It’s been three years since the term “social-distancing” became a part of our daily vernacular and since then, majority of us have been staying at home as much as possible. An idea I had once relished in, thinking about all the work I could get done, projects I could complete, and books I could read. I was wrong. I have read zero books, have accomplished small tasks but am still behind on virtually every project with a due date. I did, however find a new hobby.

A VERY rough sticker I made of Inosuke from Demon Slayer

I somehow found myself getting into sticker making. It started as my own form of activism surrounding the Black Lives Matter protests. I began selling stickers to raise money for BLM. After we went into full lockdown, I kept drawing. Before I knew it, I had quit my job and opened an Etsy shop. Now selling my stickers, keychains and pins is my full time job. Apparently, majority of people have been doing the same. Crafting, collecting, we all need something to distract us from living in “plague times” and maybe making an extra buck. According to The Washington Post, “Six out of 10 Americans did pick up something new to do in their free time during the pandemic to battle boredom or make money on the side.” 

One of my partner’s records by The Menzinger’s record “On The Impossible Past”

While some people are creating art, many people have got into starting a collection. I know many people that used to collect different things as children and as COVID adults, their love of collecting has been reignited. Coins, comic books, stamps, glassware, beloved childhood toys and vinyl records. My partner has a spine condition that has pretty much confined him to the house. He doesn’t feel too bad about staying home during COVID because of this, but he started collecting records in July of 2020. He currently has 187 vinyl records. Seriously. When I asked him about his love for records, he told me it was tied to his love of music and missing the experience of going to shows. It was also his way of boosting his serotonin with each purchase to pull him out of a depressive episode. There’s also gratification in being able to snag a limited pressing(higher value collectibility). People have different motivations for starting their collections. Many collect out of nostalgia others may be collecting things to fill a void, or help to feel in control during uncertain times. According to Psychiatrist Shirley Mueller said, “Collecting provides solace and structure, and ways that we can still be productive doing something we can enjoy. Collecting is also about control,” the article goes onto say, “We can control our collections. We can’t control Covid.”

Collecting provides solace and structure, and ways that we can still be productive doing something we can enjoy. Collecting is also about control

Psychiatrist Shirley Mueller
My partner’s record collection


Smithsonian Magazine

The Washington Post