The Year in Uncollecting 2020

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

Media consumed # (remaining/total)
Physical Comics Read: 18 (32/398)
Digital Comics Read: 11 (500/538)
Trade Paperbacks/Graphic Novels Read: 7 (21/91)
Books Read: 0 (122/167)
Movies Watched: 2 (120/135)
TV Shows Completed: 1 (37/38)
Podcast Episodes Remaining: 178

I completely eliminated that last longbox this month and everything is now in a “currently reading” shortbox that includes both unread back issues as well as current pull list series, so I’m very close to zeroing out the physical comics list. I’m also winnowing down the physical trade paperbacks because I’ve been sticking to those reading projects for G.I. Joe, Teen Titans, and Star Trek. The latter was my focus this month, as I finished up the original series and am now going to move on to the second, “new format” series from the late 1980s and early 1990s. My G.I. Joe read is about halfway through and we’re coming up on issues that I read back when I was ten years old, and I’m going to keep working through my “keeper” Titans books. Eventually, I’ll get back to those Claremont X-Men, I guess.

What comes after that is done, I’m not entirely sure. There’s a certain portion of my collection I feel like I want to get rid of in some way, but I feel like I’m going to have to take some serious time to make a decision on what stays and what goes. At least the books are more manageable because I converted everything to shortboxes. But I might put that off so I can focus on some of the other areas of media, especially books. I did actually read something in December, but it was mostly for podcasting and said books were ones that I had already read, so they didn’t technically count. And the movies? Well, I got some really cool stuff for Christmas, so that’s another thing.

BUT … I want to take a look at the totals for the entire year:

Physical Comics Read: 325
Digital Comics Read: 40
Trade Paperbacks/Graphic Novels Read: 50
Books Read: 41
Movies Watched: 56
TV Shows Completed: 8
Podcast Episodes Remaining: 178

Just like I did last year, I did a physical recount of everything, especially because I was pretty sure that the numbers of comics, trades movies, and books were slightly off. And they were.

So for 2021, here are the new remainders:

Physical Comics to Read: 24
Digital Comics to Read: 500
Trade Paperbacks/Graphic Novels to Read: 41
Books to Read: 116
Movies to Watch: 140
TV Shows to Complete: 37
Podcast Episodes Remaining: 178

I like this idea of doing a full recount every six months or year, mainly because it keeps me honest but also because while I do track everything throughout each month, I am pretty sure there are times where I’ve either forgotten to check something off of my list or have double counted something. That’s especially important when it comes to comics and trades because I’m not using an app like GoodReads or Letterboxd to track them, and I’m down to only a few remaining (some of which I’m putting off reading until I finish a run or series, like the Jack Knight Starman trades I own).

Although some of the numbers went up, some of the really significant numbers went down, with the physical comics being almost completely done, and those digital ones confined to various Star Trek series that I will be able to work my way through without the urgency of them taking up space. That’s probably the same reason I’ve been slow to go on some of the streaming lists as well.

But on the positive side, I took a look at my overall debt for the year and it’s down quite a bit from last year. I still think I spent too much each month, especially in November and December, and I definitely felt like the last week was a bit of a “lost” week. I didn’t really log anything in any of the meal/money trackers I have helping me out. I don’t feel as guilty as I might have in the past because I feel like the last couple of days have been a bit of a “correction” for me in the same way that the first couple of days of January are a correction for so many people. Now, I haven’t weighed myself since before Christmas, so how that has turned out in the past week and a half is anyone’s guess.

Last year, I wrote about how I had to remind myself that I wasn’t in a competition when it came to this whole venture. Uncollecting is one of the rare New Year’s resolutions I actually kept up with for an entire year, and it’s now two years old. The end goal, of course, is to have a “balance” of zero and to thin out the clutter so that I only really have what I find to be worthwhile or valuable. It’s not minimalist per se, but it’s definitely finding the mean between that bareness and the gluttony of conspicuous consumption.

To help myself along, I thought I might come up with a couple of smaller, “mini” goals for the year. I seem to take on reading projects from time to time, so listing them as 2021 Uncollecting Goals might be kind of fun to track from now until the end of December. So, here we go …

  1. Finish out all the physical comics. Probably the most low-hanging fruit of all of them because there’s fewer than 30 and at least half of them are one particular miniseries. I may come very close to this during January, especially if I can find two issues that round out two other miniseries (John Byrne’s O.M.A.C. and Shado: Song of the Dragon).
  2. Finish out the G.I. Joe reading project. This is definitely doable this year, since I’m close to halfway through the trades I own from the main book and will then be able to read my way pretty quickly through the Yearbooks and Special Missions trades I have. The latter half of the series isn’t easy to come by in trade, so finishing what I’ve got before adding to it.
  3. Finish The New Teen Titans/New Titans. A bit of a stretch here because I’m only one trade into the NTT, but I think that it is within the realm of possibility, especially since I have read and re-read this era of the Titans more than any other comic series in my collection. What comes after that–the Dan Jurgens series, the Devin Grayson stuff, Geoff Johns–will take a little more effort to get through.
  4. Clear out my Netflix DVD queue and possibly cancel that service. I am one of the few remaining DVD customers on Netflix, and I’ve been working my way through the 20 or so DVDs that are left on the queue. However, I’ve been going very slowly and I am starting to think that it is probably not worth the money I’m paying each month.
  5. Unsubscribe from delete podcasts I’m just “keeping around”. There are shows I have with a backlog of several episodes. There are shows that haven’t posted an episode in a while, but I know will have upcoming seasons. And then there are shows that I actually stopped listening to a while ago and have been deleting downloaded episodes. So why do I still subscribe? An “audit” of my feeds might be worthwhile.
  6. Continue the “Personal Archaeology” series of posts. I’d been doing a pretty good job of going through old journals and teenage memorabilia at one point, and then life got in the way and I stopped. I enjoy writing those because they’ve given me some real reflection on some very old stuff; moreover, they’ve been a way to retire said very old stuff.

I’m sure I could come up with more, and might add to this as the year goes on, but I don’t want to completely overwhelm myself right now and I’ll stick with this.

To close out, I wanted to take a broader look ahead at the year and do it through something a friend of mine had posted to his Facebook page a word that he chooses for each year. This year, he says it is “vaccine” and below it, in the comments, I saw words like “onward”, “flexible”, “focus”, “awareness”, “hope”, “create”, and “play.”

My word: boundaries.

A lot of this has to do with work. A big frustration this school year has to do with the way that for all of the talk of us living and teaching in unprecedented times and being flexible and giving our students understanding and grace. Yet it seemed for a while that every time I turned around in the fall, I was getting yet another after-work meeting request, having planning time taken up by putting cover sheets on my TPS reports, or being expected to be attentive to emails well after the last “bell” rang. It got to the point where I was so miserable after work every day, I was exhausted, anxious, and really unpleasant to be around. And so, besides earning a paycheck (which isn’t much but is important in this economy), what’s the point of putting myself through that?

It sounds selfish, I know. But there’s a difference between going the extra mile or doing the extra work and being completely taken advantage of, and boundaries are important to avoid the latter. Yes, 2020 is finally over and we’ve got a fresh year ahead of us, but a lot of us are returning to work tomorrow with the same pile of unfinished business that we left sitting there before Christmas, so it’s our perspective that can only be fresh.

So that’s my intention for this year. Continue to work toward my goals and set the boundaries that need to be set so I can get more balance and fulfillment out of work and life. We’ll see how this goes.

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