Back in October, a friend came for a visit. She commented on the new running shoes I was wearing. Black with a white, a hot pink and a blue stripe that if I stare at too long, I see myself sitting on the beach with the sand between my toes, the ocean waves pounding and the magnificent sky stretching on and on with big white billowing clouds above. This is where if I were watching a movie, the soundtrack would make a noise like a vinyl record screeching to a halt and I would be brought back to reality, which right now is a cold and gloomy day in Ohio.
Okay, the running shoes. I haven’t actually ran in them yet, but it gives me a great sense of comfort and glee to know, one day I am going to, yes, one day. We start talking about her shoes and she confesses that they are a size too small. Her knees hurt; her hip bothers her. Off to the running store we went for a fitting and she found a pair of shoes that slid on like Cinderella’s slipper after the ball. She wears them everywhere; I think she secretly sleeps in them sometimes. I can’t really judge her that her shoes were too tight; after all, I went up a whole shoe size when I bought my new pair. Months earlier, the same, kind, saleswoman let me know the minute my foot landed on the metal measurement device that my existing shoes were too tight. I imagine there are legions of women out there who torture their little piggies right along with us.
Why do we do this? Pure and simple vanity. We both couldn’t believe our feet had gone up a size as we aged. We were holding on to some belief, some conviction, some ideal of ourselves and yes, probably our youth was mixed up somewhere in the mess of our tight shoes and loose laces.
We do that in life, I think. Hold on to situations, people, appearances too tightly. Somehow, admitting we have changed or they have changed, or life has changed, is admitting some sort of defeat. We find ourselves living life for just the appearance of it all and not wanting to admit or embrace that the journey changes us and sometimes our circumstances. Sometimes, we hang on tight for dear life, choking the circulation, the blood-pumping life out of everything. We fight the change, the growth, the opportunity to stretch out, spread out and wiggle our toes. We miss the chance to make the journey more comfortable, fresh, new, and exciting! We stop noticing if the shoes we are running in really fit.
I am so glad I got a new pair. Life really is too short to wear tight shoes.