Smitten: the Estate Sale Score.

Cheryl Leutjen
2 min readDec 13, 2021

How a writing desk at an estate sale convinced me to slow down.

Antique oak writing desk with green felt writing surface.

Smitten. That’s how I felt when I first saw this little vintage writing desk at an estate sale. The history it must hold! The stories it could tell! The testaments to passion it has witnessed! I got teary just imagining.

Do I need another desk? No. Do I lack for home furnishings in any way? Definitely not.

And yet….I kept circling it, the way I might hone in on a cheese plate when feeling a bit peckish. I asked the price, hoping it would be in the bazillions. It wasn’t. Has it already been sold, perhaps by someone who hasn’t yet claimed it? Nope.

I stared at the Venmo code, undecided, until my husband said, “we’ll take both the desks.” Because he’d been smitten by a little writing desk of his own. Of course. How could we think to separate them?

I’m not much for writing by hand. I’m too impatient. I need to type at top speed before the inner critic has time to squelch my inspiration. But now I feel this little desk is urging me to something slower, more intentional. Not quite ready to dip a quill into the inkwell, but I have a set of gel pens and a variety of journals, just waiting for me to sit, muse, and simply write.

If there’s anything the COVID-19 pandemic has taught me, it’s the sheer joy of slowing down. Let me rephrase that. Of allowing myself to enjoy slowing down. Letting go of feeling guilty every time I walk by a sink full of dirty dishes, to plop onto the couch for another episode (or ten) of Kimmie Schmidt. I have no idea what happens at the end of life, but I’m betting, hoping and praying it’s not a scorecard based on the number of dishes I washed.

This holiday season has been tempting me back into my usual wing-flapping flurry of activity. Untangle the lights! Put up the tree! Bake six dozen cookies for the exchange! Send out cards! Invite the neighbors for nog!

Not that I find any of those things terribly taxing or onerous. I relish a holiday season wrapped in family traditions and decorated with snowflakes crocheted by my Grandmother. I just don’t need to make myself crazy to hurry up and get it all done, checking off my list as if the holidays were some kind of race-to-the-finish.

This vintage desk seems the very validation I’d been seeking. Slowing down for the sheer joy of slowing down is essential therapy, it assures me. Inner critic just needs needs to learn to STFU as I figure out how this slower pace of writing goes….



Cheryl Leutjen

Teetering on a tightrope between more conscientious living and eco-madness, I write about responding to the challenges of our time with heart, hope, and humor.