too much time binge-watching shows on Disney Plus last week, but I’m getting there.


Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, Bionews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


Robbie S avatar

Robbie S

Hi Kevin, I was hoping to speak with you about your experience living with SMA. Check out We write stories about people like you. Please email me at [email protected] if you'd like to connect.

Thank you for sharing this story! I love ComicCon. Went to the Miami event a couple years ago and got to write about a couple interesting people.


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