Stop. I know what you’re thinking. What is he talking about? Isn’t he the host of the Pop Collectors Alliance Podcast? Has he lost his mind? No, I haven’t lost my mind and yes, I still host the podcast, just hear me out on this.
Many of us get consumed by Funko and their constant stream of releases; Pop, Mystery Minis, Vinyl, Rock Candy, Dorbz, Hero World, and the list goes on. This all is a bit overwhelming, which was the case for me in the lead up to San Diego Comic. It started last September / October with The Grady Twins, Pennywise, New York City Comic Con, through all the Toy Fair Announcements this year, to Funko’s intense exclusive release schedule.
As Pop collectors, we want the latest release, especially if there is a product with significant demand. However, keeping up with all of this wears you down. We were already getting prepared for the Funimation Fiasco of 2018 and Toy Tokyo releases before our refresh buttons had time to cool off from SDCC. All I’m saying is I was tired and I knew a few people who were in my shoes too. So, I decided to take a break from collecting.
I took the two weeks leading up to San Diego Comicon and a small portion of the week after off from collecting completely. I only participated in our live stream for SDCC Shared Exclusive releases to avoid sleeping on the couch for a week (kidding, but seriously my wife doesn’t play around when it comes to Harry Potter).
Originally, I thought the world was going to end, the first couple days were terrifying. What am I missing? Muscle memory caused me to raise my phone the first day to look at notifications, which lead to a 10 minute Facebook notification binge. I decided to turn off notifications and then the real panic set in (I know first world problems right……). But for collectors that stress is real. By the end of the third day, I hit me relaxation stride and (with the exception of a BOX OF FUN) the vacation renewed my enthusiasm for collecting.
How do you unplug? Easy. Prepare.
Before I unplugged from the Funko matrix I prepared. I made lists and asked friends to help me with the items I wanted, planned the live stream and made time for Funko shop releases in my schedule. I managed my expectations and said it was okay if I missed a couple of things (something we tell everyone who listens to our podcast). This was difficult but I reminded myself that no matter what I am part of an awesome community devoted to helping each other and that’s really what put me at ease.
The best part of the vacation was the sense of relief I felt when there was nothing to purchase, nothing to spend countless hours searching for, and most importantly nothing to worry about missing. This brief two / three-week break is what I needed to get back into the swing of collecting. To reinvigorate my passion for this hobby and remind me not to get bummed all the time. It’s okay to miss a few items, it’s okay to not always be on top of everything and it’s okay to relax… just RELAX!!!
Finally, when I decided to turn the notifications back on, take conversations off mute and rejoin the collecting world I discovered something amazing. I read all the positive stories about people in our community helping each other, assisting everyone by purchasing the items they were searching for. The stories of how people couldn’t find something and someone swooped in to help out were amazing. Getting to soak in all that positivity really helped me and it could help you too.
If you’re swamped. Take a Break.
I encourage everyone to take time and unplug once in a while. For me it was too long between sessions, 18 months of heads down, conventions, podcasts, live videos, articles and general research will burn you out, but basic collecting can do that too. If you want to take a break just follow these steps:
Make a schedule: if there are releases you can’t do without and they fall on your break make an effort to schedule time for them especially if it’s an online release.
Phone a friend: a phrase that is constantly used in the PCA, but always crucial. Ask your friends to help you out. See if they are able to pick up the items you are looking for. In my case, it was Piper who put on his cape and picked up a spare BOX OF FUN at the last minute.
Force the phone out of your life: turn off notifications, tell friends only to text in case of an emergency and don’t log in to social media as much as humanly possible. When distractions are present you will be distracted.
Make a plan that keeps you distracted: see a play, go into the wilderness, race go-carts, hell do an escape room. All of these things require you to PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE! Do as much of these activities as possible.
Finally, Manage your expectations: this is the hardest task for any collector, which is why we stress it so much on the show. Even though you will phone a friend, make a schedule and plan out the wazoo, you may still miss items you are looking for. Knowing that it’s okay is the hardest thing to accept as a collector. Just know that paying the eBay price might be worth your sanity.
Summing it all up.
Collecting can be stressful and is often in addition to everything else happening in your life. Taking that break even if it’s a week at home bingeing on Trailer Park Boys or Game of Thrones it’s worth it. Take it from a guy that only thinks about Funko 24/7, IT’S WORTH IT.