Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Comic Book Conventions and Simple Living

This past weekend I attended the Lexington Comic & Toy Convention with a group of friends. Since then I have been thinking a lot about how attending such a convention fits into my desire to life a more simple lifestyle. For those of you who have never attended this type of event, which I assume is most of you, I'll try to give you a general idea of the environment. Imagine a large convention hall filled with several thousand comic books nerds, sci-fi geeks, and gamers, many of whom are in costume. The aisles of tables feature a combination of artists, media guests, and vendors, selling everything from comic books to t-shirts to movie prop reproductions. At every turn there is something interesting to see, and to tempt a nerd like myself into spending money.

If you're thinking that this doesn't sound like an environment that goes hand in hand with simple living, you'd be right. In fact, for a former collector like myself, visiting such an event can be much like a recovering alcoholic attending the grand opening of a new bar. Ok, maybe it isn't quite that bad, but it is certainly a challenge to attend an event this like this without going home with an armful of unneeded items. In the past I have collected sports cards, comic books, action figures, Hot Wheels, and even autographs. I use to be a huge Star Wars fan, and would have jumped at the chance to meet anyone associated with the films. Things have certainly changed, however. I left the convention having spent money on nothing other than admission and food. I didn't even stand in line for the chance to take a photo with or get an autograph from the multiple Star Wars guests, including the two major guests Billy Dee Williams and Peter Mayhew.

I had intended to pick up a piece of art from one of the independent artists, but didn't see anything that really caught my eye at the convention. Mostly I just enjoyed looking at everything, and seeing some impressive cosplay. Several years ago I expect that I could easily have spent a couple hundred dollars at such an event. I consider my ability to leave the convention empty handed a sign that I've made real progress on my journey. I'm glad that I am able to attend and enjoy these events, rather than feeling that the only way I can avoid falling back into my old habits is by avoiding them completely.

Hi, my name is Jonathan, and I'm a recovering collector....

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