Hobby vs Collection
This came up a bit ago on The Dice Tower, and it’s an interesting topic for nerds. There are times when a hobby becomes a collection or when a collection becomes a hobby.
A couple of examples of this:
I have a lot of comic books, I read them when I got them and I enjoyed the stories that were told. But I haven’t gone back to reading them in a long time (I’m thinking I should soon), and I stopped getting new ones. That’s a collection now of comic books, but reading comic books was a hobby for a while.
Compare that to a friend of mine who had/has a massive collection of Star Wars and other action figures. He decided a little while ago that he wanted to start taking pictures of them and set-up scenes. He now has hundreds of posts, and over 1,000 followers on Instagram, at TheToysAwaken, who see the pictures and scenes that he’s set-up with what used to be his collection, and now is his hobby.
So why talk about this topic?
I think at times there can be judgement put on people because they aren’t using something has a hobby and it’s just a collection. It’s kind of the idea that if you have it and aren’t using it, you’re doing it wrong. Or the same is the other way around. action figures are a great example of this. We come to it with a collectors mindset because we think we’ll be able to sell them eventually. And you judge anyone who has opened up the package because now it isn’t in mint condition anymore.
Let me quickly get my main point out of the way. To complain that someone is collecting things or using things, that they paid their money for because they wanted them, is dumb. It is there money not your money, you get to decide how to spend your money, they get to decide how to spend their money, and that’s how it works. Stop judging people for not doing exactly what you’d do.
But I think the more interesting thing to look at is this shift, why does it happen?
There are plenty of obvious reasons, circumstances change in a person’s life, the thing gives you joy in a different way, you have a new interest, your interest in the thing is now focused in a different way.
Let’s take my board game “collection”. It’s not just a collection in the purest sense, where it’s something I have a lot of and I just look at. I use them, and in fact I’m not extremely picky about them, don’t have to have every card sleeved, because they are meant to be used and enjoyed until they fall apart. But this is a hobby that borders between being a hobby and a collection. I have a number of games that I haven’t played yet, and that is something that I’m hoping streaming (coming soon) will help me take care of. I don’t really like having games that I haven’t played and that are on my “shelf of shame/opportunity”.
But for a long time I had what I’d consider more of a hobby of games versus a collection of games. That was when I had a smaller amount of more simple games. I think I played games less often then than I do now, but all the games would get to the table, because I had a limited number. Now that the board game hobby is blowing up and there are so many options out there, it’s much easier to have games sit around and not be played longer.
I also think, though, that I do try and keep my board games as a hobby. There is the monthly game night, I have people over to play games, it used to be once a week, now it’s every other week and sometimes a random game time thrown in. But beyond that, I have the streaming that I’ll be doing so that I can play more games. And even more than that, I have culled games from my collection because I know I’m not going to bring them out again. So I’m trying to keep it to an amount where I can get to and play the games on a semi-regular basis (by that I mean every few years). And I’m lucky to be able to do that because we have a house, if we didn’t I’d have to cull even more games.
With all of that, my board games to border on a collection as well as a hobby, but it’s something that I’m trying to keep as both.
Compare that to my comics which are clearly a collection at this point. I have fond memories of reading them, and they are easy to store out of the way. But will I go back and read all of them again ever? Probably not, but I do plan on going back and reading some of them again, and probably soon, because I’m going through them again.
I’m also much more okay with my comic books being a collection, because they take up less space. But even with space, that isn’t always the factor. Sometimes you just need to divest yourself of something you know is just going to be a collection primarily.
An example of this is my Magic the Gathering cards. I’d love to be able to play more often, play more commander and casual games, but with the group who played, a lot of us now have small kids. Scheduling just isn’t reasonable anymore. So I have thousands of cards sitting around, what do I do with them? That’s a collection that at this point in time doesn’t have any inherit value to me. I’d really like to keep them if I was going to play more, but they are just going to take up space now, so it’s probably better to get rid of them, because I can’t read them, and just building random decks never to get used isn’t that much fun.
So how do you deal with a hobby that has become a collection? Have you had it work the other way ever? Are there any hobbies that are now collections that you need to get rid of?
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