My Experience

Hello Everyone,

Warning, this is a long, personal post.

I wanted to share my experience with collecting in case it resonates with anyone else. I’ve been a collector of things ever since I was a little kid. My family didn’t have much money, so I tended to hold onto things hoping they would be valuable, or useful, later on. Collecting things also gave me a sense of control over something that I wasn’t able to feel otherwise. I was exposed to Pokemon in the late 90s (I’m 29 now), and of course became obsessed with it! More hours logged on my Pokemon Red than any other video game I’ve ever played. Had a small binder of the cards given to me by friends, but only ever opened a couple packs myself.

I more or less stopped collecting until 2016, when I built up a pretty big collection. I’d realized though that collecting had become too big a part of my life, to the point where I wasn’t enjoying things I used to. Ended up trying to sell it all to someone in Australia (I’m in the USA), and it got “damaged” and they got a full refund and I was out my cards (learning experience).

March 2020, everyone gets back into things, including me. I’ve been collecting pretty continuously since then, and have built up a nice collection once again. But, again, it’s not something that I’ve been able to find balance in. I’ve been lacking in my relationship to my girlfriend, I’ve been distracted at work, I’ve been putting off talking to my friends and family; I’ve been obsessed. Constantly running around looking for new releases, always online looking for good deals on cards I need, organizing my collection, creating spreadsheets, selling things, participating in Facebook groups and forums. It’s become something that I no longer enjoy.

So, it’s time for me to step away, for at least a while. Time to look forward to spending $3,000 on a trip to Disney, instead of agonizing over which cards to get with that money. Time for me to re-prioritize experiences over things, and travel more, run more, sit outside and look at pretty changing leaf colors.

I wanted to share this in case anyone else feels like they are struggling to find balance with the hobby. It may feel like the FOMO is too much. If you step away now, how much more expensive will cards be when I come back? At least for me, no matter what that figure is, my mental health and happiness is worth it.

Thank you E4 for being a welcoming place so full of knowledge! I’m sure I won’t be able to stop visiting cold turkey, but hope to be back in the future with a more healthy perspective on collecting.

Best,
Will

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To some its a hobby, a lifestyle, a side hustle, or just something interesting. Make out of it what you can handle. It sounds like you could put the phone/computer down looking for deals or the latest sets, and spend more time highly focused on family, friends, and creating memories.
Maybe have a rule of thumb, only research cards when using the bathrooom, haha! 15 minutes a day looking for cards you want to add to your collection, and no more. Just a thought.

Some times the hype and community can be taxing on me. As a result, I’ve taken breaks here and there. Some times the breaks lasted years. While that was difficult for me, as I’d missed very cool releases, it was beneficial to my longevity in the space as a whole. It’s big of you to do whats best for you and your relationship. I hope you can find a balance where you can participate in the hobby still. But if not, I hope you find happiness anyhow.

Thank you for sharing, good luck with finding your balance and hope to see you back one day.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing when it comes to collecting. You should indeed be going on trips to Disney and making memories. Like you said, it’s finding a balance between the relationships with friends, family, significant other, work, but also for yourself. If you start to prioritize one over the other, then something will suffer.

You don’t have to go cold turkey on collecting. Maybe it means taking a break. Maybe it’s being more selective with the cards you buy, or setting a budget.

Then again, there are a lot of people who go hard into collecting, get burnt out, sell everything, wait a few years, and start the process again. My only advice would be not to sell everything, but keep it tucked away; out of sight out of mind.

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My personality makes it difficult to do things casually, but hope to develop that muscle over time. A break is the best solution for me, but may not be the best solution for others. It is very possible that some have the mental fortitude to tone things down a bit, and still collect, but I am not one of those people :blush:

@pokenastic, I do regret trying to sell everything last time I left, which I will hold off on doing this time. Thank you for that advice.

Thank you all for your support!

Will

I’m the type of person that always have to do things the extreme all-or-nothing way. If you’re that kind of person as well, my first advice would be to NOT take the advice of people advising you to “just become a different person” and do things half-assedly to keep some vestige of engagement going when you know it’s not going to work out.

My second advice would be to let the hobby go dormant WITHOUT overdramatizing it. Crucial mistake many people make, they punish themselves for not being “active” and feeling “booted out” from the hobby. This isn’t the army, you can come and go as you like. It’s perfectly okay to be sick of Pokemon and then suddenly feel the urge to inspect your collection in a few years time. Or never.

Breaks are fine and are necessary for any sort of hobby. If it was getting too troublesome irl, then it makes sense to distance yourself. I’m always against mass sell offs of things just because I know someday I may come back to the hobby, video games, or w/e it is. Setting a hard limit on buying cards may help you ease things (almost like a monthly allowance), but its your collection/life to manage.

All the best – life and sharing experiences with loved ones should always come first. See you back here one day!

Thanks for the post as this has been running on my mind heavily the past couple months. I too am around the same age and have a very similar mentality (somewhat poor background, collected as a kid/teenager and loved it, etc). I too got back in around 2017 or so and at the time I was still in school and didn’t have as much disposable income or time allocation so I only picked things up here and there. I’ve definitely been obsessed with collecting over the past couple of years as well. I’ve collected both Pokemon and Magic, more so Pokemon because they’re overall way easier to collect usually, depending on the card. I have way more money to throw down and with the events of the past couple years I’ve been stuck working from home and not doing as much outside/social. Hardly ever put gas in my car or pay other travel expenses so I’ve had $100s floating around that I normally wouldn’t have.

Recently I’ve hit a cross-roads in my collecting goals where I’ve basically burned myself out of a goal trying to achieve it too quickly, treating it more like a sprint and less like a marathon but spending a lot of time at it. After listening to a lot of long term collectors, I’ve started to learn even the ones who started heavily in this 10+ years ago at times have spent nearly a decade or more building and completing some sets or collections. Because of this, I was expecting a bit too much instant gratification with collecting and became a bit disenchanted with my goal(s), resulting in a burnout overall. I’ve also carelessly gone beyond my budget a few times as well.

Anyway, recently I took a good overall break and thought it over and decided to go back to drawing board. Going forward I’m only collecting what I truly want to collect and less focus on getting the best possible grades as well. Instead I’ve set some new rules and boundaries for my spending with set goals. For example, with graded cards I’m only buying PSA 10s of my absolute favourite card(s) from a set and instead I’m going to collect PSA 9s for the others. If I can get a 10 for the right price, I’ll go for it, otherwise I’m just gonna wait 6 months or a year or 3 years for another one to pop up at a price I honestly want to pay. All the 10s I’ve acquired recently have been in my budget, below market, and I’ve patiently won them through various auctions or best offer prices. Before that I was buying them way too often and too quickly, often paying way over market value.

In the end of the day all I’m really doing is collecting cards and I realize that my long term satisfaction comes from having more cards and not necessarily more grades but I really got caught up in that short sighted obsession with PSA 10s and getting ‘the best’. I came to realize how many other awesome cards I’ve missed out on by having this short-sighted approach. I love the 10s that I own but they really have cost me a lot of money that could have been put towards completing other goals more effectively and I’ve spent a pretty excessive amount of time searching and hunting them down at times. It is a lot of fun for sure, but I have to draw a line in the sand at some point.

I know this is going off-tangent overall but my point is that it’s definitely good to take a break and reassess what you’re doing in this hobby. Whether it’s a financial, social or other life aspect that is being impacted it’s very important to realize all we’re doing is collecting cards in the end of the day. Be proud of what you have and what you achieved and take a few months off from it and you will most likely come back and enjoy it all again much more.

Also an all or nothing personality kind of guy, struggle with things that are far beyond complete able because it changes the buzz. I also have many many interests and there is not enough hours in the day. I can tell you though you might worry you are missing cards/deals, but someone only doing that is missing what you may be doing.

Im sure some can relate here but playing video games, Runescape or world of warcraft for most my life, I know what its like to be addicted. I personally have found it only works if you complete your other tasks first before playing, otherwise your play time will be filled with guilt. Have an empty conscience then do whatever you want, Remember when you die your collection and physical possessions mean nothing. Unless you want to be buried like a pharaoh with it all coated in gold.