Fuji brought a question with some potentially complex answers for his contest this time: Why do you collect?
Just about everyone's replies I've read have had multiple reasons, and mine will be no different. Without getting too deep, I think I've come up with 2 solid reasons.
First, I enjoy it. It seems like a simple explanation, but I think it's important to do things I enjoy. I do a fair amount of volunteer work and make an effort to jump right in to help friends and family when they computer help or someone to help them move. I take my role as "helper" very seriously. However, I have to take care of myself as well, so some leisure time and silly enjoyable activities are important. Collecting certainly isn't the only thing with which I choose to fill my free time, but it's one of them. Luckily my wife, who is a play therapist, understands this, and even insists that everyone needs some time to play in their life.
Another reason is that I like to learn. I entered my Master of Science program simply because it looked interesting (and my work would pay for it), knowing at the time my salary wouldn't go up for completing it. I did eventually get a higher paying job at a bigger company, and have now started a Doctor of Philosophy program, again for the sake of learning. When I first started watching baseball, I wanted to learn every single rule of the game, including the complexities of the infield fly rule, what could happen if a batter swings at a wild 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded, and everything in between. When I started collecting 1992 Topps, there were helpful stats on the back with italics showing me season leaders, giving me even more to absorb. That helped solidify my card-collecting habit.
It didn't start off this way, but reading all the blogs I've found in the last two years, and completing trades, has been a nice reinforcement for a fun hobby. I got a few Heritage singles from another blogger in 2011 and just liked something undefinable about them, so decided then and there to collect that set. I think I could probably list 100 other great things about collecting, like meeting others who share my interests, but they are excellent bonuses, not the reasons I'm here in the first place.