What Rumi Taught Me About Buying Books
If there's one thing I know about human nature, it's that people love to impose arbitrary rules on their lives. Sometimes we just can't help it. For reasons I can't logically explain, I worked within the confines of some arbitrary rules to get ahold of Stardust by Neil Gaiman.
I had seen the movie long before I knew it was a book--shocking, I know--and from the minute I found out there was a book version, I added it to my "books to look for at the thrift store" list. After all, as a broke high schooler, that was where I got all my books then.
Weeks turned to months, which turned into years and still no sign of Stardust at the thrift store. I kept thinking, it'll turn up... about the time I give up looking it'll land right in my lap. I was convinced that I'd been looking for so long--over 5 years--that probability had to be in my favor by now.
Sure, I could've gone into a bookstore and asked for a copy. I could've gotten online and ordered it. But by the time I'd been out of college a few months, it was a game. I'd been looking for a cheap copy of this book for so long that I wouldn't let myself take the easy way out. Besides, a book nerd is never without things to read, so I wasn't in any particular rush.
At one point, while in my favorite indie bookstore, I'd broken down and sought a copy... only to learn they were out. I took that as a sign that my search for the book at the thrift store was not in vain. I resolved not to look in traditional stores, convinced that my destiny was to find Stardust at a thrift store. At. A. Thrift. Store.
Believe me when I tell you that I am fully aware of how little sense this made. There was no logical basis for my absurd quest. None. It was a mental game I couldn't stop playing with myself.
About the time I gave up, which wasn't too long ago my boss posted a Rumi quote on Facebook: "What you seek is seeking you." I figured it had something to do with the energy you put out into the world or something. I found the quote intriguing, but I didn't expect it to have a literal manifestation.
A little while later, I was at a used bookstore and what do you know! I see Stardust! A used bookstore isn't quite the same as the thrift store, but it's pretty close, right?
And not a month after that, I'm driving home one Saturday and notice a neighbor is having a yard sale. Lo and behold, I find a first edition hardcover of Stardust!
In total, this saga went on about 6 years. So I guess the moral of the story is that if you're going to make crazy bets with yourself, you might as well go full on because EVENTUALLY what you seek will find you.