My boyfriend collected coins as a young boy. He selected prized pieces for his collection using a rather novel approach; Coins with a picture of a buffalo, or an owl, or any other animal were held in high esteem and valued more than coins with pictures of bridges, or presidents, or any other thing.
Recently, his coin collection came up in conversation. Since it had been missing for quite some time, he speculated that the collection had been stolen. The last time he could remember seeing any of the coins was before his parents' move a few years back.
His conjecture continued. It involved someone in connection with the movers, a thief or thieves out to make a quick buck. Worse yet, whoever took the coins obviously didn't realize their true value was sentimental. What a waste!
Imagining this one out of a myriad of possible scenarios, my boyfriend grew visibly agitated. "I loved that coin collection," he went on. "And I'm sure half of them ended up as rejects at a Coinstar machine."
This is where I get annoying. But I strongly believe that if we don't know for certain what happened in a given situation, why gravitate toward a made-up scenario that makes us upset?
I offered up alternatives for my boyfriend to imagine.
Recently, during a trip home for Christmas, my wallet and I parted ways. Though I normally don't carry much cash on me, on this particular occasion I had fifteen $20 bills, two $25 Chili gift cards, one $50 Best Buy gift card, and one $50 Visa gift card stuffed into my bill fold. Needless to say, the loss was a bit of a bummer.
Instead of envisioning some slimy thief pocketing my belongings, I intentionally imagined some little kid receiving a gift they might not have received if their down-on-their-luck parent hadn't run into such a windfall or some over-tired, under-paid, poor soul buying themselves the new business outfit they needed to apply for a better job. I also played around with the idea of "loss". Perhaps I would have spent what had been in my wallet at a Casino and on a nice meal with my family. Either way, what I had originally intended to do with that money would have been no less fleeting than what actually happened to it.
Maybe during the move, a small box bounced out of the moving truck and onto the sidewalk, where it was discovered by some young boy walking home from school. Maybe this kid had been having a rough year. Maybe this kid loves animals too, and when he opened the box to discover the coin collection, he felt like the luckiest kid ever. Maybe he let the local police department know, and after the specified waiting period, he was told he could keep what he had found. Maybe sometimes he looks through the coins, imagines who it was that put such a neat collection together, and quietly says "Thank You".