This is a rather general, even personal, question and can be answered in many ways - please do. The other day I was reflecting on the years I've been in the hobby and what I have gained from it, and how it has changed me. Before I collected dolls I wasn't a very tactile person. I prefer solving math problems over arts and crafts but being with dolls have compelled me to work more with my hands more and experience what that means. Whether it is learning about resin qualities, figuring out how doll joints and poses work, thinking about fabric and sewing patterns, or even holding my doll and enjoying his presence, the hobby has augmented my life experience. If I didn't have dolls I wouldn't have considered taking up sewing or photography. Looking back, it seems that owning a doll was just the beginning. I didn't have any goals when I started out - the motivation was merely that dolls were pretty and I'd like to own one. Little did I know that the hobby comes with responsibilities and it wasn't just about collecting and putting them in a display case like figurines. However, being thrown into the deep end and having to learn how to swim, figuratively speaking, in order to make the most of my doll and take care of it properly, has been rewarding. I had started out anxious and terrified but now I can sit my doll down without worrying I'd drop him, and that progress means something. My BJDs are shelled characters and because of that, they are a living remnant of my creative streak from adolescence to adulthood. When I was younger I wrote stories and daydreamed but since graduating from university and landing a job, it seems that life encroaches upon these little moments. Someone who works from 9-5 every day doesn't have the same time and energy to create imaginary worlds, or dream or savour moments of abandon (I think of the main character from Terry Gilliam's movie, Brazil). When the 'working all day, going home, going to bed' routine seems dreary, my doll reminds me of the things I used to do and the person I was, and that I don't have to give that all up just because everything around seems to demand it. I like having him for company when I read or watch a film at the end of the day.