Some people seem destined for certain careers and occupations. They’re somehow born knowing what they want to do until they die or retire. For them, instead of a place to hang out with friends or an escape from the drama at home, school is a road to their dreams. No wonder they did so well.
I was never one of those people. Uncertainty dominated my extended adolescence–a stage ending somewhere in my late twenties. I tried on various jobs and college majors like Imelda Marcos in a shoe store. I’d wear my new selection around to check the fit, eventually tossing it onto the ever growing heap of rejects that littered my resume.
Settling on a field of study for my four-year degree took five years and offered no clue to my destiny. My undergraduate major fit perfectly for reasons that had nothing to do with life after college. It provided the shortest path to graduation with the hours I’d earned chasing multiple majors. Graduate, then worry about what to do with the degree.
Walking around with an end in sight felt good. I liked it. I liked it a lot. Damn these shoes are comfortable! I looked closer at my comfy new shoes and found more to like. The field of study didn’t dictate a specific job, like becoming a teacher, doctor, or accountant. But it was interesting and would be useful in my life no matter what I ended up doing. Comfy, functional, and goes with everything. Sold. I even sprung for the upgrade–a lovely M.S. degree.
I see your admiring eyes. Everything about these beautiful old shoes was customized just for me. Over nearly three decades, they have served me well, growing in comfort, functionality, and beauty. The patina of age and the one-of-a-kind accessories I’ve added over the years have turned comfy and functional into something beautiful and unique that reflects who I am and what I’m about. It took me a while, but I ended up with the right shoes where I’m supposed to be.
Now A new pair of shoes has caught my eye. I wasn’t looking, I swear. Didn’t need them. I adore my comfy, functional, antique shoes. But this flashy new pair called to me, “Try me on. C’mon. Dump those antiques for something you know you’ve always wanted. You’ll never know until you try.”
I resisted. I walked right past those shoes without even glancing at them. But I knew they were there. And at night, I imagined myself wearing them. Ever so often, I’d work up the nerve to try them on. They weren’t the least bit comfortable, but man, wearing them sure did make me feel good. I was hooked. I had to have them for my own.
They hurt my feet, make my legs ache and my calves scream, and haunt me whether I’m asleep or awake. I don’t care. I love them. I’ve borrowed the pair I wear so often they’re starting to fit a little better. Wearing them feels more natural and less like I’m playing dress-up. I wear my writer’s shoes every chance I get.
They’re still not mine, but I want them more than I’ve wanted anything for a very long time. I don’t care how much pain and suffering I have to endure. Daddy wants a new pair of shoes. And one day, unless I’m wearing them, you’ll find a pair in the closet here in…
My Glass House