Old Shoes, New Eyes

Yes, I am quoting my old rowing coach again.

We used to get this speech about having new eyes. Like if you had a car accident and narrowly escaped losing your life you would have a new outlook on life. You’d probably start eating better, exercise, spend more time with your family and in general lead the life you envision.

And this would last for a few weeks. Maybe months if you were lucky. And then you’d slow down on things, get caught up with work stuff, watch more tv, pick up your ice cream habit, stay up late watching the guy in his underwear and sleep in and miss your gym time.

New eyes for a high performance athlete were about taking every workout, every minute and kilometer of it, as a chance to improve. It was about not phoning it in or just getting the mileage in. It was about being mindful and present.

It’s hard to keep your new eyes. It’s hard to create a good habit when there are so many chances not too. When the baked goods at Bean Around the World are so delicious and running in the rain with a jogging stroller sounds exhausting (until you actually finish the run, then it is exhilarating). When it would be great to tune out and watch another episode of Till Debt Do Us Part instead of putting away that laundry and then singing songs you learned at the library to your son. But it’s so nice to have the laundry out of view and your son giggles so sweetly when you toss him in the air and tell him he is a rocket ship.

New eyes are hard to maintain. I’ve been working on it a lot this year. So has my husband. We’re seeing progress every day: more books, less tv, more running, less couch time, more family time, less busy time, more meals made at home, less calling out for Thai food. Slow progress is sustainable progress.

It’s not only a near death experience that will give you new eyes. So will life transition.

C had a baby almost a year ago and is about to rejoin the workforce. Life events like these wreak havoc on your wardrobe needs (and sleep!) and C invited me over for an afternoon of wardrobe refinement. Initially she wanted to focus on everything but spying three huge boxes of shoes in her closet I suggested we start with just footwear.

65 pairs of shoes

First, let me just say that the afternoon brought out my jealous side. C has some pretty great shoes. Polka dot heels with red patent straps. The perfect black leather booties. Good stuff. Good stuff that I can’t even think about because I wear an 11 (okay, 11.5 and often cram my foot into 11s). And there is nothing good in an 11. The Tall Girl stores carry larger sizes but the footwear is basic at best. No polka dots. Sigh. I guess I was meant to be a minimalist when it comes to footwear.

16 pairs of boots

While the total of pairs of shoes was impressive I was really blown away by how many pairs of boots she had. 16. Look closely, purple faux croc boots up there, never worn. Bought on sale. Look fabulous but hurt too much to go anywhere in.

The edit criteria was a) do they hurt too much to wear and b) will C wear them in her regular or occasional shoe rotation. C isn’t looking to win a 100 things challenge, just gain some closet space, but I thought she did a great job cutting her collection in half. 33 pairs remain and eight of them are boots.

And then there was 33...

There was a lot of ‘these were so expensive’  and ‘I love these but they hurt’ before C tossed shoes into a consignment/donation pile. Halving your shoe collection is pretty serious to most women and I give big props. It was inspiring to watch. Like if Crystal Gale got a bob.

32 pairs of shoes for donation/consignment

After taking most of her shoes to the donation bin, one bag left for consignment, C says she feels good, no regrets.

Probably out of shoe jealousy, I made her wear her awesome cream heels to the park with the kids. She looked great. And in a moderate heel you can still help an almost walking one year-old get around.

Good job, C! Now keep your new eyes on when (because I know you will) you next go shoe shopping.

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