Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The five-year wait


About five years ago I saw a woman in Finland wear a stunning bendable snake necklace. She told me she had bought hers in Switzerland, and since I had never seen anyone else wear anything like it, I figured that it must be a very unique design that just wasn't available anywhere. I didn't think to actively look for one either. I didn't know they were called snake necklaces, and I didn't think they really even existed.

Chris and I stopped by at a second hand store on Sunday, and there it was, in a jewelry case: the necklace I knew I had been waiting for for the past five years. It wasn't horribly expensive, so it just had to come home with me.

The interesting thing is that it turns out that the internet is full of snake necklaces, and they tend to be very inexpensive. Mine is old, unevenly tarnished, and a lot thicker than the ones that sell on eBay for a couple of dollars. If I had known that these types of necklaces were available in abundance, I would have probably settled for something less perfect, something cheap. The desire to get what you think you want immediately is at the heart of the success of the copycat highstreet franchise. Why save your pennies for years to buy a designer handbag, when you can get an imitation at Zara for $50? The same idea applies to those of us who have been trapped in the loop of buying tons of second hand clothes. I am sure I am not the only one who has been looking for the perfect circle skirt at the thrift store, only to end up buying five "nice" ones that I don't even wear.


My experiences with the GAAD, as well as some solid realizations regarding the items of clothing I actually wear on a day-to-day basis, have made me even more critical of the fast pace of consumerism that I have felt uncomfortable with for a long time. It really is mindless to assume that we should have access to absolutely everything we might want right that moment. You lose your focus in the process. You no longer remember why you wanted something in the first place. Immediate gratification does that to you: one loses the ability to differentiate between genuine want and some random fickle.

It turns out that sometimes it is good to wait for the right one to come along. The want somehow matures, it becomes more genuine, it becomes something you can grasp. And once the focus of the want walks into the room, you can actually recognise it, and it makes your heart skip a beat.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Honey, were you talking about ME with the last line?? :) Another great post sweetie, oxox, CR

K.Bean said...

Well said: deferring instant satisfaction for more complete gratification is a powerful way to step outside the fast-paced covet-purchase-dispose cycle.

Well shopped: the necklace is fantastic.

Shey said...

That necklace is amazing, I feel bad because in the last weeks I've been frantically looking for those cole haan penny loafers I so much desire and saw at the mall for $100 dollars, even though the ones I saw at the mall are perfect they are far to expensive or maybe I'm just used to paying under $10 bucks for all of my shoes, however most have made it's way back to the thrift store. I've also noticed how I've enjoyed the things I got new at full price, even though they were expensive they have been worn a lot, a LOT. And I like that feeling far more, knowing that I made a smart purchase, even though it was pricey, I'm enjoying in, I'm wearing it, so it's worth it.

Terri said...

I just recently found one of these necklaces in my local thrift store. I hadn't known that they were called snake necklaces...I've been wearing mine as a bracelet.

I'm getting better at not over-doing it at a thrift. I shop with a short list of the things I KNOW I'm looking for.

Charlotte said...

That's a very striking necklace, Waves! It looks nice against that sweater.

I agree that it's best to wait for the right thing to come along. Sometimes, in my haste, I forget this.

Futurelint said...

That necklace is beautiful and so unique! I just recently realized that I had been doing the "five fine" things instead of the one perfect thing... so I've been waiting. I've been waiting for the perfect vintage leather school satchel forever (okay, like three years) and rather than buying a new knock-off one that just looks vintage, I've been waiting. I found one like two weeks ago and it was the most exciting thing ever! So now I need to just learn to do it with more things. We live in such a immediate gratification culture that we're losing out patience!

Eyeliah said...

I've been trying to remind myself to hold out for the perfect circle skirt, 'we' as a society are so used to getting what we want, when we want it that we forget to be patient for the 'right' thing. I've been working on my patience lately, it will take me years to build the career I want (not weeks).

Angela in France said...

These are wonderful. I have one like yours and also a non-snake--but same bendable style--in a bronze-look metal. I paid five euros each for them a few years ago at a market "bling" stall in southern France.