Monday, January 31, 2005

How Much Did That Cost You?

Whilst some of us can truly say “I am not materialistic” there will always be one or two objects that they cannot part with. These are not so much for their actual price worth but for the sentimental value that they possess.

Assessing my net growth:

In my living room I found: three couches; one rug; a wall unit; a brand new TV, a computer complete with printer, speakers and a massive variety of CD´s and a DVD player. What I in actual fact saw was that rainy Saturday where I had the most memorable two hour truck ride to fetch my couches at my uncle’s house. The couches and the rug were a special present from him and although he’d had them for five years, they still look brand new. I was thrilled because the bigger couch is a sleeper couch meaning I could have people for sleepovers. The TV was Dad that got me for Christmas and the DVD player was a self given Christmas present which I bit my lip and tightened my belt to get so that my family and I could watch the great DVD´s my dad brought me from South Africa. The wall unit that my TV is placed upon took two hours and over 70 screws to build. I remember Dad and I laughing whilst I read the instructions and tried out my new electric screw driver, the one that is in the toolbox dad got me for Christmas and sits in the kitchen cupboard that took another two hours to put together.

The desk that my computer is placed took me two months to save for because I had decided that although it was a little out of my price range, it was the one that I wanted. My computer itself represents dad’s devotion to me, he saved to get me the latest hardware and spent hours on it making sure everything was updated. The printer was another belt tightened present and its speakers the first luxury that I had bought with my first paycheck back in those days in South Africa… I still remember exactly how much I paid for them.

The bed in my room was a present from my cousin and her future husband who even though have financial difficulties of their own, gave me the bed with the best of intentions. The sheets and duvet were presents from my aunt, the mattress a present from my grandmother and the pillows were a bargain that I found on Sales. My Microwave was my birthday present from my friends. I’ll never forget that they drove me to Lido, opened the car trunk and gave me the microwave and a brand new grill to celebrate my birthday! That day had been a double celebration because that morning I received the keys to my apartment, something that I could celebrate as well as my 22nd birthday. I couldn’t have been happier on that day!

The Fridge, the washing machine and the iron were carefully selected after countless hours and energy in and out of different stores. I recall searching a million and one sites to make sure that I got the perfect appliance! A stranger that comes into my home may even take a second look at my Class A, No Frost LG fridge, but they’ll never know just how many times I redid my budget to make sure I could afford that exact model! They can guess its price… they’ll never be able to calculate its worth.

Then there are the cupboards that my dad and uncle lovingly gave their time and wrists to help build… the dishcloths embroidered especially for me; or the plates that my aunt so lovingly gave me. She told me that those plates were given to her by parents when she had gotten married and that she was simply returning them to their rightful owner. Whoever eats from those plates will look at their old-fashioned design and won’t give a second thought to the sentimental value they possess. They won’t know that my mother gave me a mug each month until I had a set of six. When they drink from my cups they won’t know that some were a Christmas present from my cousin and some were a Christmas present from my best friend.

Today I sat on the floor of my one year old apartment and wept. I wept for all the things that ever meant something to me; I wept for all the things I’ve had to give up to get where I am today and I wept for everything I was going to have to give up, pack up or lose in order to risk getting where I want to be tomorrow.

In order to accomplish my goals of studying and progressing in life, I’m probably going to have to rent out the apartment that I bought with so much work and sacrifice. To some, it may seem a simple step, an intelligent move considering that whoever pays rent will be paying off my apartment for me. To me, it’s as if someone is tearing a part of my heart and giving it to a stranger to use. No one knows the sacrifice and hard work it has taken to build my nest… my home… my haven. And even though I don’t consider myself materialistic and know deep down that this is a justified forfeit, it still kills me to picture myself in a small room with old things while some stranger recklessly uses my things and benefits from my comfy home that still smells of fresh paint.

No matter how unattached we are to earthly things, each and everyone of us respond to that which has sentimental value: that item of clothing that you’ll never wear but was given by a special someone; that book that is taking up space but that you can’t get rid of; that ornament that doesn’t look good anywhere but that you simply can’t give away or that apartment that represents your home and your freedom. Letting go of these worldly things takes courage and sacrifice. Courage and Sacrifice that is often not appreciated or understood by others because they fail to know it’s true worth. The future tenant of my apartment will probably never know that along with the keys of my apartment, he will possess the very heart and soul of who I am.

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