I recently put a used shoulder-bag of mine online to sell for a reasonable low price (a price that to me seems respectable for a second-hand object and would be the price that I am willing to pay for today if I was in search of this item). I have this idea that some things should not be given away for free, because it somehow feels wrong; maybe you paid a lot for this and it’s still worth a great deal of money today or in my case: you believe that if you would give this specific thing away for free that a person might take it for granted. I somehow believe that when someone is willing to search for a specific item on-line and is willing to pay some money for it, then this person should be the kind of person to take good care of the item. It’s just a reassuring thought I give myself when letting go of stuff that was very much loved by me.
So when someone contacted me to buy this shoulder-bag, I suddenly experienced an instant panic. It was the fear of letting go. There were two reasons I couldn’t part with this item easily:
- I got it as a gift from my mum while we were on vacation in Turkey (that doesn’t happen often, a.k.a it’s a very rare memory)
- It got some repair stitches on it that my mum hand-sewed for me because she does it better than I do. (this makes the item particularly personal)
First reaction was an emotional panic, it struck me: I will have to let go of this now. Secondly, I wasn’t sure if I could do this. I needed more time somehow. So I didn’t reply instantly to the potential buyer. I took some time breathing, checking with myself if I was ready for this. The answer was: yes. I was going to let go of this item eventually. I just wasn’t aware of the sentimental value of it, until it was time to let this one go. I knew I wasn’t using this bag any more and I know that it’s only picking up dust now. I know someone would benefit from this more than I can. And I am happy that someone else loves this bag already and that this person would be glad to own this item now. My mind was completely ready to say goodbye, but my heart wasn’t. My head understood ‘you will never use this again’, but my heart feared ‘I will never be able to use this again’. Fear itself is irrational, but still I couldn’t wrap my mind about what has caused this fear. Is it the anxiety of throwing something away that holds a precious memory? or the fear of regretting your choice afterwards?? In times of desperation I gravitate towards inspiration, for me it’s; books, certain blogs, youtubers or podcasts with valuable messages. So I reread this blog from the minimalists(dot)com about sentimental stuff and listened to a podcast of theirs. I re-established my inner peace in the meanwhile and regained my confidence. I acknowledged that it is time now, time to say goodbye and let go because I was ready after all. I reminded myself of my goals and why it is important for me to do this eventually: I want to be able to do this. Letting go is much more rewarding than holding on.
The transaction was made. And I took one last photograph of the bag before sending it away. It was a close-up of the stitching, the detail that meant so much for me. I think this photograph reminds me to hold on to the appreciation for my mum’s expression of love and care in these overlooked details. I used to take such things very much for granted. Now I’m glad to be aware of these precious gestures. I’ll try to be more attentive from now on and enjoy such moments mindfully and above all be thankful they (still) exist(ed).