The Regrettable Let-Go
I was putting our Living room in order this morning so I could start my day. My coffee maker was at it, preparing precious Millilitres of my black blood. It was all Adrenaline, vim, and excitement. The day was absofreakinglutely looking good, and I was going to make the best of it.
I got to a console table in the south side of the Living room next to the entrance from the vestibule. It was handmade from redwood. Solid and minimalistic, which reflects the rest of our living room, though there is always that temptation to put this here, bring in this or hang that there. But minimalism is lit, don’t you think?
Anyway, on this console table sits a hand-woven raffia cistern, and next to it is a wooden tray with polished stones and 4 glass candle holders we bought from London. Beautiful inconspicuous piece of art. Just when I lifted the tray up to clean the surface of the console, I had a huge flashback that took me to years gone by.
I had moved to Accra as a young guy from Takoradi to work. I came with a decorative piece I had in my room back in Takoradi. It was a High-Grade piece of wide brim Stoneware Chalice. In it were a handful of Seaside shells. It was beautiful, but I must admit I really didn’t see it as anything other than that piece of art you improvise to give your space a face lift because you couldn’t afford something more expensive it.
But that stoneware was for my mother, and so I guess it was way quality than I might have imagine. I am not sure how I came by the shells, but It must have been in our home when they were building it back in the 90s. I guess they were going to be used for design in the Terrazzo floors. Honestly, I do not remember how I came to have it.
The whole thing sitting there was just beautiful, but I guess I got used to it so much so that It didn’t mean that much to me, again. As life improved for me and I could afford stuff for myself, I took it for granted and treated it like something that was of no value. I wanted more; the allurement of the decorative pieces in home décor shops was too enthralling I wanted nothing but what was on their shelves as I went window shopping…the glitz, the bling and the fake cheap gold glazed pieces.
I took it with me in 2011 to Tema, as life would have me. I didn’t use it much as a decorative piece, as I did when I was living in Accra. It eventually faded into obscurity. In 2016, I moved back to Accra, and I remember as part of the trash that was not to move with me… yup, I left it behind.
Now I am staring at this console, and for the first time, since we moved into this house, I know this spot would just have been the most perfect spot to have this piece. Simple, strange and alluring piece of art but intensely perfect fit for the space. I am thinking, this decorative piece would have been the most sentimental piece in this house, and I know my wife would have loved it too. By the time we married I had ‘decommissioned’ it as a room décor.
Why did I discard it? It did nothing wrong, it didn’t break, it was not cheap or obsolete; it was in a perfect condition when I threw It away. I mean, dust had settled on the shells in it but, of course it was a 5 minutes job under a running tap and it would have been as pristine as it was when they first showed up at the sea shore. Why did I get rid of it?
At the time, I wanted more in a decorative piece, I wanted something I paid for; so regardless of its intrinsic value, because I didn’t struggle to own it, and I had it as a homemade art, it didn’t carry weight. It didn’t have Casa Trasacco or Orca Décor Price tag so I didn’t value it as I would if I had bought it from those shops.
We have a thing or two we bought from the US in this house that have little value, and some are even in their boxes, yet we carry them around, even though we don’t use them.I have this Cuisinart 5-1 Griddler I carried from the US to Ghana in 2018, because it was too pragmatic, and it was going up for sale. I came to Ghana and realized the cost of a Step down that could power 2000 Watts kitchen Gadget was many times the Price of the gadget itself and the wattage was something, upon second thought, I didn’t want to pay bills for. A month later, I got something similar that uses Gas in Ghana. Total waste of time, money, and valuable luggage space But guess what, we still have it in its box gathering dust here.
So, why did I get rid of this decorative piece of Art? I am sure if I took a trip across the length and breath of Accra, I would get a similar wide brim chalice, and I can get someone to get me a pound of seashells, yes. But would it have a tale to tell around it to my family, children? No. I dare say, it might not even be a true quality stoneware.
I can be fiercely dedicated to things I like. I don’t change things until they are broken beyond repairs. I don’t change things because I have used it for so long, or I can afford a new one. I prefer to preserve and maintain than replace. Those things remind you of your life’s journey, where you have come from, and what you have come with. I have this hairbrush that anytime my son misplaces his hair, and uses, I remind him of how the brush is older than him, or when I first said hi to their mum. I can say that if that brush is sent to a lab, they might get a strand of hair that is 15 years old struggling to metamorphose into the roots of the hard bristles.
So why did I let that wide brim chalice go?
This blog post, as you may know, if you know me well, is not entirely about that Chalice I discarded, but how we take people for granted…especially the people we started with when we had nothing. This is about how some people were in our lives when we started, and at that point mattered because that was what we could afford. Most importantly, this is about the people who stayed, even when deep down in our hearts we knew we don’t value them, and, someway somehow, they also knew, but chose to stay anyway, until we just got rid of them, for no clear reason.
A time comes, years down the road, when you are married and settled and it appears life is working for you, then it hits you that you really didn’t need to have gotten rid of that particular person, because you realize that no matter who is in your life, there is that one person who could have fitted perfectly, than anything else. Sometimes, honestly, you don’t even miss them; you even forget they existed, and everyone in your life works fine for you.
But when the epiphany hits, it is usually not a feeling of regret because life is working against you; no, that is not the only feeling you get when wish you had not discarded someone. Sometimes, you remember the sentimental value of that person; the bliss of telling people a life long story of how you have come far, the ups and downs and how you pulled through together, and how each step along the way they were there.
Sometimes it is the time stamp on that relationship that sends everyone going like oooohhh wooooowwww 25 years together and you two are just 40 years. So what? You started dating with you were both 15? That feeling of, in your face man, beat.
Sometimes, it is the bliss of knowing that after being with the person from the very start, you have come to know them so well, you can sleep and still predict them, you can be away and know they will get you exactly what you want, where you want it, and how you want it. That length of time become an invaluable life currency that buys you anything in your relationship. From conflict resolution to key lifelong decisions, you grow to master and perfect your game.
You walk through life, having a million and one stories to share about each other, countless little diamond studded life experiences that cannot be recounted until the freshly lit bonfire burns itself into ashes, smoke, and lazy spurts of embers.
There are people we get rid of because they have outlived their usefulness in our lives, they have become abusive, manipulative, or untrustworthy. There are people we let go because we grow apart and out interests are no longer mutual, and they seem not to have any confluence.
There are also times we let people go because we have not figured them out yet, and because of that we do not value them. That was why I let go of the Stoneware
We let people go because we get greedy and needlessly green eyed with what is out there, becoming oblivious to the fact that, regardless of how we came to be with the person in our life, it does not make them intrinsically cheap. Sometimes, the things we have, for which no price was paid, maybe the most invaluable assets that we have.
We get tired of the same old conversation when there is nothing wrong with the conversation. We get tired of the same old thinking, we get tired of the same old sex, we tired of the same old patterns that we end up looking for more. There could be better out there, or a semblance of better, but that may not necessarily mean that that what we have is worse.
You don’t discard of humans because we progressed in life- we bring them along, especially those who do not mind coming along. Find a better reason, than just progress, to discard a person who has dedicated their life to you. Sometimes, new feels better, except that in an age and time where fakes are a lot, new and price tags may not always equate quality and longevity. 50 years ago, you could fine a teacher or a clerk in a law firm round the corner, in the sunrise of your life, and build a life with them; raise amazing children and have a peaceful retirement and a fulfilling sunset. Now there is a plethora of people from which to choose that the louder ones stand out. Of course, they yell better, look better, and have their best foot in front. Their idea is to be taken by the highest bidder, but like modern gadgets, they are not made to last. So as beautiful as they may look, maybe, just maybe, the love of your youth, the one you have shaped your life with, and you have absolutely no specific reason to let go, except in comparison to others, on the façade, becomes your safest bet.
I had to let that decorative chalice go because I thought in my new modern home, I wouldn’t find a place for it, without actually bringing it in to see if I could find a place for it to sit or not. Sometimes, we judge people’s potential in the future not by their mistakes in the presence, but our own limited perception of how they would fit into our future. The future itself is unknown to us that any decision we are making about it, at the most, is a guess work.
Sometimes, the people we let go because we don’t SEEM to have a need for in the presence, become the most invaluable people we may need in the future. Everyone has their maturity stage; the time set to blossom and be revealed. Some people have very limited but significant purpose in life, that you will not find a lot of action around them until their set time comes. Our responsibility is, in part, to help them or wait for them to blossom, especially when being with you causes no harm, retardation, or social hindrance. You may never know when, but if they being with you causes no harm, or in the absence of other enticements, you would have been content with them, then I guess what you need is patience.
Sometimes we spend time and resources to acquire new people, and grow relationships with them, when all we needed to do was to focus on what we have and learn to love them by finding meaning in our everyday interactions. What guarantee do we have that the new ones are as good as the old ones? What guarantee do we have that, in a stone cold world seething with ruthlessly self-centered people, we are likely to pick people who will stick and stay, and take all our excesses, without complaints, knowing how we trivialize them, yet are willing to stay, fall with us and rise with us yet are without cracks because they we build of stone?
We have become a people who are always questing for new things; new experiences, now drama, new locations, and new beginnings, that we easily pawn our valuables for a cent to scratch our transient crave for new things. We have seen too many people break their hearts because they didn’t enjoy the stability around their relationships again, they found the steady safe gliding of their marriage to be not good enough. So they become restless, start looking around, start getting enticed, start wondering what the other side may bring. They allow the thought to take a mind of its own that, it minimizes the value and importance of the people in their lives and amplify the What-can-be and move on to pursue it.
I look around our beautiful living room and I am loving what we have, but after today’s flashback, I know that little insignificant piece of art would have been the most sentimental, high quality and Probably the oldest thing in this house. And while it may not affect my every day activities, I wonder, would it have killed me, if I had held on to it a tad longer to know where it would fit the most in this house.
I know some of us are happily married and we will marry our partners again, giving the chance, but you still wonder why you let go of that ex…You still wonder why you exchanged 6 years of relationship that was preceded by 15 or more years of neighborhood experience, classroom experience, church and camp experience, for someone you just met because you just got tired of the same person, even though you know they were just too good. Some of us still miss that sense of knowing, where you just look at the person and you both burst into laughter because you know what they are thinking. They go out and come back with something that is perfect for you. You fight and reluctantly listen to their advice because down there, somewhere in the dark crevice of your heart, you know they are right.
Some of us know, that no matter how the change mattered, now, and in this very moment, having that ex would have been the single most perfect piece of decoration in our lives.
So, if it is not broken, do not fix it; not many of the people coming up lately are durable, loyal and have the appetite for staying with you through thick and thin. If it is not broken do not throw it away, and if life does not depend on it, do not pawn it because you do not see it current value. Every good thing has a value even if you didn’t pay for it through your nose.
If you are in anyway struggling to make a decision on who to keep or let go, click here and take to me