Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas, Family, Toys, & Nostalgia

I was recently listening to a podcast called Imaginary Worlds by Eric Molinksy, and it really got me thinking. He and a guest were discussing toys and how they can be transitional objects. They described transitional objects as something that "reminds you of a moment in life when you were transitioning from one stage to another." They went on to to describe how the transitional objects often bring up "living memories" that are etched into our minds. Eric and his guest also went on to describe how the "living memories" often are "self-soothing" thoughts of moments of "pure joy." As you may have already guessed, for lots of guys in our age group the transitional objects for us are often times toys, super heroes, video games, etc. They discussed how these "living memories" instantly transport us back in time to where we can remember precisely where we were, who we were with, what toy we had, the shear joy of opening that toy, and even the smell of it.

All of this got me thinking about Christmas coming up, how things used to be versus how they are today, and the role that collecting plays in our lives today. Steve and I have been extremely fortunate to have had great upbringings by families that love/d us deeply. Looking back, those living memories that we have instantly take us back to a much simpler time. It was a stress-free time of fun, excitement, and love.

We each have those special memories of this carefree time. I can remember it like it was yesterday... going to Kay-Bee and picking out the toy I had been wanting, building playsets and models with our dads. The happiness this brought us was nothing in comparison to the joy it brought our parents to see us so happy.

Collecting and Christmas time have an extra special meaning to Steve and I. Both of our fathers have been affected by cancer. Unfortunately, Steve's father lost his battle with pancreatic cancer six years ago yesterday. I am lucky enough to still have my father here with me, but he has been fighting terminal prostate cancer for about 7 and half years now. This has been extremely difficult thing for us and our families to deal with, as any of you who have had to deal with it know. The stress of every day life is hard enough as it is, but to not have your father there any more or to watch your father go through treatment after treatment and to see the effects of it is rough.

Collecting has been a way to help deal with what has happened to our families. We honor them when we think about the great times we have had with them. The stress of dealing with a lost loved one or with watching one suffer through it can be very difficult. Luckily, collecting can be a therapeutic outlet to relieve that stress. Something as simple as customizing figures or backgrounds can remind us of the times building models with our dads and the little tips that we learned from them along the way. We take those tips and carry them on and will pass them on to others. It's the little things such as those that count.

Besides being a great stress reliever, collecting is also an extremely fun hobby. There is a certain amount of joy that comes with making a list of exactly what you want, the hunt of finding that great deal, and the joy of opening up that package you have been waiting for when it finally comes in the mail. Everyone deals with tough times in life, and everyone finds different ways to deal with it. Collecting has been a therapeutic way for Steve and I to both honor our fathers and to remember all of the amazing times we had/have with them.

Christmas is a joyous time of year for many, but can be extremely difficult for those who have lost loved ones. This Christmas honor those who we have lost too soon and those who are still fighting with everything they can. When you open your presents while sitting in front of the Christmas tree take a minute to think on those "living memories" and remember to back when you were sitting on your dad's lap, opening your favorite figure, and the shear joy it brought the two of you.

Steve and I want to wish all of you a very merry Christmas and happy holidays. Remember the past memories, enjoy making new ones, and cherish every second of it!

Jon & Steve, CobraShadowJoes

Steve w/ dad and his brand new Roboto!
Jon w/ dad.

Jon w/ siblings and dog, Mugsy in 1980-something.

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