Wednesday, Mar 23, 2011
by Margie Trundleberry
When hobbies stress you out
One of the reasons people get into collecting is to relax and have something to do in their free time. And in today’s fast-paced world, hobbies are pretty important for reducing stress.
But collectors are, by nature, passionate. And passion has a way of turning into obsession. Once you’ve gone down the road to obsession, your hobby might actually be what’s causing you stress.Go along for the ride. This stress can come in many forms. Jay Laramie, in his capacity as Head of Acquisitions, sees a lot of colleagues and collectors overcome by the worry of missing out on an item. He’s seen collectors panic at an auction, frantic that someone else could end up with their Pennyland souvenir salt and pepper shakers, and then spend several sleepless nights until the items are safe in their hands. The elation that follows this period of stress is often short-lived, and can drive collectors into endless cycles of worry.
His solution? “Collecting is itself a story. You have to let it unfold; you can’t just flip to the last page.” Jay recommends trying to focus on each stage of the process – browsing dusty shelves, making new friends at conventions, discovering a new shop. “Enjoy the story!”
Know when to say when. Our Head of Archives, Louis Smeedley, admits to succumbing to a second cause of collecting-induced stress: worry about deterioration or damage.
“Collectors work hard to find their Star Cowboy Blasters or copies of Roger Believe issue # 17,” says Smeedley, “of course they should try to preserve them for the future.” But even Smeedley – our resident white-glove enforcer – admits that sometimes enough is enough. Each layer of protection puts another layer of distance between the object and your ability to enjoy it. Some things are meant to be handled to be experienced, so you have to weigh your desire to protect it with the amount of joy it will bring you to use it or hold it. “Putting it under plastic or glass is one thing. But once you start putting them in a bath of inert argon gas, you’ve probably gone too far.”
You have to accept that there is no turning back the hands of time – for any of us. And collecting relics from the past is not about stopping time, it’s about looking back through the veil of history. And sometimes the ravages of time tell an important part of an item’s history. Take standard precautions, of course – acid-free paper, away from direct sunlight, and for heaven’s sake finish lunch before handling objects! But know when to let go.
So relax, and enjoy your collecting. Draw energy from your hobbies – and not the other way around.
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