Monday, March 7, 2011

Brief Foray Into Reality

If you folks are OK with it, real life's going to creep into the big pile of bubble gum cards here for a minute.

If you hadn't noticed lately (and I'm sure you have), I've been on a bit of a bender. Nope, I'm not "bi-winning", don't worry, and while I'm not spending 16 grand on 1/1 superfractors and whatnot either, I have been blowing a lot of cash (relative to my situation) on cards, particularly on eBay. (Before anyone gets any ideas, I don't want anyone blaming themselves for this, as it started before I knew a lot of you, and I'm a grown-up who can, or at least should take responsibility for their actions.) I've totally nuked dayf's First Rule lately. This is a symptom of one of the "issues" I alluded to in this post around Christmas, which, as I'm sure some of you will recognize, either from having it or dealing with it, is obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. I've had lifelong issues with this, depression, anxiety and worst of all, sleep, that despite outward appearances, have made it pretty difficult for me to lead a stable, healthy, self-sufficient life. I'm medicated (after decades of resisting it and seeing a bunch of horror stories along the way, I can honestly say that in my case, it's saved my life), in treatment and I have a disability case in progress that may finally see a resolution (hopefully a positive one) this year, so things aren't completely left unchecked here, but to put it politely, in this case, my enthusiasm's gotten the best of me recently, and I'm devoting a disproportionate amount of time and resources toward acquiring things that I don't need, or, at least, don't need RIGHT NOW. I've also been talking up a storm to anyone who'll listen and some folks who won't about cards, again, because of my enthusiasm and the fun I've been having both with my collection and this site, so I've probably made a lot of those close to me sick of hearing about bubble gum cards. If you're one of them and you're reading this, sorry about that.

Nothing in my life has been outright wrecked by this turn of events, at least not yet, which is why I wanted to own up to things now and start to work on getting a handle on them. Again, I haven't put myself in financial ruin, but I've spent way more than I should have recently (to put it in relative perspective, imagine what your lives would be like if you were spending roughly half your income on cards; my current income is very, very small, but the impact of doing what I'm doing is definitely visible and significant), and reduced my financial mobility at a time when I really should be more careful with money, especially with gas prices doing what they're doing. I haven't lost any friendships because of this, and I don't think I've completely bored anyone to death. I hope not, anyway.

Does this mean that I'm going to stop writing this site or buying cards? Not at all. I think there are good lessons to be learned from what's going on right now, that'll make me a better collector, a better writer and hopefully, a better person, and even more importantly, they may help someone else who's worse off than I am at the moment. Plus, I am having a lot of fun collecting cards, writing the site, and having the conversation I talked about in my very first post with everyone who reads Scott Crawford On Cards! Honestly, this is the happiest I've been about creating anything in many years, and I'm almost always creating something.

However, I definitely do need to put some thought and effort into doing things more managably from here on, and here's some of how I'm going to try to do that. 

1. I've got about 20 different items that I'm still watching on eBay (at the peak of this madness, I was watching the full 200 items for a while), plenty of which I won't end up winning, and while I still have plans of bidding on those if the pricing remains reasonable, I've been seriously scaling back what I actually add to my watched items, and further scaling back is in progress. The "Do you REALLY need to have someone ship this from halfway across the country right now?" test is working out OK on this so far. I'm also going to be scaling back my saved searches (I've got maybe 10 right now), just so it's a little harder to find ways to make myself broke $5-10 at a time. The last few biggish ticket items I won are awesome, and you'll see them, but they still would've been available next month or next year at around the same prices, so it's time for me to be more patient and less impulsive.

2. 2011 Topps Heritage is coming out next week. I'm going to try to take it a lot easier than I did with Series 1, and make good-sized trades whenever possible for the cards I need rather than buying the set 150 singles at a time. No guarantees there, but I'm going to try. It took me until Christmas to finish 2010 Heritage (a set I'd waited YEARS to collect) and the cards didn't magically turn into pumpkins, so I can take my time on this. I also had no trade partners for '10 Heritage, whereas now, I have a lot, so I figure that'll help. 

3. In general, I'm going to try and trade for the sets I'm building more than buying my way to completion. It violates the old "don't trade old stuff for new" rule a bit, but I've got a bunch of old stuff, I run into more all the time and I'm not exactly trading '71 Topps cards for '11 Toppstown inserts here. This year, I'll be collecting the Topps base, Heritage and Allen & Ginter sets and Obak if they do another year of it (I think that's going to be standard until something changes; I've sorta lost my taste for Bowman over the last year). Trade partners welcome and appreciated on all.

4. I like opening packs of cards and Target gets me sometimes, but I need to scale back those "oh, I need to grab (insert lame excuse here) from Target" trips a little. Not a lot, but a little would help. I'm also going to do a better job of looking for stores that have old wax that interests me, so that, when I want to open stuff, it'll be of sets that I want in on, rather than just "stuff".

5. As I'm paring down my personal collection and adding to my trade list, I also will be scoping out the area for card shows with reasonable table fees and I may set up at a few. I worry a bit about becoming a "dealer" and the stigma that gets attached to people who sell collectibles rather than just doing all this commie trading we do, but mainly, this is to keep my house from overflowing with crap and raise some money for cards I want with cards I don't.

6. If you're reading this and you see me post a bunch of things that I bought in a short period of time, I don't need you folks to stage an intervention or anything, but a gentle nudge about it via email would be appreciated. Ultimately, I'm the one who needs to work on self-discipline and make/take responsibility for my choices, but it still feels good to know that your people have your back in the process of that work.

7. Finally, if any of you have struggled with the same sorts of things that I am at the moment (and I hope I'm not pre-judging anyone too much, but I have a feeling that a lot of you have), I would love to hear how you dealt with or are still dealing with it. Feel free to comment here, or if you feel more comfortable talking about it privately, my email address is in the top right hand corner of the site.

Thank you for bearing with me as I talk about this stuff, thank you in advance for being understanding of the issues that I deal with on a daily basis, thanks for reading my site and most of all, thanks for being a good bunch of folks.

2 comments:

  1. Good post. I know its fun but having a handle on things will make it even better. I know that I'm prone to want to grab a pack of cards when I'm at target but at this moment there isn't anything there for me, I'm not buying anymore series one so like you'll the buying will slow down considerably.

    -also, i've got a b. williams card on the way to cap off the trade we've been working on for a while

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  2. I know a little bit about what you're going through Scott (although under different circumstances). It sounds to me like you've done a great job already of recognizing your issue and writing down a clear plan of action.

    I look forward to helping you out with some of your collecting goals later in the year.

    Good luck, and I can say that you haven't bored or annoyed any of us, quite the opposite actually... :)

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