I never got into Boy Meets World growing up. I did catch a few episodes here and there. I know all about “Fee-hee-hee-nay” and how Cory Matthews started out as a fellow Phillies fan and then just didn’t care about my Phils anymore.
But Boy Meets World was more my younger sister’s show than mine. More her world than my own.
I was nonetheless intrigued alongside millions when a Boy Meets World spin-off emerged. Also created by Michael Jacobs, Girl Meets World would follow the coming-of-age exploits of Cory and Topanga’s daughter.
I watched the premiere to satisfy an itching curiosity. While not overly enthused by the flashy Disney-fied feel, I saw something sincere and thought-provoking beneath the fluff.
You could’ve played a drinking game with all the times “world” was uttered in the Girl Meets World premiere. Even the show’s spunky theme song, “Take on the World,” seems to make certain you know what you’re about to watch.
This is a new show with a new world based on an old show with an old world and it’s about these new people taking on their new world, not living in the shadow of their parents’ old world.
WORLD WORLD WORLD.
Repetition aside, the Girl Meets World premiere made me drift back to the show’s hallowed predecessor and this messy notion of meeting the world. What it meant to meet the world at 12, and what it means for me even still at 27.
Back in middle school, back in high school, and back throughout most of college, I wasn’t living a very good story. It was a story of self-absorbed irrelevance trapped in my own sad world.
I was a boy, and I’d yet to meet the world.
In recent years, I’ve started living a better story. I moved across the country multiple times for fresh starts and summer camps and adventures aplenty. Even now, I’m currently road-tripping the continent for who knows how long meeting who knows how awesome.
It’s terrifying. It’s not easy. I’d much rather stay in my own sad world some days.
But I’m doing it. I’m actually doing it. I’m meeting the world. A big beautiful world filled with plentiful precious people.
It’s a world and a story that isn’t about me in the least. A messy world that needs me, needs you.
Watching the Girl Meets World premiere reminded me of Boy Meets World which reminded me of the childhood I never quite had. The Maya to my Riley and the Shawn to my Cory who I never found. The one who’d help me meet the world.
I often fantasize about that lost childhood. About how different my life would be today had I met the world rather than run from it a decade earlier.
I mourn the fact that I never truly “met the world” until I turned 23.
But thank goodness for sequels and spin-offs and second chances galore. A chance not only to better our lives, but also to guide the next generation.
A chance to help others meet their world as we continue meeting and mingling with our own.
Did you watch the Girl Meets World premiere? What did you think? How have you met and how do you continue meeting the world?