I'm dialing back on card purchases. I am not sure if it's been noticeable in my posts- I think it might be.
I have not made a specific card run since January 25th. I have not put money into my COMC account since sometime last year, I don't even know when. I have not purchased a hobby box since August. (somewhat offset by attending two card shows where I spent more than $100 each, but it was my first two card shows in 14 years, so I have to live a little).
I don't want to say I have enough cards, because as a collector, you always want to collect something. A hobby stagnates if you don't add to it. But I have enough of a stash built up that I don't have to actually go buy any to scratch that proverbial itch.
But, honestly, I've been enjoying the adventures my brother, and now my mom and brother, have been taking me on, much more than I've been enjoying cards. As I said last time, I had so much fun this past weekend that it almost took me back to the time before my health went bad. That's just one line in the post, but it's a huge deal for me. I can't understate how big a deal. I don't really have fun too often. I have distractions from pain, but actual fun...few and far between. And as I said the last time I waxed philosophical, I don't know how much time I'll have to do things. I know that's true for everyone, but it hits me a little closer than home to most people, I think, what with having as many health problems as I do- I almost died already, and feel like I'm on borrowed time as it is. My ability to do things is already diminished from what it was even two years ago.
While I do have a couple of goals I want to accomplish in life, I'm really pretty happy with the simple stuff. I'm grateful to have everything and anything I get, but there's one big thing missing from my life...and I think you know where this is going, if you've read this website in the past.
A classic car.
It's been my one and only true dream since I was a little kid-I've been aware of and wanting a classic car since at least 1987. When I was three years old. My health problems have been conspiring against me for...oh...about 25 years now, preventing me from living my dream. (also prevents me from driving, which really stinks for a car fanatic). Every time I go to a car show...every time I read a car magazine or look at my own photo archive....it's mentally painful to me. Like a thousand knives stabbing at my soul, to coin a turn of phrase. (That's not even taking into account the physical pain that car shows cause me)
And it's not even like what I want is all that expensive. Take a look at this listing. https://classics.autotrader.com/classic-cars/1966/chevrolet/chevelle/100753566
That would be perfect for me! I mean, my friends have been calling me El Camino Billy since I was 15 years old. It's my email...website...twitter handle...ebay name...facebook page...you get the drift! There's even cheaper stuff that I love as well. A 5th-gen El Camino is under $10 thousand. I recently saw an Edsel for sale, in need of only tires to be a drivable car...for $1500. (Edsels are my #2 obsession behind El Caminos). If I was willing to explore outside those two models (and I am) my options are wide open. Not unlimited- but I could have a classic in just a few months.
But...there are problems. I can't physically do the maintenance required for an old car. I have no garage, which would not be tenable- I'd have to rent one, as I would not leave a classic exposed to the elements full time. The biggest problem...is money. It's one thing to drop a 20 dollar bill on a blaster or two a month. It's one thing to save up for a bit and take $100 to a card show. With the high cost of living in NY, the higher cost of my medicine, plus multiple hobbies...and the line of thought that I could have had fun with the money instead of leaving it in some bank in case the health problems win...I can't save up for anything. That El Camino I linked to is $11,900 dollars. I don't think I've ever seen that much at one time in my life. Mentally, I'm not sure I could spend that in one place...even if it's fulfilling my only lifelong dream. I generally live my life under the principal of "if it's more than $20, I will do without" and that will certainly not work for a classic car. Also, mentally, I'm not sure I could go to that dealer (247 miles from home, that's doable!) and not bring home the 1950s Packard for $3000 less than the El Camino, both because I'm a cheapskate, and I love mint green 50s 4-doors.
See, therein lies another problem. I love cars. More than anything. I want to collect them like I currently collect cards. Since I can't, I build models and collect die cast replicas of them. And I have a lot of each. Lifelong collections add up...when I say a lot, I'm talking so many that I had to rent a storage unit to hold them all. This partially goes towards what I was saying above, in that as soon as I get some money I spend it, if not on medicine and food (which have to be tied together due to the medicine I take) then on one of my hobbies. While I've been obsessed with El Caminos for more than half my life, it's not truly practical. It's a two seat car and there are three people in my family. So getting a 4 seat car might be the better option. Then, my entire family could go to the car shows with me, with room to spare.
And then back to the cards. I left the NBA in 2006, not returning until 2012. I now consider that one of the biggest mistakes of my life. If/when I start saving for a car, I won't be able to buy new cards for myself any time soon. I'd basically have to stop collecting cards, and models. I already had to mostly give up my die cast collection, because the money required to pay for my medicine had to come from somewhere, and that hobby lost. (as did numismatics- both have been almost totally shut down since 2013) That's not to say I'm leaving the hobby. Unlike the time I quit the NBA, I am not going to tell my family that I don't want cards for gifts. There are three big gift-giving occasions in my family- Christmas, my birthday, and my Glad I'm Not Dead day, which is the day I came home from the hospital and got my second chance at life- it is like a second birthday. I also don't plan to leave the card websites, like I did in 2006. Aside from the fact that I'm a better collector now than I was then- I take the time to actually appreciate things now, where back then it was solely about adding more- I might be able to trade for new issues. While not knowing what is going to come out of a pack is really exciting and at least half the fun of collecting new cards for me, I will have to try and give that up and hope I can trade for new issues. Do I think that will actually happen? No. Not really. But I have not really tried to trade for new stuff all that often, preferring to pull it from packs myself. So perhaps I can be more successful than I expect. Having just discovered local card shows, I don't think I can give them up, either. But I can certainly reign in how much I spend. I might be able to form relationships with dealers who focus mostly on "hits" to get their base cards, too, once I get to know them better.
Also, I'm hitting the burnout stage with cards, as I've alluded to or even outright mentioned in the past. The Card of the Day project I did all of last year made getting new cards a chore, not something fun. I have felt like I've been constantly trying to play catchup and doing the things I "needed" to do rather than the things I've "wanted" to do. Maybe, if I slow down on the new card intake, I'll get caught up. Or at least feel like I can do the things I want to do, instead of what I feel like I need to do, even though they all are going to the same basic place. (To elaborate- I want to work on the mixed NBA cards that are the backbone of my collection, and the mixed hockey cards my friends have given me over the years. What I feel like I "need" to do are the cards where it's bunches of the same set over and over, usually from new purchases, also the Finests, foils, and college cards, which I thought I had completed but found another stash of...) Eventually I will get them all done, and they will all go to the same place, namely, Cardboard History Gallery.
I know that having a classic car might not be as fun as I think it would be. Our 1994 Jeep has certainly proved to be more trouble than anything else, and it's technically a classic now. It's also left us walking home on more than one occasion. I feel a little less apprehension because if/when I do get a classic, it wouldn't be our only mode of transportation, as the Jeep was. Since we leased the Edge in July, any surprise mechanical problem, while it may leave us stranded on the side of the road, wouldn't take away our only means to get to the doctor's office, grocery store, etc. That's a good thing. And, having a place to sit and rest while at a car show, would be a great thing. Normally, I can only stay at a show for a short period of time- sometimes under an hour and I'm totally exhausted. If I had a place to sit down, in the show, I could go rest for a while and try to see more of the show again...instead of now, where I have to leave when I can't do any more walking right then.
I feel like there's a huge gaping hole in my life, that only a few thousand pounds of vintage steel can fill.
Even if I can do this...I can't really start saving until next year. The trip to Toledo in October is not going to be cheap. Playing catch-up from that will take up the rest of the year. With that show ending though, I can't put it off. I'm not sure that I'm mentally strong enough to basically give up my hobbies- the only things that get me through each day-even for the bigger picture. But I have so much for each of my hobbies- enough model kits in my stash that I probably won't ever build them all, and enough cards needing scans that I have a couple years' worth still ahead of me, plus thousands of more cards waiting in my "stash", that I could still have something to scan for years even if I stopped cold turkey right now....
There's a lot of "ifs" in here, if you notice. I've been going back and forth on this topic in my head for years, literally. I've even thought about selling off the majority of the models to help finance the idea, but then I had to go and have a good year in 2018, renewing my hopes for that hobby. (instead of being frustrating 100% of the time, it's now only frustrating me 50% of the time- a huge improvement!) With the Card of the Day induced burnout, the sense of urgency I'm feeling on the health front, and people finally realizing that Barrett-Jackson prices are not legitimate, I feel like the time is right to finally fulfill my only lifelong ambition...if I can be mentally strong enough.
In reality, I know I will probably never actually get a classic car. Something always comes up that's more important. Medicine, home repair, taxes, etc. What will end up happening is that I will try to save up, but something will come up and then I won't have a car AND I won't have the cards.
But I have to try.
It's a risk I have to take...I've already literally been on my deathbed once...I don't want to get there a second time without having even the chance to fulfil my only real dream.
Let me reiterate- I'm not leaving the hobby. I'm not putting an end to Cardboard History, in fact I just thought of a new series idea today. I'm just going to be concentrating on what I already have instead of adding new.