Hey guys, it's Q again. I'm back from PAX East after a ton of hoops to jump through to get to Boston and I wanted to share my specific experience with my community, but it was a bit too wordy and off topic for the "how was your PAX?" thread, so...here goes.
So for those that don't know me, I'm a completionist, a 100% collector, a "hardcore", whatever moniker you choose to use to describe someone who has to get all the pins. In actuality, I have three sets of pins; one set is my 100% complete set, and the second set is the "I love these pins so I keep an extra" set, and the third is all the extra pins I collect to trade/give away. I caught the pin bug at Prime 13, but then PAX East 14 was my second PAX, and that's really where I was first introduced to the concept of the true definition of anxiety being induced by the desire for a physical object...the Tenth Anniversary Shield.
Now, people use words like "anxiety" pretty freely, I am among those people, but what I was feeling went beyond anxiety, it became true textbook panic attacks (for specific panic criteria you can look here
for further info), but the feeling of euphoria when I got the first shield in my hand pushed that entire negative memory into the past, never to be seen again. That is of course until fifteen seconds later when I made the mental decision that(queue the music) I wanted to be the very best, like no one ever was...to catch them is my real test, to trade them is my real cause. At this point I started to amass as many pins as I could get because I would need them to trade for the pins I didn't have(DLC, aus 13, etc). I caught them all at East 14, made it to Prime 14 and repeated the process only more extreme. I was trading like crazy, I was amassing my Smaugian hoard, I was only concerned with trading for pins I needed for to trade "up in value" so that I could one day trade for a DLC. The most important thing however, was that I was still enjoying the hell out of PAX.
Then, that point came, I actually successfully traded for a DLC. It was done, my set was complete(except for a lookouts set, but that was easily managed) and PAX South was just around the corner. PAX South was a very small amount of pins, so there was almost no stress. Two of my three pin pals were coming down for it, half the pin community seemed to be showing up, and it turned out to be an amazing time. It was so casual and stress free, simply collecting the few pins and just spending so much time with so many friends was an amazing time. It was the best time I had had at a PAX, and the worst post pax depression I had ever experienced...fast forward thirty days to East 15.
We all saw the list, we each had our own ideas, plans of attack, and different pin priorities. My plan was simple, get all the pins, and help my East pin pal get the rest of the pins for our other two pin pals. One key difference in previous years, I had come to terms that there may be pins I could no obtain(specifically the gold overwatch as I am horrid at shooters of every nature). About two hours into the expo hall opening, my addiction was in full swing, and any possibility of not collecting all the pins was gone, they would all be mine.
I spent Friday and Saturday snubbing friends, ignoring everything, focused souly on obtaining pins. For the first time since I started going to PAX, I was not having fun. I realized this Saturday night after I had gone back to my friend's place...I was exhausted, miserable, and I felt like I had been nothing but shitty to not just strangers, but people I called my friends for the sake of pins. So, after some deep soul searching and internal evaluation, I genuinely came to terms with the fact that it was ok if I didn't get every pin. So, Sunday I would just go and have fun. I was still going to try for the gold overwatch pin, but it was going to prioritized second behind actually enjoying the convention. Got up early, got into the expo hall line super close to the front, I was able to trade for a gold overwatch pin and actually enjoy my final day of PAX East 15, and afterwards go have a nice time out in Boston with my friend and his family.
Why am I sharing all this? Why do you care? Well, you probably don't, but the fact of the matter is this: when your desire for collection causes your PAX to not be fun, you have a problem. Pins are fun, pins are great, and these little physical objects bring you great amounts of enjoyment, but don't let them get in the way of the joys that PAX can bring to you just by interacting with the community.