Thursday, July 24, 2014

Infamous Footwear

So here's a story.  For almost three years, I wore the same shoes.  The laces had changed a few times, and I guess you could even say the shoes had changed.  They had been filled with love, feet, socks, and powder.  They saw the same miles I did; they stared down the same storms I walked through.  They were a companion to me. 

They weren't just footwear, they were my gospel.

Alright. Fine - I was just replacing the shoes at frequent intervals with another pair of the same make and model.  That was, until this past Friday when, in a bout of #DONE, I bought new shoes.  The hashtag and all caps implying a tween-eque emphasis which BUI (Bold, Underline, and Italics) and all capital letters can't capture quite as well on its own.  Of course...

They're fine shoes, serviceable items of footwear, albeit needing to be broken in.  A pair of canvas loafers for boring things, and some knockoff take on the Nike FreeRunner.  And they both fit like cardboard hot glued to rubber, and sprayed down in the oil of a beaver's anus.

I started wearing my old shoes while I worked retail (for the record, Nike Lunarglides).  Nine-plus hours a day on my feet, on top of repeated leg injuries, required a comfortable, supportive, and squishy ride.  For the uninitiated, to that point I had repeated ankle and tendon injury, to which I've added the joy of a stress fracture since.  Through these recoveries, I had the same shoes.  Wide base to correct any pronation.  Medium arch support.  Enough shock absorption to make a Clydesdale runner like myself feel like Cloud Nine came down and tied around my feet.  Solid grip to keep my feet from flying out from under me.  They were light, breathable, and comfortable as all hell.  The only problem being the biggest - they weren't cheap, and the fit gave out after 300 miles of use.

I switched shoes on a whim.  Well, I was frustrated that a lot of the old aches and pains worked their way back in.  The most recent round was pushing 500 miles of use, so it's not an actual surprise, just... laziness.  I was elated at first.  These new shoes were easy to find, buy, and they looked great.  Sure, my foot settled a little differently, and they didn't have the arch support, and the kind-of floated across surfaces without any traction, and they weren't as squishy....

Oh god... what have I done?!

See: I didn't even think about it.  Three years of exactly the same thing, and I forgot why I started wearing them in the first place.  I was not only complacent - I was belligerent with my footwear.  I didn't stop to think about all the choices that led me to why I was wearing that particular make and model, and I allowed a single moment - in a passing fancy - to undermine three years’ worth of orthopedic upkeep.

I was so used to things being the way they were, that I forgot why I set my life on that course to begin with.  I set myself up on a course, and carried through with it so easily, and for so many years.  After a while, I was so far from the point of origination, that I no longer remembered what I was in this for to begin with.

I'm fortunate that my complacency was as trivial as footwear, but I'm grateful for life's reminder of this very serious lesson: failure to use the past to make future decisions will only cause history to repeat. Oh, and something about complacency, not caring about things, yadda yadda yadda (I kid, I kid).  It's nice to have that little stick in the ribs every now and then - things that help you to wake up, look around, and realize that things are, for the most part, exactly how we set them out to be.  Focus on making things better, with the awareness of the past that led to them.  Understand that the choices made to get to today, are the results of years-worth of planning and focus.  Remember along the way the things that propel you into that future, without letting them drag you down.

Oh, and that a trip to Payless could utterly destroy you (not really). 

(But really).

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