When Hopes and Dreams Attach to Things

I'm embarrassed even as I write this. 

Backstory... My husband recently joined my freelancing business. It's something we had planned to do "one day" but not right now. 

An unexpected job loss and a little too much work for me to handle it on my own pushed us to try to make this work.

It's not like we were living in the lap of luxury. Together we made only about $60k a year. Another $5k+ went towards medical bills due to his not-so-ideal health insurance and my many physical and mental health issues and another several thousand goes to help my daughter who currently can't work due to medical issues.

With the change, we technically went to just over the poverty level. I really think we can build it to the point we'll have enough to live on.

But with the transition, it became time to sell some of the things that I've been thinking about selling for a while - to help pad our income until we can figure things out on making a living doing this.

Some were no-brainers... the laptop I never use but kept for a backup, the camera that I never used but also kept for a backup, some small camera accessories, etc. 

Then there was another item that I had been wanting to sell for a while, but also kept it "just in case." If you follow any decluttering site, one common thing they tell you is to ask yourself if it's something that brings joy, or conversely, does it make you feel guilty when you think about it. This definitely qualified under the guilt category.

It was my studio set. It was one of the first things I bought for my business and with every accessory or new backdrop, my dreams got bigger and bigger about how it could be used. 

However, I live in a very tiny space and all of those backdrops took up a lot of room. The backdrop stands didn't take up much room, but the case I bought for them (and the backdrop I was using on a shoot), took up one large shelf by itself.

However, over the years, I only used it a few times. Then I got practical and bought a t-shaped stand with a popout smaller backdrop. It does the job well for headshots or couples and is much, much easier to store, transport, and setup. 

So it was this item that made the most sense to sell as it was the most unlikely to need in the future and it by far created more space once it was gone.

I listed it, half thinking that it would probably never sell. Though we needed the money, I kept my expectations low.  

Then one day, I got a serious inquiry. Someone wanted to buy it!

I quickly found out that I was more attached to it than I thought. Though the money from the sale would really help with that month's bills, there was a part of me that hoped it wouldn't go through.

As I pondered this irrational thought, I remembered another time this kind of thing happened. When my daughter was young, I bought her a used swingset. It was the focal point of play whenever her friends came over. It was a cherished item for years, even after the time she broke her wrist while doing a trick on it.

However, it was a bear to mow around. I didn't have, and couldn't afford, a weed eater. So I would try to get as close as possible with the lawn mower. I did a decent job and it looked okay, but it took time that I would have much rather spent doing other things.

After two or three years went by without her using it, I knew it was time for it to have a new home. I listed it for free on Craigslist (think of it as the original Facebook Marketplace) and was excited about getting it out of the yard.

It took no time before someone let me know he wanted it. He couldn't afford to buy one for his young children and was thrilled that he found one for free. He planned to come and pick it up the following weekend.

My social anxiety makes it difficult to talk to people in these situations (which is partially why I didn't sell it - I would have had to interact to get the cash as this was before Venmo and CashApp). So, he told me when he would be there and I hid in the house while he took it apart to take to his children.

I did, though, peek out the window to see his progress and so I would know when I was free to go outside without having to talk to someone.

As I looked, I was blown away by the emotions that overwhelmed me, as I started to cry hysterically. 

It was simply an unused, in-the-way swingset on the surface, but emotionally, it was the dream of having more children leaving in pieces on that truck.

When I met the man and his wife to do the transaction for the studio kit sale, I felt similarly. It was different in that I knew I would still do photography, but it hit some of those same emotions with all of the hopes and dreams I had those early days of doing this business leaving in the couples' truck.

I try to tell myself the memories are still there - and in both instances the hopes and dreams have morphed into different and better hopes and dreams - but even now, there's just a little bit of sadness about those times of my life that are now gone forever.


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