What Turning 30 Means…

Warning, incoming rant..

Warning, incoming rant..

In the wii hours of the morning on February 9th, 2015, I will officially turn 30 years old.  It’s a milestone year, and nice, round numbers are typically thought of as a good time for reflection.  The word reflect itself calls to mind something quiet, thoughtful, and personal.  It’s really hard though, to keep it calm and cool when reflecting on the first 30 years of my life.

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Whaddya mean smile? This *is* my happy face..

The barely functional walking disaster you see before you has come a long way just to get to “barely functional walking disaster”, as a few of you who have traded with me over the years can probably attest.  There’s no sense of accomplishment that comes with the knowledge that you’ve done as much as you have to get to where you are when you still feel this wrecked.  I might be in a nominally better place than I was in some ways, but ultimately, all I see is what hasn’t changed, what hasn’t been accomplished.

I’m still in the exact same circumstances I started in, and I still don’t know how to get out of them.  I still live in the same godforsaken place.  I’m still basically unemployable.  I still can’t hold up my end of a conversation in real life.  I’m still a fat, lazy slob.  I’ve still never been in a relationship.  The stability of my mental health and well-being that makes up the sum of all of the above is still a very clearly dubious thing.  It’s horrible and it sucks.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up.  It’s just frustrating to look back and ruminate on how sideways a person’s life can go without even having a bad upbringing or the discovery of a predilection for illicit substances along the way (besides shiny cardboard, of course).  Just being some combination of bipolar/borderline/aspergery can screw a person up just as bad as trauma and drug abuse.  I feel a million times more guilty about it too, because it’s hard to explain when you have no specific trauma or addiction you can point out to people to explain why you are the way you are.

I’m just a fucked up weirdo who happens to be self-aware enough to realize it, but not smart, or maybe schooled is more accurate, enough to explain it or make sense of it.

It just doesn’t feel good to feel like you’ve let down every single person that’s ever cared about you and/or saw potential in you.  Isn’t that a fun thing to feel whenever you can’t distract yourself hard enough?  I don’t know if, if somehow I managed to accomplish all the dreams I’ve ever had, that I could ever make it up to everybody I’ve let down in my first 30 years.

The truth is, I’m just scared.  Afraid to fail, afraid to succeed.  I don’t trust myself.  I don’t believe in myself.  I feel like a giant fraud, and I’m afraid I’ll never stop seeing/feeling/living life this way.

Griffey commission..

Griffey commission..

Here’s a handy case-in-point.  This is the sketch card commission I did for The Junior Junkie.  He said he loved it and plans to give it a place of honor in his collection, but all I can see is how much unexpected difficulty I had with it, and the resulting mistakes I made in trying to get it looking right.

When I look back, the failure is all I see.  Failed potential, wasted talent, all the dreams I’ve let fall by the wayside because I’m too scared and lazy and damaged and stupid and hopeless to even take the first step.  There’s nothing about me I see that anybody could ever find worthwhile in me…

I think what might scare most in this very moment though, is that while I’m writing this at 30 years old, and I fear that I might not having anything positive to change about it, or add to it, by the time I revisit it on the morning of my 40th birthday.

#DirtyThirty

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Why We Do

So I happened across The Real DFG‘s blog earlier tonight.  It’s a nice blog, I hope to trade with him sometime.  My cards of Pittsburgh teams need a good home.  Anyway, he happened across a random card-related blog post far beyond the reaches of our known card blogging universe.  It read pretty negative and bitter, regardless of the intended tone.  It bothered me, so I signed up there just to leave a comment.  It turned out to be pretty long, long enough to be it’s own blog post.  So here is my response, in it’s entirety.  What do you think?  Am I on point or no?:

Wow, way to miss the point there, dude.  However one collects, it’s supposed to be about HAVING FUN.  Period.  You sound bitter over sinking so much money into this HOBBY and not getting a return on it.  That’s fine and I won’t begrudge you for being upset with that mindset, but there’s no reason to crap all over us that do enjoy collecting cards, and it still remains a respectable number.  There are many active forums and hundreds of blogs dedicated to collecting, so calling what we do “dead” is woefully inaccurate.  It may not be what it once was, but I’d argue the boom is the anomaly, and where we’re at now is pretty similar to where we were before things blew up, just with adults making up a considerably larger percentage of the market.

The thing is, most of us aren’t deluded enough to think we will actually make any money on it at this point, and when we can make a bit of cash back on a big pull, it’s just a little bonus.  We collect what we collect because, first and foremost, WE ENJOY IT.  And those that are in it for the money have to be hella dedicated and lucky to actually be profitable, so I imagine they must derive some degree of enjoyment from it as well.  After all, there are much easier ways to squeak by than buying and selling baseball cards, even (or perhaps especially) in this crap economy.

So things don’t look good at all compared to where they were at it’s peak, but duh, things never look good compared to the absolute highest of highs.  So don’t look down on us, don’t mock us or pity us.  We don’t care that business isn’t booming right now, mocking is just rude in any situation, and we don’t need pitied for our choice of hobby.  We know who we are, we know what we have gotten into, we understand it and we are fine with it.  We collect because we enjoy it.  You don’t seem to understand that the only destination, whether it’s collecting cards or any other hobby, is the amount of enjoyment you get out of it.  That is the entire point of a hobby.  However you go about it, it’s supposed to be about doing something you enjoy.  And if you can’t find the fun in it, then maybe it’s not the right hobby for you.

It’s a shame you weren’t able to enjoy this hobby, that somehow it rolled you bad enough to feel this bitter over it all these years later.  Like virtually everything in life, it can be a frustrating hobby at times, no collector would deny that.  But there is enough good in it for us to keep at it, and as long as that is the case, who are you or anyone else to judge?

Until our next…