Letting go of an emotional purchase

It came into my life at a difficult time. Twenty years ago, my husband left with my dog, and I struggled to cope.

My immediate instinct was to make sense of my environment. I dragged the ex’s old plaid couch/sofa bed outside and lit it on fire. I was impressed at how little was left — just a few springs. Then I went shopping for new furniture, and decided on a lovely sectional. I chose the fabric, a lively floral, and was pleased at how it transformed the home the ex built into something that was a little more mine.

Why a sectional? I think there was a hope that I’d be surrounded by loving people who would all have a place to sit. As it turned out, the sectional became the place where a variety of dogs and cats were all able to curl up or spread out. Over time, I regretted the fabric choice of garish flowers and had the unit reupholstered in neutral beige microfibre. Life went on and my homes became smaller. With each downsize, the sectional took up more of the available space.

I had to accept that my vision of being surrounded by friends was not to be. I’m not pitying myself — I’m just realizing that my life has taken a different path. Instead of having a half-dozen friends over for drinks, I meet friends outside my home. Yesterday, Kim and I went for an October swim in the ocean, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. I have another friend, Phyllis, who lets me pet her horse at her farm and we talk about riding. I have friends in Victoria and Vancouver that I’m in touch with by phone. None of these interactions require a sectional.

So, after 20 years, I let the sectional go to a lovely young woman who was thrilled to haul it away in her boyfriend’s pickup. Any sadness I may have felt was quashed by the smile on the new owner’s face. I was happy for her. Within a day I also sold two ladders that had been left behind by the roofers. I sent multiple texts over the last few months but it seems the ladders were no longer needed. I advertised the ladders, saying I inherited them and did not want them around anymore. They sold within hours.

The point of letting go of the sectional was to reclaim my living room, a place where I just pass through without spending any time. There’s a small TV there that I use to stream music while I do jigsaw puzzles, but for serious viewing I use the 55-inch TV in my bedroom. I stack pillows into a comfortable formation. But it bothers me that I’m using my bedroom as a living room, and my actual living room is left vacant, other than the dog using the big footrest as an occasional bed.

So I want to reclaim my living room. The first step was getting rid of the sectional. My initial plan was to buy a recliner, used or new, and a big-ass TV. But as I look at the cash I’ve earned from my sales, I wonder if I really need a recliner — I can just shove the big footrest against the loveseat/hide-a-bed and call that a recliner, then it gives me more money for a truly massive TV.

Tomorrow, I’ll buy a 75-inch TV and bring it home strapped to my roof racks. I expect you’ll find me and the dog situated in my living room thereafter, watching whatever we want to see. There’s an over-sized chair if someone else wants to join me, but I have no delusions that furniture will have any role in satisfying my emotional needs. Not anymore.

I’m claiming the living room as mine. And the friendships I enjoy are a visit or phone call away.

One more thing I’d like to share. Today marks three years since I quit alcohol. I thought it too was a friend, but as soon as I learned of its destructive powers on my pancreas, I said goodbye. Alcohol is a fickle friend, one I no longer need.

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