We’ve been inseparable since 1981, through good times and bad. You cheered me up when I was feeling down — inspired me to dress in slacks and a fitted dress shirt when I was tempted to hang out in shorts and an old baggy t-shirt. You gave me that extra boost of confidence and kept me on track when heading to a business event or dear friend’s wedding.
As I say goodbye, I reflect on the many important life lessons you taught me during our 36 years together.
1. Set a Goal, Even if it Seems Lofty
When I first spotted you, I was mesmerized with how simple yet beautiful you were. Not flashy or ostentatious or screaming for attention, but understated and timeless. But, at $175, you were well beyond the reach of a 19 year old college sophomore earning $4.25 per hour in a department store. Even so, I decided you were the one for me and kept the vision in my mind that we would spend many wonderful years together.
2. Be Patient, But Persistent
Once I decided you must come home with me, I knew I needed a plan because I could not have you that day! Over the next three months I glanced at you often, hoping some miracle would bring your price within my grasp. Then, on a rainy Wednesday evening in early November, it happened! A full page ad in our store’s circular announced a “30% off all fine jewelry sale” to run for just one week. With great happenstance, this week overlapped our annual one night extra 20% off all store merchandise employee Holiday Shopping night. All told, with these special discounts and my standard 15% employee discount, you were now magically in my range at $95!
3. Small Steady Progress Pays Off
Given my meager earnings, I devised a plan to make you mine with small, consistent steps. With sales tax, you cost a bit over $100. By putting $10 down and paying a service fee of $5.95, I was able to place you on our store’s Lay-a-Way plan. You would be safe and secure until I paid you off. Each and every payday, I applied $5 toward your outstanding balance, slowly reducing the distance between us. And yes, after 20 weeks, the balance was zero, and you were mine! What had seemed like a huge balance slowly melted away, almost effortlessly and with virtually no pain.
4. Quality, Not Quantity
Over the 36 years we shared, I witnessed friends, coworkers and family members load up with numerous short-term purchases, slowly depleting their funds, and eventually, contributing their once prized finds to landfills. I was not tempted by the latest and greatest, flashiest gadget, which yes, could have replaced you, but would not have satisfied me long term. When I committed to investing a college sophomore’s entire week’s pay, I promised myself it would be a long term relationship. That decision turned out to be wise in that I greatly enjoyed your company, and expended less than $5 per year.
5. Care and Maintenance Pay Off
Over our 36 years, I was always prompt in giving you what you needed — a new band, a battery, or just a cleaning. You were much too beautiful to sit in a drawer awaiting a trip to the jewelers! In return, you gave me your unconditional support and brought a smile to my face every time I glanced at you.
So, my dear friend, I understand that you are simply worn out and it is time for you to retire. I kindly send you off and will always think fondly of you and the important life lessons you taught me.