A few weeks ago, my oven broke. It came with the house where I have lived for seven and a half years now. The oven had been here much longer. And it had chugged along well enough for that time. I don’t know what the little gold knobs were supposed to do, one was a mysterious timer that would go off every few months at a time of its own choosing. I don’t know what it was timing. It must have been important because when it went off it was insistent and a nightmare to switch off. The other doesn’t seem to have a function. Most of the settings never worked, but it got hot and cooked things. And also, it was dark green, so you know, that’s nice.
I’ve spent the last seven and a half years thinking about getting a new one, maybe it would be nice to have a grill function, or to know exactly what temperature it’s on at, or to not be startled by the random ringing. But, it felt kind of wasteful to consider a new one, because ultimately it got hot and cooked things. And it was dark green.
When it finally broke, I contemplated getting it fixed. The fan still works. It probably just needs a new element. But the seal would have needed replacing too, and there would still be that high pitched noise to deal with… I gave in and bought a new oven.
The installation guys said ‘Wow, that is old!’ I was pleased to impress them with my ancient electric oven. It’s gone now. My new one has a light so you can see what’s happening in there, a special pizza setting and a digital timer. It is not dark green, but a standard, clinical silver. It has an impressive booklet to tell you which settings and shelves to use for particular foods including Viennese whirls.
I’m sorry for talking for so long about my oven. I’ve actually been talking about it for seven and a half years, so this is the short version. I can’t pretend that making this oven last til the last was ethically motivated and to avoid being a consumer of new shiny things. Honestly, I think I just have trouble letting go. It’s easier to stay with the status quo, it’s easier to carry on doing what I’ve always done. Even when it no longer serves. Jobs, people, activities, responsibilities – I’ll just cling on, keep going, even though I’m too tired and know that I want to stop. I’ll let go when circumstances force me to, not because I reach any insight or show compassion for myself. Attachment shows up in all sorts of ways, harmful ways, and some innocuous ways too (it was dark green).
Since my oven broke, I’ve made my peace with giving up a few things – responsibilities and roles I was starting to resent, and even relationships that have run their natural course. I know that I am making space for new things. Did I mention this one has a pizza setting?
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