Would Have, Should Have

Would Have, Should Have


One woman’s encounter with learning to follow her heart.

Would Have, Should Have

I learned something about love on CraigsList. Or rather, I learned something about myself when I decided to buy a new kitchen table. So, for anyone who has ever blown an opportunity because of hesitation, this story is for you.

I moved into an apartment three weeks ago, and the hunt for the perfect kitchen table began. Champagne taste on a beer budget, I went to the virtual yard sale known as CraigsList to find my prize. The practical side of me said a sturdy, rectangular-shaped table that could also serve as a workspace was the way to go. But deep down inside, I lusted for a vintage oak round table with iron-claw legs. I knew what I wanted, but I hovered. “I should buy something practical,” I told myself.

And then I saw it — exactly what I longed for. Someone was selling the vintage table of my dreams. But it didn’t make good sense. If I bought it, I’d have the headache of finding chairs to match. I spent a day thinking it over as I continued to cruise through CraigsList. A more balanced soul would have driven to Ikea and slapped their credit card on a pre-assembled light timber floor sample, never to think about tables again. I was making this way too complicated.

Finally, I emailed and learned the table of my dreams had just been sold. I paid a price for my hesitation. By the time I responded, it was gone. I promised myself never to hold back again and I wondered how many “tables” I’d lost due to my chronic “would have / should have” condition.

My thought pattern is: I want x, but I should get y. For example, in a mate I want someone exciting and alluring — but I should date someone my parents will approve of. I like artistic types, but I should search for someone with a reliable profession. What I’m finally learning is that I should listen to my heart, what make me feel good inside, and not give a hoot about what anyone else thinks I should do. After all, it’s my life.

Another insight gained was the negative thinking I’d put on my own vision of a charming kitchen. I thought of every reason why the table I really wanted wouldn’t work. Too heavy to lift, and I’d have to ask friends for help. Did I really want to spend my weekends looking for matching chairs? Maybe a thin table from Target that I could lift myself was the perfect solution. No, either of these options would make me feel like I’d deprived myself of the joy that table would have given me. Instead of looking at all of the reasons to not get what I wanted, I should have simply followed my heart.

I wonder if finding a table could be more difficult than finding a mate? Maybe. But whatever or whomever comes along, I know now that I’m the one I need to please.

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