Monday, September 27, 2021

A (probably) final update

 Hello everyone. I kind of felt the need to write and just let everyone know where I'm at as a person/collector, why I dropped everything, and maybe help you make sense of everything. I hope this doesn't get to be too long winded, preachy, or non-relatable.
Ever since 1992 or so, baseball, as well as the cards have been a big part of my life. Maybe more so during my middle school years. I think by then, it was starting to get to be more than a hobby. By the time high school came around, I spent most of my money on getting cards, and any time I have the chance to go to a game, I would bring the cards and try to get autographs. I think by that point, it had gotten to be more than a hobby. It just grew by then. When I moved back home to go to college in 2002, I went to a lot more games trying to get autographs, and was buying cards like they were going out of style. 2004 came, and my parents split up, so I really didn't have my mom hounding me to not buy cards, and I started doing the ttm autograph thing. Baseball and the cards were there for me during some crappy times in my life, and although it was fun, the both had become an addiction that I didn't want to let go. 
I met my wife in 2011, and she was concerned at the money I spent on cards and how much time I devoted to baseball websites and the like. I told her I would change, and of course, I didn't. We got married in 2012, and I got a little better, not really buying any packs in 2013 or 2014, but in 2014 I started doing the custom cards, and in 2015, she got me a few packs, and I was hooked again. 
There were a few fights on how important cards were to me, and I made small changes, but would go back into bad habits again. Around 2 months ago, it got really bad, and I'm surprised that my wife stayed around. Every last second of my life was devoted to the cards. I would spend all of my free time on an off day either doing customs or organizing cards. When I got home from work, I would ignore straightening the house up or other daily tasks that needed to be done just to do baseball things. On days both of us were off and we would have a chance to nap, I would purposefully miss sleep in order to get out the laptop and make customs. Any chance we had to go to Wal-Mart, Target, or wherever, I would get more cards. I was just a complete and total selfish jerk. She called me out on it, and on that day, I made the decision to stop with them. It was (and still is) hard, but that is just what I have to do. I have got a few packages in the mail from bloggers, and I've just took the cards out, or quickly went through them with Kyler, and then then quickly put them away in a box that Kyler has for his cards. I honestly can say that I really hope he forgets about them and doesn't get into collecting. It can be fun and good, but I have just went too far with it, and I don't want him to get like I have. The tough part has been if Karen has purchased a few packs for Kyler. I open them with him just because she wants us to have daddy-son bonding time and because I always wanted my dad to collect with me, but the evil part of me wants to keep the cards for my collection and just go back into old bad habits that got me in the place I am now in the first place. And she has said that she is ok with me collecting. I just shouldn't make them more important than other people, and they certainly were. I just don't think I can keep getting cards without going full force back into them, so I had to 'burn the ships' as they say. 
This has left me with a lot of time on my hands. Some of it is alone, some of it is not. I have tried to work on music when I am alone. While none of it will ever get picked up by anyone serious about music, and the music is just nonsense to begin with, it keeps me occupied and has somewhat of a purpose. During times with the family, I've been trying to be more present, probably failing 90% of the time, but still better than when I was 100% into baseball. I've been actually sleeping when we nap, and it feels good to get a little more rest (just wish I didn't have to get up at 3:45 AM every day for work).
Brody Koerner, a guy we are kind of related to (his Uncle John married my wife's Aunt Charla), made his MLB debut in August this year for the Yankees. He might be on cards in 2022, and if so, I want to tread extra lightly, perhaps not even trying to get a simple base card, just so I don't open up the wound again. I might follow the playoffs this year, but hopefully with only a passing interest, even if the Rays do like they did last year.
Here's where it might get a little religious, and if you don't want to hear my thoughts, please scroll down.
All of my life, I have grown up in church. I prayed the prayer, went to the services, read through the Bible a few times, and thought I was living a good life (didn't have sex until I got married, supported Republicans, hated the right people). The more I have been with my wife, the more I have come to realize that it's more about a relationship with God than it is a list of do's or don'ts, and although people may be doing things I don't agree with, there are a lot more sides to an issue than black and white sometimes, and I don't need to judge. It is very hard for me. Very, very hard. It is scary to think that I have been living my life the way I have for 30+ years, thinking I was going to heaven if I died, when I may not have been living my life the right way at all. It is so hard for me to change after 30 years of thinking what I was doing was right. 
With the baseball cards, I always had that lingering thought in my head that should I die, or should Christ return before I died, that the cards would just be left to someone, sold, or if Christ came, just be burned to the ground with the rest of the earth at some point in the tribulation. Yet, still I collected. Still I wasted money. I hope nobody I work with reads this, but sometimes I really hate my job. If I had spent money and invested it, I could've probably retired at least 5 years earlier. Not now, and although I have some cards that I could probably sell for a few hundred bucks, I really doubt if I could even get 5-10 thousand for my collection. I don't want to know what I've spent on the whole thing in its entirety. 
I remember one time in like the 7th grade, a missionary came to our church and gave a powerful talk about how they needed money to keep doing what they were doing and feed starving people. My mom took us to Kay-Bee's and got us kids something, me baseball cards, of course. I felt something inside me (the Holy Spirit) telling me to ask her if I could just leave the cards at the store and donate the money to missions. I was a coward and never spoke up, and while it may not have made a difference in the long run, it is telling of what I have done for years and years. Basically putting myself and the cards first, instead of putting Christ, my family, and others in thier proper spots. I have been trying to consciously change that, trying to help out at work more when I would just rather say 'screw you guys, I'm going home', trying to listen to the Holy Spirit when I am at work or home, and just tyring not to judge people and be open. I am scared to death that I am going to just repeat myself. It seems like every time I try to change, it works for a week or a month, and I just go back to bad habits. I try not to make negative comments, and it works for a few days, and then I'm right back at it. I can't afford to mess this up, or I could lose the best thing in my life (my family). I know it's not realistic to expect to be perfect, but I almost feel that I have to in order to keep my family. I feel like I may be on to something just putting things in their proper spot as far as priorities and letting the rest fall into place, but I guess only time will tell. I would love for any advice. I feel like maybe how they say it takes 17 days to form a good habit could work for me, as I've been basically not messing with cards for at least 17 days, but I just don't want to mess anything up. I have an addiction, and I think as a self-proclaiming Christian, it means more for me to give up these cards and get my priorities straight than someone who isn't (not to be judgy or anything). I guess I mean I just have to choose to actually live like Christ would and believe that heaven after death is real and that only good things we do here on earth matter, or not and just do whatever I felt was best for me. 

Ok, done with the religous part. I also wanted to apologize to some of my readers. I recieved packages from Jay of Card Hemmorhage, Kerry from Cards on Cards, and John of Johnny's Trading Spot. I confess, I haven't read blogs since I quit blogging, and I probably won't, but there were a few trades that were kind of in the works since I stopped everytning (mainly with Jay). I didn't reach out to anyone to ask if they wanted me to ship cards, and I should've. It would've been awkward, but I should have. Jay reached out to me yesterday and called me out on that. I should've reached out, or just went ahead and sent the cards. A few days before I stopped everything, I went to my LCS, and found some cards for Night Owl, Fuji, Card Hemmorhage, Cards on Cards, Johnny's Trading Spot, Cards from the Quarry, and maybe 1 or 2 other bloggers. I haven't sent any of those out. Some are packages, some are envelopes. I hope on Wednesday to stop at the post office after work, and finally just put that to rest. All I ask is not to send anything back. I can't do this anymore, and I just want to put cards behind me. 
I have had some great memories with collecting, and I do have some things I've done in the process that I feel might have some eternal worth (sending someone a nice card they weren't expecting, making someone happy with a custom I've made), but ultimately, I feel that I could be doing so much better without doing the cards. 
As far as this blog, I might check every once in a while to see if there's a comment that really needs addressing, but I feel that after a while, there won't be, and hopefully I can just put it to bed. Part of me wants to see a complete missing player checklist done for all of the Topps run 1951-2026, but I know in my heart that it ultimately doesn't matter. That isn't to say that people who collect cards or do customs are anywhere below me. I think I have shown through my actions that I am one of the chiefest of sinners, if not the worst. 
A reader, David, reached out to me about some earlier customs he has done, and I have given him access to this site in order for him to post them. Not sure what will happen with that, but I trust he has fun and anyone who sees the cards he posts will gain enjoyment from them.
Well, that is about it. If you have any questions about all of this, I guess just let me know. If you feel like I'm decent enough to keep following, I am on Facebook (Jeremy DeJong), though I rarely post, just mainly see what everyone is up to, and occasionally show up on one of my wife's posts. I wish you all the best in life, and hope you can have the best life (whether that involves cards or not). 
Thanks for reading my (probably last) post.