When I was a kid and wanted some new toy that my mother wouldn’t get for me, I probably pouted and stomped my feet for a bit. But, I didn’t let the fact I wasn’t getting my way stop me from getting what I wanted. I simply got creative.
I recall one time that I really wanted a desk for my room, but couldn’t convince my mother to buy one for me (in her view the kitchen table was a perfectly acceptable workspace). Not getting my way simply made me more determined to get what I wanted, so everyday I walk to and from school my radar was up for an opportunity to get a desk.
Not getting your way?
Finally, on day walk home from school I saw someone had thrown away an old console television. It was made of a wood (probably oak) and it was just sitting at the curb waiting for the trash guy to come pick it up the next day. I decided that if I took this home the top of the set would make a great desk, and if I removed the picture tube it could become a shelf for all my drawing materials (I had big plans for being a comicbook artist). The trick became how to get it home.
This wasn’t the lightweight flatscreen television you probably have int your home, it’s more like the one youe grandparents probably had in their living room. It was the size of a desk, made from a wood frame, and still had the picture tube in it. The thing had to weigh 50-75 lbs. and I had to figure out how to carry it home. I couldn’t pick it up and carry it and I was too young to know anyone with a car — at least anyone who wasn’t my mom — and I certainly wasn’t going to ask her since she already said No to my dreams of having my own desk.
The only solution I could come up with was to walk it home by rocking left-side forward like it was taking a step with a left leg, and then swing the right-side forward just like a right leg taking a step forward.
I did that all the way home (probably 4-5 blocks and across at least one busy intersection).
When I got it home I spent hours trying to figure out how to remove the picture tube and all the guts of the television, then lugged the heavy screen out to our own curb to await tomorrow’s trash pick-up (yeah, I know — not allowed to dispose of picture tubes that way anymore — but it was a different time) and then proceeded to setup all my art supplies on my awesome new drawing table. I had plenty of space to store paper in the cavity left by the screen, and a large surface for laying out my color pencils, water color trays, markers, and crayons.
When I was finished, my pride in the effort and the outcome had me bragging to my mother about my new desk and pleading with her to come and take a look. She asked me where I got it and how I got it home, and I relayed my story. Once she was convinced I hadn’t stolen a television or invited a random stranger with a van to drive me home with it, she just sort of smiled and left me to my work. She may have even asked me to draw her something.
I had that “desk” in my room for at least a couple of years and I think I liked it better than a normal work table because I worked harder for it. Not getting what I wanted forced me to be more creative in order to accomplish my goal of getting a desk. It made me think of an alternate solution that would still provide me with the end result I wanted.
Come to think of it — I may have even invented upcycling along the way…