The One That Got Away
No, I’m not talking about the relationships you’ve let slip through your fingers sometime in the past or the people you only glimpse when your train is headed in the opposite direction, as Susanna McCorkle sang. This blog is about stuff, after all. I’m also not talking about things you once had and deaccessioned. The one that got away is something you never actually had--that you had the choice to have it and didn’t take it.
There were good reasons, of course, practical reasons, why you didn’t grab whatever it was. It was too bulky; too expensive; you didn’t know what you would do with it; other people said it was silly. And yet. And yet. . .
The thing that got away from me was when I was in my twenties. It was at a country auction in Pennsylvania near where we were staying, an old wooden organ, fancifully painted with designs-- garlands and cherubs, gardens and bucolic scenes. It was immediate love on my part. I wandered around outside the farmhouse, trying to get interested in pottery bowls and charming doorstops. But I kept coming back to my organ and staring at it.
And that’s all I did. There was no way to get it home, after all, and no place to put it if I did, although I could imagine it as the centerpiece of any room. I didn’t play the organ, I wasn’t even musically inclined. It was its presence as an ambassador from a kinder, gentler time, a piece of a vanished world, that must have made me nostalgic. Maybe it was just a thing of beauty.
I’m still not sure what the attraction was. Worse, I can no longer picture the organ. But that morning I successfully fought the temptation to bid on it--and for years afterward, whenever I remembered it, it was with a kind of longing and regret. Why hadn’t I . .
There’s a lesson here, I guess, about seizing the day, about going with your deepest instincts, about taking leaps of faith. Or perhaps the lesson is that you don’t get everything you want in life, that being practical is a virtue, that self-restraint is good for the soul.
Take your pick.
Surely I’m not the only one who’s had this experience, who’s wanted something they didn’t get, who was denied it either by themselves or someone else. If so, I’d love to hear the story!
MM Challenge: The One That Got Away
The psychology of stuff isn’t just about saying goodbye to what you own or denying yourself something you really want. But sometimes we do that anyway. What are you sorry you didn’t go for? Come trade experiences at the blog, judiculbertson.net.