I have been a prisoner of consumerism for years now like most of us. As someone who went to school for business and sustainability, I am well aware of this problem. I knew a day would come when I would care a little less about consumerism. As days go on, I get closer to that goal. The big reason is because I plan to move. I don’t want more clutter. I don’t want to blow my whole paycheck on comic books and video games. Another reason I am getting closer to being over the addiction of retail therapy is because I have started investing. (Currently, I have $1,600 invested since around January.).
I was okay with consumerism for about 4 years because it was new to me. It started with buying Elemental Hero Yugioh cards to build decks I wanted to as a kid. Than I moved in with my mom and found my N64 games and wanted to start collecting N64 games. Than Jessica took me to her brother’s comic book store and that awoken the trifecta. I was obsessed with card games, video games and comic books. And over a 3-5 year run, I built a collection I was truly happy with. When I pop in my copy of Pokemon Stadium 2, or when I see my Daredevil #2 on my shelf, or when I duel my wife in a card game, I am truly happy with where my collection is. The problem with collecting is that it never ends. Even when you are happy with where you are. Even when you complete your original goals. Even when your priorities change in life. I am still looking forward to new comics each week or the holiday games.
And yes. My collection is not insane. Though, I have probably hit that point where if I never added another game I could still probably never play every game in my collection. I thought that would be a wake up call but it wasn’t. That’s mostly because collecting and gaming are two different hobbies. The first one makes you excited you scored a new 3D platformer that you will play for the next 15 hours. The other makes you excited you added 20 O.G. Xbox games for a dollar a piece to your collection. So, who cares that there is no way I’ll ever play every Gamecube game I own? Who cares if I have no interest in the sports games I buy? It’s two different hobbies. Each are equally satisfying in my opinion.
I had an epiphany last week. A month or so ago I bought a copy of Skyward Sword on Switch for $60 dollars. I have played about 2 hours into it (I’m at the first dungeon.). Why haven’t I played more you ask? Because Pokemon Unite, a free to play MOBA, released in the same time window. So I have put countless hours into a Free to Play game and two hours into the game I have paid for. Something is not adding up. And this trend is pretty consistent right now. I have been playing Final Fantasy 15, a game I own, over Gamepass, a service I pay $10 a month for. My phone apps and my computer apps (Hearthstone, MTG Arena, and Bloon Tower Defense 6) are all free to play at this point. I’m playing a bunch of free games and not the ones I am putting money into. And with the way the Nintendo Switch is set up, I do not even need a T.V. to play on my Switch. Other apps I use like Pokemon Showdown are also free. Not to mention I am bumming streaming service accounts like HBO Max, Disney and Crunchyroll.
So being a gamer does not even have to be expensive in 2021. There’s my massive collection of backlog games, movies and comics that would keep me busy without having to spend another buck. And in the digital era, I don’t even have to own the clutter. Marvel comics can be bought on an app. Shoenen Jump has an app. Gamepass has hundreds of thousands of games on there for 9.99 a month. So why own this junk?
Because I like it. There’s a lot more to go into such as the fact I actually own my stuff. Digital properties are prone to being censored upon rerelease, being pulled from e-stores at any point, and the fact you do not own the assets. I like being in a house that is composed of my favorite things. Things that remind me of my childhood. Things that make me happy in a world that is generally depressing currently. I look forward to playing, reading and watching these things with my future kids and with my wife, Jessica. Jessica and I have game nights, movie nights and card nights all the time. We enjoy them.
However, space and time are two major things that are hard to get back when they are gone. And money I invest into my collection is money I cannot invest in my retirement. Those three factors heavily encourage me to slow down. Now, in a month I have added 6 Gamecube games to the collection, but I used store credit so my wallet did not feel as burdened by it. I am liking the strategy of using store credit to fund my hobby. I will continue to do that until space becomes a real issue.
So, at the end of the day, I could become a minimalist, but I probably wont until I absolutely have to. I will cut back on spending, definitely. But I still enjoy adding to my collections and chipping away at the goals. However, I am probably done spending hundreds of dollars on collectibles. For now. My money situation and life situation just make it to where it does not make sense. So I am not a prisoner to consumerism anymore. I am just enjoying life and trying to be smarter in all decision making moments. Surely, I will fail at times, but I am always improving.