Thursday, March 29, 2012
If the Shoe Fits
Since Monday, when I read the post on MJ's personal blog (which you can read here), I've been thinking about the shoes in my life and it seems only fitting to explore the ideas that have been wandering through my head. MJ talked about the concept of walking in someone else's shoes to gain understanding and how that's not really possible. My brain went a different direction.
I got thinking about how shoes come and go. When old shoes wear out, I get new ones. New shoes generally need some breaking in, taking a bit of time before they feel really great and don't rub me wrong. And once they get to that point, I LOVE them. I love shoes that fit just right. Generally my shoes last a long time (even though I'm really hard on them, with all the hiking and running and climbing trees that I do), but eventually they wear out, becoming either uncomfortable or non functional, and the cycle begins again. I have some shoes (like my chacos) that have been around forever. Other shoes, like work shoes, don't last so long. Sometimes I get a pair of shoes that I try really hard to like because they are cool or something...but no matter how hard I try, they never reach that "comfortable" place.
Now maybe there are some holes in this metaphor (give me a break....it's midnight), and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it, but it seems to me that the shoes in my closet are a lot like the different things I've tried out in my life. Hear me out...
I once tried to be a teacher. I taught English, history, art and music to a bunch of 9th graders. I truly loved it in a lot of ways and could have continued doing it, but something about it didn't fit for me. Those "shoes" didn't quite fit, even though they looked damn good.
Another time I tried on the "engaged" shoes. There was nothing nice about those shoes. It was like I was wearing these awful heels (and any of you that know me well know I would never do this) that would look really great on a lot of people, but not me. I kept twisting my ankle and getting the heel stuck in every porous surface around. In the end, I got rid of those shoes seconds before I almost tripped over them and fell into an oncoming bus, narrowly escaping a nasty, nasty end.
I used to have a pair of shoes that lasted for a really, really long time, carrying me many places. These were my "religion" shoes. They were really comfortable for a really long time. But then I started to outgrow them and they felt more cramped and suffocating than anything else. It was time for a new pair.
For a long while I wore the "musician" shoes. Those shoes were awesome, and they, too, fit really well for a while. I could run faster and jump higher in those shoes, and everyone loved them. But again, they soon became uncomfortable. I still have them and can put them on if I get a hankering, but I don't wear them very often. Mostly they live in the closet with my instruments.
Sometimes things just fit. Sometimes something feels so right that you can't help but be excited about it. Sometimes I get new shoes that I love and I want to wear them all the time. Other times, I hate them. But just like shoes change, so do my life circumstances. If I tried to wear the same pair of shoes my entire life just because they were comfortable, refusing to change when I outgrew them, I would be left with nothing more than smelly feet and ingrown toenails.
So this is my reminder to myself this week: Things change, and that's okay. It's more than okay. It's awesome! If a shoe doesn't fit, I don't have to wear it. On the flip side, just because something feels right and fits really well at one point in my life doesn't mean it's always going to stay that way. And refusing to change your shoes...stinks (bahahaha!).
Love and growth and change (and new shoes) to all of you,