This post is what I'd consider more of an introspection write up and a bit more personal than normal, but I think it's relevant since many collectors, regardless of what they collect, will eventually need to take a step back and ask themselves these questions that I present. If it's not your cup of tea, no worries. There's nothing really of noteworthy companion news here so you can move along and have a happy pet collecting day! :)
Anyway, I know I joke about it quite a bit, my "addiction/obsession" with collecting vanity pets, but I'd like to seriously address this topic. Is it truly an addiction? When is it considered going too far all for the sake of completing a collection? Have I reached that point or perhaps even past it?
I'm wondering these things now because I recently stumbled on some long forgotten birthday/Xmas gift money. (And when I say "long forgotten" I mean... fell behind the desk and collected a significant layer of dust "long forgotten" lol.) It's still good and it's not a whole lot but it might be just enough to purchase one of the older, rarer TCG pets (if I can catch a good deal one of these days).
For some, this would be a no-brainer. Hell yes, spend that gift money on a pet! But for someone like me that doesn't have a steady income and is a bit of a penny-pincher, is it the wisest choice? Could this money be used for a better purpose or maybe even saved for a rainy day?
I wish I had the luxury of being able to spend it on a whim and without second thought, but since I don't have that option, the notion that I'm actually considering dropping this much money on a TCG loot card makes me wonder if my addiction to vanity pets has gotten the better of me.
Once upon a time I vowed I wouldn't spend a cent more on the game other than the necessary subscription fee, and so far I've stuck to that... except for a "few" companions here and there. *cough* I wouldn't say I've spent more on pets than I have on the actual WoW game(s) themselves, but it's still more than I had initially intended.
So what's changed? And is it an issue/problem?
I haven't quite determined an answer for the former, but common sense for the latter question is obvious: if your collection is affecting your day to day life to the point where you can't function or you're spending money outside your means, then it's a problem and it's a full blown addiction.
But this is where I fall into the grey area. My collection DOES have an impact on my daily life (especially during in-game holidays or when new pets are released), but does it prevent me from eating, sleeping, running errands, working, etc.? In most cases, no. When it does, though, it's more than likely because I choose to let it get in the way of other things. Sometimes I can afford to make pet collecting and researching pet news a priority during the week. But other times I know when real life situations absolutely must come first. I'm confident that I can still make this distinction.
However, pet collecting does put quite a bit of emotional stress/strain on me when there are factors outside my control involved (*cough*miserable holiday loot bag system*cough*). I'm a fairly sensitive person by nature, and any emotional impact made upon me is felt at least twofold. From my point of view it's difficult to gauge whether or not this is preventing me from living normally, though. Obviously I'd argue it isn't since I adore my vanity pets and collection and will gladly suffer through quite a bit for it.
Often times we don't truly see our addictions for what they are until it's too late. Those around you definitely see it and even feel the effects of it too. Maybe it's time I get a second opinion about my own situation.
Ultimately, I'll probably sleep on it some more, brood, and discuss it over with those who are closest to me. Part of me doesn't feel like I've crossed that line where red alarms start blaring, but another part of me fears that if I do spend this gift money on a pricey pet it will send me over that edge.
In the end I think I just need to feel grounded and find some reassurance to justify such a big decision about my pet collection. Whether or not I receive it and am satisfied/confident with the likely result... well that's all up in the air.
Still, I need to tread lightly. Also, I think asking oneself these questions about addiction and whether or not it's gone too far is a necessary process for any collector. Some introspection never hurt, especially when it comes to something serious like a vanity pet collection. :P