The Year in Uncollecting 2019

Well, I’ll start with an update for December before I get into the year as a whole.

Media consumed # (remaining/total)
Movies Watched: 1 (102/161)
Books Read: 7 (102/183)
Comics Read: 20 (286/862)
Podcast Episodes Remaining: 78

December kind of flew and I was more or less overwhelmed with work, so most of this was podcasts because I didn’t really have the time to sit down and watch or read something unless I decided that I absolutely needed the break. Many of the comics were completed within the past week or two because I wanted to finish reading all of the unread comics on my Kindle that were in either Comicat or in my Comixology account. Granted, it was about 13-14 comics, but a number of them were huge Batman Family issues, so it was almost like reading two comics at once. But I did make sure I didn’t beat myself up for not doing more, especially when I was in the middle of a pile of AP papers or other work to grade or plan for.

With that in mind, here are the totals for media consumed for all of 2019:

Movies Watched: 55
Books Finish: 103
Comics Read: 516
Podcast Episodes Remaining: 78

After I finished tallying this stuff, I went through my piles (as they are) and did a physical recount of everything. I thought it would be a good, healthy thing to “reset” the lists so that I could start the year fresh and had a more accurate representation of what I have to do.

So here’s the new remainders:

Comics to Read: 353
Trade Paperbacks/Graphic Novels to Read: 69
Books to Read/Finish: 142
Movies to Watch: 78
TV Shows to Watch: 17
Podcast Episodes Remaining: 78

I’m still listing the podcast numbers the way I have, because as I’ve noticed, when some of the shows I listen to are ongoing and therefore put out new episodes on a regular basis, the numbers of shows listened to versus ones left over get a little wonky. I just know I have a backlog that I want to get all the way down to zero, and simply counting up the number of un-listened to episodes that are on my iPod at the beginning of every month is very easy to accurately track.

You’ll notice that I broke the categories I was working with last year into multiple categories/subcategories, and that was motivated by my looking at the lists I had been working off of and realizing that I had lumped all of my unwatched TV shows into the movies categories. Simply put, it’s easier to watch a two-hour movie and check that off my list than it is to work through multiple seasons of a series that I either own on DVD or Blu-Ray or is streaming on Netflix. I then thought that breaking books into two separate categories would be helpful. I consider trade paperbacks and graphic novels books, of course, but with my shelves of these things taking up so much space, I thought that seeing how many trades I’d accumulated over the years but not read would be worth tracking as an extension of my comics collecting.

I do want to break things down even further, though, because the other categories are mix of the physical and the digital and even then are in various formats. Since I was able to finish up all of my unread digital comic books, all of the books I have in my total are physical copies. They consist of an entire longbox plus about thirty books, all of which are neatly organized and are at the top of my pile of long and shortboxes so they can be easily accessed. Of the trade paperbacks, there’s one digital trade and 68 trades that are in hard copy.

Books are a little more complicated. To organize my list a little more, I made sure every single unread book was on my Goodreads “want to read” shelf, which already had a number of listed and therefore made the total on the list jump a little. Twenty-six of those books are on my Kindle, 70 are physically present in my house, and 46 of them are books that I want to read but actually do not own. So, my rule for that will be that I will do my best to get them through my library or from work so that I am not adding to my piles or shelves here.

When it comes to movies, I have a single unwatched film on VHS, three movies saved to HBO Go, three that I haven’t watched on Netflix streaming, two on Amazon Prime streaming, 36 in my Netflix DVD queue, and 34 sitting on the shelves in the house.

All of that is a long-winded way of saying that for as much as I have gotten done this year, I have a lot to get done. And the numbers do show success. I know that I added to them over the years and did accumulate comics and other pieces of media, but when the amount you have left is hovering around half of what you started with, that’s a pretty serious dent in the pile.

Meanwhile, my physical space leaves something to be desired. My office is still a mess and I have not really done much to improve that. While I know that I’m reading or watching things like crazy, there are still piles of things that probably could stand to be thrown out or given away. I’m going to be doing my usual file purge soon, but also need to clean out desk drawers and the office closet and all of the things I always need to do and feel that I need to do in order to “earn” the new office furniture (read: desk) that I want.

Spending also feels like what it was all year. I’ve written about my financial ineptitude before and I don’t think I improved much this year, especially in the last couple of months. I will probably write in more detail about this during the year, but I am going to try a different method of tracking in order to break some of my bad habits.

What’s most important is that going into 2020, I have to remember that I am not in a competition here. One of my biggest flaws is my tendency to feel like I am not measuring up, and to feel that I am generally competing with those around me. I don’t think I project my competitive nature by being an asshole or anything–people seem to like dealing with me and working with me–but I do tend to beat myself up and put myself down.

Take, for instance, yesterday. While I realize that the decade doesn’t technically begin for another year, the talk of entering a new decade did make me feel reflective and I thought about what I had actually done since 2009-2010. My first instinct was to be dismissive because the day to day of life doesn’t seem very exciting when you’re a fortysomething suburbanite. The routines are the routines and the problems seem to always be the same. But when I actually started tallying out what I had experienced, where I had been, and what I had accomplished, I saw that there were a lot of significant items on that list.

And yet I still felt the need to be dismissive because when you spend years in an environment of comparison–what college is represented by the window sticker on your parents’ car, for example–and add social media to that mix, you begin to think of yourself as less (and I’m not even going to get into the way that you often force yourself to downplay the positives in your life because someone else on your feed is going through a tough time and you don’t want them to feel bad). It’s a source of anxiety for me and I have to deliberately remind myself to not get too wound up in that anxiety.

At the same time, I don’t know what else to tell myself at those times. I personally hate platitudes and don’t find a lot of sincerity in the motivational graphics and sayings that I see on social media. Despite that, there is truth in sayings like “trust the process” or “it’s about the journey”, and I want to stop getting too caught up in our instaculture where everything is so curated and manufactured and so public, and that if we’re not putting it out there it somehow doesn’t “count.”

So I am reminding myself, as I head into the new year, that I am doing this publicly to keep myself honest in a big way, and also to write for myself. This blog may change or evolve as I go through the year, and I’m looking forward to seeing where 2020 takes me.

One thought on “The Year in Uncollecting 2019

  1. Bitler Bitler

    I recently discovered your blog and twitter. Enjoying going back through the last year to see your progress. Back in the 00’s, I thought about creating a similar blog to The Uncollected to keep me on track with reading more of the comics and books I continue to acquire. Now that my son is older, I’m reading more but not enough. I also started a book group at work, but most of the time that means I’m reading other people’s book choices. Anyway, a few years ago I took to getting rid of a lot of stuff that I didn’t need and better organizing what I kept – all the rage, I know. This activity helped create spaces in my house that were more conducive to contemplative activities and pursuits. I wish you luck in tidying and looking forward to reading more of your uncollecting.


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