What a blast!
Well, 2009 sure went by quickly, in terms of my CGC collecting journey.
While I've been reading and collecting over the last 30+ years, I'd just gotten into CGC a year or so ago, and ramped up collecting 2H of 2009 after I attended my first SDCC (and crossed it out of my bucket list!). Managed to breach the top 500 CGC Collector Society set mark a few days ago, thrilling stuff!
Its has been challenging to do this from overseas (am based in Asia), as I find myself contending with increased shipping costs and lengthy wait times. Can't afford to have each and every item immediately shipped to me here, so I usually end up accumulating items (slabbed orders/sets from CGC, online slabbed book purchases, etc) in a friend's house in the US, upon which it gets shipped to my home in bulk, flat rate big box. The added complication, is that I am actually working away from home, only visiting once or twice a year - which means it can take as long as 6-12 months before I physically see some of the items I'd purchased!
Pain from anticipation aside, it IS worth it, whenever I come home, open up a huge sealed box, and sort thru my CGC's.
2010 resolution - unless I win the lottery or something, plan to ratchet down and curb spending, focus on completing and/or highgrading key sets (gotten over the initial "euphoria" of CGC collecting I think).
2010 wish - CGC costs go down and turnaround times shorten (else CGC risks alienating maintsream collectors, and opens up opportunities for PGX to get itself better organized/set up its own registry etc which actually might be a good thing for the consumers). CGC rejigs their registry, so one can immediately key in/ register books and select corresponding competitive sets by book and not the other way around (wouldn't that be fun).
Adios for now, and happy collecting!