Monday, May 22, 2017

The Ongoing Opportunity of Aging

The sandy beach is the ultimate barefoot experience.  Once the sun is high the sand is exquisitely hot.  You dance over it to the water's edge, where the packed sand is hard and cold. You can walk along the beach there, the cool tide washing over your toes, head and shoulders hot from the sun.

Going barefoot around the house is pretty good, too.  We keep our house predictable so nobody falls, no loose Legos here. The Roomba cleans the carpet every day at its appointed time and tends to shove stray toy mousies underneath the buffet.

I walk around in my slipper socks in the morning, believing that barefoot walking is good for the feet. But then it's shoes, aathletic shoes with good support and my custom insoles in them. These stopped the old bones in my feet from getting stress fractures.  Stress fractures are really painful, and the treatment of them is painful too.  Walking in a soft cast and boot stresses an old body in all sorts of places, so now those places hurt.

Those fractures started happening about fifteen years ago, when I was sixty.  The first one was caused by a day in gray lizard flats that were perfect with my silk dress, but tight.  Uncomfortable.  The fracture didn't happen until the next morning.  It hurts to even remember the shocking pain.  I didn't want to ever wear those flats again, and a number of high-heeled shoes went to the thrift store with them.  Last to go were red pumps with three-inch heels.  You know.

Buddhism likes to say that your problems are your path.  My foot problems were indeed an opportunity to work through that little element of vanity, and that funny thing about having lots of cool shoes that some of us have.  Shoes as a symbol of who you are, like the huaraches I loved when I was in college.  Mine were natural leather, not a muted red like these.  I loved them, would have loved these, too.

I can't even wear sandals now, they feel too precarious, and I've had some life-changing falls, so I don't take chances. I do have a pair of black lace-up shoes like dance oxfords, for occasions in which athletic shoes would be disrespectful.  When I wear them I miss the support of my athletic shoes.

Shoes were an instance of desire in my life.  Any little occasion of desire can be something to contemplate, an ego thing.  I had a thing about dressing well, too. That's another story. And a thing about not being a little old lady in tennis shoes.  The "little old" part is because the spine collapses with arthritis.  I'm still upright though and walking unassisted in the house, using a cane outside just to be sure. There are thousands of cute canes online, most of them only $20 or $30, cheaper than good shoes.  You can have a whole cane wardrobe if it tickles you, sequined canes, canes with birds or flowers printed on them, canes that go with your outfit, that's if you want something to collect besides shoes.




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