Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Out With the Old, In With the New: A Couch Story

I recently moved into a new apartment. Almost as soon as the lease was signed, I began to plan its interior design to the point that I considered pitching myself to HGTV for an interior design show because, you know, there really aren’t enough of those already. I’m only partially kidding. The only thing holding me back from this endeavor was the fact that I know next to nothing (and less) about interior design. That being said, I am convinced that my interior style, termed by others as “tacky” and “confusing” (thanks, Mom), will one day be “in”. This generation just isn’t ready to combine Moroccan with Country French, which, according to my aunt, is exactly what I’ve done in my apartment.

First on my list of things to get was a couch. The couch I had been using had been in my parents’ first home, before they gave it to an uncle, who passed it on to another relative, and so on. It was eventually bestowed upon my brother when he was in college. He gave it to my sister. She gave it to me. It spent its off years in storage units, in the depths of dark basements, and in the far corner of the garage with the rest of the junk, which we intend to eventually organize…eventually (when we get around to it). Always, however, the couch has managed to find its way into the heart (and seat, I guess) of a new owner.

Being the most recent inheritor of the couch, I found that I’d grown especially fond of it. Although I’d disguised its bright blue and green plaid upholstery with an ill-fitting slipcover, the equivalence of a paper bag for unsightly furniture, I've always appreciated its history. In a family without a specific heirloom (unless a sweet tooth counts), this couch seems to have lived and grown with my family from the very beginning. It is the couch that has been used in “first apartments” and “first homes”. Although seemingly a placeholder for a new and improved couch, it actually represents the start of something new, of new beginnings, of a new life. Not to mention the fact that the cushions have been worn down to perfection; it has never refused me the perfect nap, nor I it.

These clearly over-sentimental feelings for a couch caused me to be torn in the weeks before my move, when relatives and friends asked which couch I was taking. When I told them, reactions varied, if by “varied” I mean that everyone was really against it. They all feared what my new neighbors would think of me if they saw an old couch with a broken armrest; the word “weird” was thrown around a little too loosely. It took some convincing, and the promise of frozen yogurt, but after one trip to the furniture store, I decided to buy a new couch. It was beige, with a fun, colorful trim and came with a trendy ottoman, and don't even get me started on how fluffy the cushions were; I was too stubborn to admit it, but it was love at first sit.

The long-winded point that I’m trying to make is that sometimes, a lot of the time, change is good. My old couch worked for me. It was, in the most basic sense of the word, comfortable. The same can be said when marketing a business. You may use the school of thought “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, when what you should really be thinking is, “If it ain’t broke, fix it before it is.” This may sound like a cynical approach, but the truth is that things change quickly. What attracts people to your company one day could bore or even go unnoticed by them the next. My old couch, for instance, is the perfect exemplification of the past. It worked, sure, but, to be truthful, the cushions had been worn to near flatness, and the slipcover didn’t even fit, causing glimpses of faded plaid to peek through. I opted for change and embraced a new idea, and everything has been better because of it, especially naps (I mean, metaphors aside, I am still talking about a couch). Creativity, uniqueness, and ability to change are the triad to success.

That being said, even though I got a new couch, I didn’t set the other one on fire, or send it to a black hole in space, never to be seen again. I left it at my parents’ house, where it first began its journey, to come full circle in its life because, just like everything else, it has a cycle and may just reemerge again when the new stuff becomes outdated.

-Hayley Lyons

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