I've been popping on and off the PTR sporadically the past couple of weeks, mainly to check out the Timeless Isle and the Celestial Tournie. There's just SO MUCH to do! I'm excited yet freaked out at the same time. It's a little overwhelming, but I just have to remind myself that hey, this is probably the last major "pet content" that Blizzard is releasing until the next expansion. When I think of it that way, my anxiety is lessened slightly.
But only slightly. There's still a large part of me that is less patient and willing to accept that 5.4 needs to be taken in stride. That part of me is fairly adamant that time is short and if there's so much pet content to complete, there won't be any time for anything else.
And I mean, I guess that's true to an extent. I already spend at least an hour plus doing as many Pet Battle dailies as I can each day, leveling misc pets also eats up some of my time, and then there's raiding, farming, leveling other characters, etc. In 5.4, I could use up all that time, doing everything mentioned, wandering around the Timeless Isle and trying to complete the Celestial Tournament. If that's the case, worst case scenario - I can kiss all other activities goodbye until I "finish" my pet goals.
However, if I think about 5.4 in that light and ONLY in that way, I start to feel really discouraged. So many things could go wrong, there are a ton of obstacles in my way (including but not limited to: being a healer main spec and being on a PVP server yet with no desire to PVP), and a general sense of dread. It takes me to a very dark place that often promotes the idea of "just give up pet collecting altogether".
I have yet to listen to that negative whispering, though. Don't get me wrong, I've come very close to giving in before, and that small nagging voice can grow very loud at times. But I haven't completely crumbled yet.
Why though? Wouldn't it be easier? Wouldn't putting the brakes on pet collecting free up loads of time each day? There would be less things to worry about each patch. I could take my time to do other things either in-game or IRL. The anxiety to "catch them all" wouldn't weigh so heavily on my shoulders. A logical person would choose the path of least resistance, right? Especially in matters of the heart and mind, yea?
Thing is.. I just really love these little friends that follow me around in-game. They may not all be super interesting or have unique models and animations. Sometimes they are a PAIN to obtain. And I've had many restless nights worrying about collecting them; it makes you wonder if the stress is even worth it. Are pixels that form into something adorable, in an online fantasy game, worth it?
The answer is obvious to me: Yes.
It's my escape, my reprieve from the ups and downs of RL, and I really do feel a large sense of accomplishment when I look at my collection. That's my labor of love, I did that. Despite all the hair pulling, nail biting, and pessimism, collecting these pets still makes me feel satisfied. These companions are cute, they've made me laugh and squee, and I'd like to imagine they make my in-game character feel less alone. I wouldn't, couldn't, trade any of the experiences I've had with my collection for anything.
Perhaps I'm just obnoxiously stubborn and unwilling to see reason that maybe all the heartache I put myself through is emotional energy better spent elsewhere. Should emotion be restricted to certain things, though? If something makes you happy (but not to the point where it's unhealthy or hurts others), how can that something not be worth it?
Life is so full of good news, bad news, routine, and stumbling around trying to find happiness. Sometimes good feelings are hard to come by. So to me, if something as simple as a few pixelated pets can bring me joy, then it's worth the relatively small amount of headache I put myself through each time there are new pets to collect.
In the end that quiet part of me just needs to constantly remind myself that if it really means that much to me, I will accomplish it (and everything) in time. Do what you can, don't overdo it, enjoy the adventure, and even if you run out of time, at least you'll still be enjoying it all to the very last.