Plaid Friday: life lessons from recent shoe shopping

In Oakland, we have Plaid – rather than Black – Friday. But no matter how it’s called, shopping and I have never been great friends. On a list of my top 10 favorite activities, shopping will come in a close 11th. I hate going and once there, often can’t remember why I ended up in an airless store with a full cart, standing in line with other, equally frustrated, strangers. And even my online ventures… consider my recent effort at getting new Puma shoes. I have two falling apart pairs I inherited from my kids (that’s how it works here -) and, I figured, it was time to get my own.
So I looked. And looked. And did my research. And clicked the ‘submit your order here’ button. Then waited. And waited. And waited. I looked forward to having them already for the next time I go dancing, walking, hiking…
Then the package arrived.
I opened it carefully, slowly unwrapping the crinkly white paper, barely containing my excitement. The smell of fresh shoes welcomed me. I took them out and looked at them, touching, feeling the soft leather. I fell in love immediately. Then I put my hand inside.
The arch seemed a little high, a little stiff, but then, that’s ok, isn’t it? New shoes, it’s always like this. I put my foot in, and tried to stand, my toe contesting. I tittered to the mirror and looked. They looked good. No. they really looked great. I turned sideways this way and that. An excellent fit. Inside, while the left foot was almost bearable, the right, protested louder now. But I figured, they’ll soften, won’t they? And anyway, I don’t have time for this now. I’ll deal with it later.
But later was the same.
Last night, I looked at them again. Then I opened my computer and googled the return policy. While doing so I was reminded of something I started writing, titled: everything I ever learned about life, I learned from buying shoes.
Here goes, and please note, this only a theory:
1. Contrary to advertisements and wide-spread FOMO, you don’t need to try the infinite number of options out there. Life’s too short for that. Find out who you are and what works for you. Make choices based on your comfort, your well-being. You’ll need your feet for a long time. Support yourself. Listen to yourself. Love yourself.
2. At the same time, dare to try something new every so often. Life is too short not to spread out your wings and flap a bit. Make some noise. Be alive. Don’t blend. You might be ridiculous, out there, “different”, so what. Celebrate who you are. Enjoy your journey.
3. No matter what, chances are, sometimes, you’ll fall. Or have blisters. You’ll be tempted to berate yourself… Don’t. No matter what, not everything will work out. Expect some failure (and no, not all failure is positive and it’s not possible to learn from all our mistakes).
4. Doubt is the greatest enemy of shoe shopping and so much more in life. It’s destructive and leads nowhere. Make your decisions, and move on with the rest of life. There’s lots more to do (if I can brace myself, I‘ll check out dresses and accessories -).
5. Don’t feel the need to travel through life caring everything you’ve ever bought. Once in awhile, go through your “closet” and get rid of some stuff. There might be “shoes” that were once in style and a good fit, and now are passé. Say good bye with appreciation. There’s life in the future too.
And now I’m off to returning my pumas.

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