Monday, July 14, 2008

My Violin Made Me Cry Today....

So, as a poor school teacher who went to NYU and now has considerable student loans (without the promise of ever making big bucks), I've been thinking about how I can get some extra money to pay things down. I thought about slowly selling some things off that I just don't use that much anymore. That way cleaning house at the same time. One of my ideas was to sell my violin. I didn't think I had too many feelings about this. This violin was purchased in full a month after I returned from France. I knew I had to pay for school tuition and everything else, but I also wanted to get something just for me. Growing up I had taken lessons and been in the orchestra (my mom had rented me a violin during the school year from the school) and I really longed to play a musical instrument well (it's a dream of mine to be really musical!).

I came home from France, purchased the violin and even had money set aside for lessons. I was able to take lessons for a whole year and see some amazing progress and I delighted in the gifts of Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi (even the simplified versions that I was playing). Then life happened. I was a poor student. I was working. I had to pay the tuition and bills. I stopped taking lessons, but I would pick it up now and then and enjoy my talent.

Then I started traveling and moving and living like a nomad for the next decade. My violin was lovingly stored in my parent's house this entire time. I'd take it out when I would be home on breaks and play it occasionally, but decided that maybe I had no real time or talent for the violin.

So now, ten years to the date that I bought it, I decided to sell it. I listed it yesterday, very cheaply at $400.00, not even a third of what I paid for it. I got a response. She just stopped by. She started playing it and tears came to my eyes, I forgot how beautiful it sounded. i forgot how much I longed to be good at this. I knew she wanted to buy it, but she wanted me to come down on the price. I told her no, and she left and said she would call her husband, but maybe they could pay what I was asking. She said she would call me tonight.

And now, I am sitting here, looking at my violin and feeling like I just can't let it go. That maybe one day I can afford lessons again. Maybe one day I could help my son or daughter learn this instrument. Maybe one day it will do more than sit in my closet.

Four hundred dollars quickly fades away into nothing right? Is it better to keep struggling while I sit with some beautiful things around me, or is it more responsible to sell these beautiful things and start paying off some debt? Sometimes I just really hate being a grown up.

Yes, my violin. I cried when I actually bought it as it was my first big purchase ever and I was so proud! Now I am feel the pinprick of tears at the thought of selling it. And usually, I pride myself on not crying that much.


Stina said...

Oh D'Arcy, I can tell you are struggling with this. I come from a family of musicians and can totally understand your attachment to the violin. It is more than just an instrument. However, as someone who is also working through money and budgeting issues, I can see how you may need to sell it. Sorry I am not offering any advice! But I sympathize!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora D'Arcy,
Something that evokes so much emotion in you should be considered a treasured item. Just because you are not playing and practicing as you would like, I think it still represents both Beauty and Possibility for you. I write keep it!
In a way I feel a synchronistic link to seeing that violin pop up on your screen just now. I received a call last night from my friend Adam, a classically trained violinist who now lives in Ireland pursuing his passion of playing the Irish fiddle. He is back and coming to see me this weekend, so it will no doubt be a weekend reverbating with the sweet sounds of live music. I too cannot stop the tears coming to my eyes when I listen to him play, it seems to seep into my soul.
Perhaps he rang me for bigger reasons? Put the fiddle aside D'Arcy, try some other ideas first.
Kia kaha!

Alisa said...

What a beautiful instrument! It really is breathtaking.

I have a guitar I play about three times a year. I also have a piano I play about three times a month. However, because music is something that makes a home a home, I can't part with either. Niether are as nice as this violin, but I think things that make music have a magic in them.

I also believe in living simply and cleaning things out of my life. However, I have to be emotionallly ready to part with these things. I sometimes hang onto things for a year or two as I get used to the idea of being without it. Then when it's gone, I know I'm ready.

I agree with Robb that you should keep it--at least for now. It looks like you're not ready to part with it. And, if you ever are, you need to double that price!

Good luck with your decision.

Sugar said...

First of all, don't let this violin go for so little... unless you absolutely can't get by without that $400 for a bit longer.

Second, I agree with Alisa about being emotionally ready to part with items. If you aren't ready, hold on to it. But for the right reasons... only you know what those are.

I think I have learned this lesson well in the last few years. I don't ever buy anything that I don't need. If there is a "want" on my list, it has to serve a purpose. I have seen too many dollars go towards items that I just had to have that later became fodder for yard sales.

Except for pedicures. You gotta have pedicures.

skippylongjacket said...

Another way to view this . . .

It is difficult to part with things that we love. But inevitably, it must happen. There are numerous things we could lament passing - our possessions, our age, our relationships. Each perfect moment in our lives. How gorgeous was the evening last night and how many did not want it to disappear? But those perfect moments must also go in order to allow new perfect moments to occur. The memory of those moments are what create the magic. You have a beautiful picture of a beautiful instrument and lots of fond memories. The difficult part is knowing that you could have future memories with this instrument. However, should you choose to sell the instrument, this object itself will live on to create another beautiful memory in someone else's life. And then you will also have the opportunity to create a new memory when you have again reached a financial position where you are able to purchase another one. It could be nice to have such a goal to work for and accomplish again. It can be hard to let go, but I have found that God does not allow me to lose something, without replacing it with something else. Even if that something is as intangible as the knowledge that I was strong enough to give up something I loved. Oh, D'Arce - I'm sure you can read much into this one. Love you and good luck with the decision!

Jaime said...

Awww D'Arcy, I can see this is difficult for you. My husband was in a similar position years ago, when he came off of his mission and needed a car downpayment. He sold his Selmer Paris Soprano Sax. To this day, I think it is his only regret in life. In fact, we have a bet right now--If he wins, I have to buy him a new soprano sax.

I would say keep it, but you need to make the decision that works best for you. Good luck!!

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

Please don't sell it.
Call this young lady back and tell her you have had a change of heart.
I'm afraid you will really regret it if you do.
$400 is next to nothing, and especially if it's welling up this much emotion already.....

Please don't sell.
Get a part time job if you need to, but don't sell your violin, ok?

Those strings are very definitely attached to your heart.

Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, PLEASE promise me you won't sell your violin.

Please? (I'm begging. I know you can't see me, but I'm literally typing thing on my knees, in the begging position....)

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

Diva and Ruby (my 2 dogs) are now begging beside me. I told them the story and they are now HOWLING IN PAIN, also begging you not to sell.. (ok, I'm making this last part up to lighten the mood... but I really don't think you should sell...)

Reall. Don't sell. You can earn $400 very quickly - get a little PT job somewhere for the remainder of the Summer (Barnes & Noble? or being a cocktail waitress somehwere? really you could earn $400 in a matter of a few weeks.... this is so NOT worth selling your violin over...)


D'Arcy said...

OK guys, I realized I couldn't sell it. So I didn't. I am not in a dire situation, I don't need a part time job, I was just trying to be responsible, pay off debt and not be too materialistic (a big fear in my life). So I'll keep plugging away and living simply.

HWHL you are persuasive, you made me laugh. Your email was haunting!!

Anonymous said...

Don't sell it! Don't sell it! I beg you!

I firmly believe that certain objects can hold a spirit and a sort of a magical quality - (for lack of a better word)! - and especially musical instruments. Your violin is beautiful, and the fact that you are crying over it and not wanting to sell it indicates, to me, anyway, that you should hang onto it. But I am somewhat of a romantic, not what anyone would call extremely practical, so perhaps I shouldn't put in my two cents.

Oh, never mind, I just read the last comment, which was you, writing to say that you've decided to keep it, after all. (So I guess I was on the right track after all! Ha! :)

Steve and Jenn Fletcher said...

I just had this ridiculous urge to be wealthy so I could pay off all your debt, and you would never, ever have to contemplate selling such a treasure ever again.

Maybe someday?

Sugar said...

YAY! Glad we all love to should on you... hahaha...

I can't wait to hear you play it.


Gustav said...

Dear D'Arcy

Whatever you do, you should not sell it. Do an auction on EBAY and donate it to a charity rather than giving it away for almost nothing.

A measly $400 is unfair to the violin and you.

My vote is for keeping it for your future young children, and for the day when you are old and wise and want to play it again.

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

Gustav makes an excellent point! One day your children will play that violin, D'Arcy!! And perhaps one day your GRANDCHILDREN will play that violin.

Whew. I'm so glad that our collective hounding of you (pun intended... me and my dogs.... get it?.... sorry...) WORKED and you are not parting with such a treasure.

And I'm glad my email haunted you.
LOL. ;-)

Hey, It's Ansley said...

It looks like you have already resolved this but I just had to share that I agree, don't sell it! So many things we buy in life are just necessities but a few of them are treasures. This is a treasure. It's beautiful, useful, adds beauty, and makes you happy. Anything that offers all that has to be kept.

Before I started this travel nurse thing, I sold almost everything and shipped a few precious possessions home to my dad's. It's hard to say which things were my favorites but some were more irreplaceable. And I just found out that a small yellow plate, hand-painted with lemons that I bought in the south of France and carried in my backpack through Italy and back to the US, broke in shipment. I loved it! It's not as special as a violin but I cried. It represented that trip, it was so pretty, I hung it on the wall in my kitchen, used it to serve tomatoes and mozzarella or small lemon tarts, and smiled as people ate them and revealed the hand-painting. I know I could replace it, at least functionally, at Crate & Barrel but it's not the same.

So I'm probably not the right person to ask, but keep it!

Jenn said...

The Touch of the Master's Hand...that's what you reminded me of. I wouldn't sell something so sentimental! Eat beans and rice before you sell your memories!:P

I have a flute that I've had since 6th grade and don't ever plan on selling it, so I definately understand.

Good luck with the debt, though...that is a downer that I also understand very well unfortunately!

D'Arcy said...

Thanks everyone!!!

This turned out to be a much more sentimental post that I really planned on.

And yes, I am keeping the violin. And no, I won't even have to eat beans and rice (although they are great!)

And my education is something I will never feel bad about spending money on!!

Rowena said...

oh I hope you keep the violin.

I am recently recovered from my not at all relaxing vacation and roadtrip and I was reading over your entries that I missed. Keep the violin. 400$ isn't worth it.