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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Update: The End...and The Beginning

Well...

It's been one hell of a ride.

A little over one year ago I decided that my Transformers journey as I had known it needed to come to an end. I had been "collecting" figures ever since I was five years old, always looking to add more and more to what I always considered an "incomplete" collection.

And I hit some real milestones. A few of the highlights:

A complete loose G1 US collection.

An almost complete "second" loose G1 US collection, including almost every box and card ever released. As well as all the combiner gift sets.

A near-complete G1 Japanese collection, including five of the six rarest headmasters.

A complete G1 SCF collection including the super-rare Skywarp and all the build-a-figures.

Complete Beast Wars, Beast Wars II and Beast Wars Neo collections as well.

All eight of the unreleased G2 Protectobots and Stunticons.

Not to mention the thousands of other figures I bought and sold over the years.

And it was glorious. My obsession with Transformers began like many of you, when I was young. But for me it never really went away. There were ebbs and flows here and there, but by high school I was buying childhood figures from all my classmates and when college came around, I was hooked in deep learning about all the Japanese and European figures with the advent of the internet. By then virtually everything I did revolved around Transformers in some way or another. I had displays in my dorm. My dorm. Think about that a second ๐Ÿ˜†

I would take vacations based on where Botcon would be each year. By doing this I got to see Chicago, Lexington, Boston, Pasadena, etc.

I immediately subjected my (now wife) girlfriend to everything G1 on our first date.

I organized and ran a Transformers convention in my own city (Charticon Forever!)

I made sure two songs from the 1986 movie were in my wedding pre-show.

Ultimately, Transformers was a lifestyle for me. And through it all I had some incredible experiences. I did things I never thought I'd do, such as tour Hasbro, drive Gregg Berger and Paul Eiding around in my car, met Frank Welker and watched the 2007 movie in a theater full of fellow Transformer fans. I made some amazing friends, quite a few right here on this blog who helped me make my collection what it was.

But by the time late 2019 rolled around I found my heart just wasn't in it anymore. I'd accomplished most everything I'd set out to accomplish. My collection was in peak form, and I'd displayed it in a way that (in my opinion) I couldn't really top.

So last year, when I was trying to figure out how to rework my room to make more space and get more figures, I decided I no longer wanted to accumulate. It was like a slow realization: why was I spending so much time trying to make it just a "little bit" better when I no longer cared that much?

It was time to finally put that part of my life to bed. As someone who is anal retentive, I often worry about things I have no control over. This means hundreds and thousands of tiny plastic figures that are slowly degrading day by day. A room that is subject to flooding if an appliance breaks (it happened twice between 2009 and 2019). I decided I was tired of worrying about them. I had nightmares about something going wrong and me losing the entire collection. Not to mention what I would have to go through if we ever moved.

But really, what made it all come home for me was that there was no longer any challenge in it. So much of the fun of collecting for me was finding the figures I wanted, then displaying them in a museum-quality experience. After I found and purchased the G2 Protectobots and Stunticons, it no longer seemed like anything was out of my reach. I never thought I'd own those figures. And yet, there they were, on my shelves. I really think that was the beginning of the end for me. After that, everything else just seemed trivial.

Not to mention I was beginning to have a hard time remembering how to transform all those Masterpiece figures.

So I decided it was time for everything to go. And after making a few calls, I managed to find homes for almost everything. A few good friends were more than happy to take some of the rarer figures off my hands, lol. The only ones I kept were all my Charticon exclusives and my AFA figures as they represented my favorite characters. And who knows, I may even let those go one day.

It's now been a year and I can honestly say selling my collection was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I don't miss them anymore, and I'm glad other people are enjoying them, even though a good portion of the loose G1's were mine from childhood. I was happy to be their keeper for thirty years, but sometimes it is better to let go than to try and keep hanging on when you know it's over. Sometimes I miss being able to walk around my museum, but honestly, I'm glad it's all gone.

Once everything was sold, I now had an empty room and no idea how to use it. Fortunately my wife has a degree in interior design, so she helped me redesign and style it:

Those white cases in the back might look familiar ;-)

The room actually has windows!

I ended up keeping three of the ikea cases and only moved them to paint the room. They stand as something of a tribute to what was and are still in the same spots they were when they held transformers. Everything else was sold, mostly to retailers looking for some nice display options. And I had to get an electrician to come remove the pole in the middle of the room that supplied power to all the detolfs.

Now you may say I just swapped one collection for another, but I already had most of those bottles. We just decided since the room was already wired for the cases, we might as well keep a few and put them to good use. But glass shelves can only hold so much, so they're spaced out.

What's funny is the room gets so much more use now. Before I would only go in there occasionally, when I was feeling nostalgic or blue and just walk around. But that was all I could do. It was designed as a "tour". Now I can actually sit and relax, have a drink and play some games or watch a movie. Not that that's any "better" in any way, but it does make for a nice space to get away from it all for a little while.

For a long time, Transformers defined a large part of who I was. It was in my blood. In a group of non-TF friends, I was the "toy guy". And there was nothing wrong with that. I was always proud to be a fan of something that has endured for so long. But there came a point where no amount of nostalgia could hold my interest any longer.

In the year since I sold everything, I have only purchased one figure: Gigawatt. Because, c'mon, how could I not? If you know anything about me, that was a no-brainer and he sits on my desk where I write. I'll also grab the new Ver. 3.0 Starscream. And I haven't banned myself from buying any more figures, but I just no longer feel the need to. Without a massive room to add them to, I don't have such a compulsion to go out and get something I don't have. I still watch review videos and keep up with new releases, but I doubt I'll be buying many more figures. And if I do, I probably won't hang on to it very long. Just enough to try it out and enjoy it a little. The completionism in me is long gone.

So that's it! I know this blog has come to an "end" a few different times over the past four years, but I thought it would be a good idea to put more of a period at the end of my transformers experience. That's not to say I won't ever post again, though ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thanks for reading, and thanks for joining me on the journey. Sometimes a trip down memory lane is the best ride of all.

-Eric

4 comments:

  1. The satisfaction of satiation and then divestment! While I'm still collecting, I'm old enough to envision a time when I will start to let things go. Thanks for the reflective peek into post-collecting life.

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    1. Thanks for reading! There was a time when I thought I'd be buried with some of these figures, but it's funny how life changes as you get older. They served a great purpose while I had them and now they can serve someone else.

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  2. It was a fun ride reading up on your exploits. While I'm sad to see it all go, I totally understand why you did it.

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    1. Thanks! It was strange for me too at first, but I knew in my heart it was the right time.

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