Posted by: Natalie | May 11, 2010

£15 Million Dilemma

I keep having the same dream recently. Its only a short one, almost a snippet in amongst other bizarre creations of my night time imaginings. But, it leaves me pondering.

I am stood either in my living room or in the garden in full sunshine, when a suited woman approaches me. She is in a dark pinstriped skirt suit, green blouse and smart shoes. Her hair is blonde and clipped back with a shell like fastening. I can’t make out her face but I know it is harsh; sharp and angular. I suspect cold blue eyes lurk beneath the haze through which I can’t quite see. She holds in her hand a brief case. She doesn’t speak but I know what she wants as I look around me slightly teary eyed. The woman wants to buy my house. But not just the house. She is offering £15 Million EACH to just walk away from my house, right there on the spot. That would be £30 million for Steve and I to abandon everything we own, to get in the car and simply leave everything as it is. I don’t know why she offers this and I don’t know who she is, but something in the dream does not sit well. Her empty faceless stare unsettles me, as do her unknown objectives on my life. I never answer. The dream changes or I wake up.

But it has made me really think, even for £15 Million, would I just be able to walk away? The over riding thought when I wake is, “What about Wrinkles?!” Now this is not a concern about how I am ageing, no no. Wrinkles is my absolute favourite stuffed toy from being a child. You may not remember these puppet dogs created by the Ganz Brothers in the 80’s, but I have one. She is missing her bone but still dons her satin knickers, purple flowery dress and floppy ear bows. She has spent almost every night of my life either on or next to my bed. When my Grandma died last November, on arriving home I realised I had packed (inadvertently) this childhood comfort toy to look after me in my time of grief. No amount of money could replace the connection I have with this childhood favourite, even if it is only a toy and even if (according to Steve) it is ugly!

It slightly disturbs me that this item is the first that pops into my head! It also disturbs me that I would potentially shun the promise of instant millions in order to keep this doll. (Understand, the deal silently set by the dream woman would be void should I attempt to take ANY item from the house other than my car keys.) But then other things start creeping into my mind; my late Grandmother’s shawl and photos, my Grandfather’s family war medals and pocket watches, my writing, my photo albums. This is probably all there is in my house that I could not replace again with the millions that would be in my bank account. But these are also the things that would be the sticking point. I’m not entirely convinced I would be able to take the money. I am not sure I would be able to give up on these items, these pieces of my life and history that I treasure.

It seems ridiculous that I could give up on a life of plenty for so little. Hell, it sounds ridiculous that I am even contemplating the issue as a viable reality! But what would you do? If the strange, blonde, hard business woman approached you and offered each member of your household £15 million on the spot to abandon all that you know, could you do it? Could you walk away from a life that you have moulded so carefully to you? Could you allow some stranger to slip into your world as if putting on a new pair of shoes? Could you leave those items of sentiment that have meant enough to be cherished through past into present? The answers to these questions intrigue me further, because what do they say about you as a person? What does it say about me?!

I think I need to stop pondering this redundant issue as it is distracting me into a place which is not conducive to writing! But I would be interested to know which path you would choose. What one item would tempt you into keeping your life as you know it? Or, would you take the £15 million and start again? I suspect girls may have a very different take on this issue than boys, but I may be wrong.

For now, I believe I would turn the money down. I know it would make my life eternally easier – I could write forever and a day without worrying about how I could fund it – but it is not the be all and end all. To me life is about so many more layers. It is not just simply the possessions you own, but how you fit into the grand turning cogs of history. It is only with these items of sentimentality that you can live eternally, that your present can be carried, by others, into the future. But its also about emotion. We can too rapidly loose and forget feelings and thoughts about those who have passed before us. Only with small tokens of their lives can we hang onto the happiness and comfort those people gave us. It is for this love and reason I could not walk away. So many memories are locked in these items. I worry that without them I would forget, and with it those happy thoughts would fail to exist.

What I guess I am really saying is, to me, sentiment is a big deal. It gives me a sense of place in the universe and a sense of being. I know many would think I am soppy and a little pathetic, but I don’t care. No amount of money in the world could change who I am and how I feel about my world. It is mine. It is loved. It is priceless.

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