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Thursday, 13 December 2007

What Did You Give Up?

By Mage Bailey of Day Tripper

You know Ronni Bennett. She’s the blogger who writes about elders and blogging and how the world out there in the ether applies to us. One day, she hit me in the familiar bone when she asked in her blog, What have you stopped doing in your old age?

I was reading along, nodding even though I still do some items that she has on her list. I hurry, for instance. I weigh myself. Morbidly obese folks like me do this when they think they are dieting. Some items I gave up long ago for a different reason than she lists - little music here because of my tintinitus. Ringing is ringing any way I hear it.

Some things I’ve given up aren’t on her list. I don’t drive at night any more because I have multiple vision. Which one of those six sets of taillights do you want me to hit?

So I was smiling and skimming along until she mentioned shoes. My light bulb went on. I more than identified with giving up shoes. A few years ago, I bought a pair of black, patent leather, DKNY three-inch high heels at Nordie’s Rack - on sale, mind you, and in size 11. At an astronomical price too. Even then, I didn’t have much padding on my feet, and I knew when I bought these stunning shoes that they would be my last pair of three-inch heels ever. I mourned as I paid for them.

I’ve never been a beauty. In fact, I always thought of myself as an ugly duckling. But my legs were good. Long too. I knew my hips were wide, my nose a ball on my face, and my stomach preceded me, but those long legs were my attention getter every time as a young and sexy woman. Add a pair of three-inch heels, and I towered well over six feet in my vanity.

In 2000, after a year of surgery to remove plantar warts, I finally became aware that heels of any sort didn’t make it for me any more.

After bypass surgery, I found out that you have to have blood flow to keep the fat pad on the bottom of a foot. Soft squishy shoes were now number one on my list of life’s happiest purchases. Pain free feet were my main focus in my life. As my feet grew less padded, their dimensions began to intrude on my reality. I used to wear a size 8 ½. Slowly over the years the size and widths expanded until one day I found myself buying a size 11. Shoes that fit my requirements weren’t just hard to find; they now were impossible to find.

As I began to search, I discovered that low cost size elevens do exist, but not comfortable ones. I even found size elevens at Target but, boy do they leave me not smiling. You gotta have happy feet. Mid-priced size eleven shoes do exist. Some actually fit and are comfortable, if there are any left in the store.

The search for a comfortable pair of shoes at a price that an old, obese security guard can afford is continuous. If you find a pair, you buy them. Your wardrobe is styled around your shoes.

Every one of us big-footed are always on the lookout for stylish black size elevens and now, with brown being the new black, we look for brown shoes of any sort too. I’ve often discovered someone else grabbing the perfect pair just as I was rounding the aisle into the size elevens at Nordie’s Rack.

I own stripy tennies only because they fit. I’m also the new owner of purple, suede, pointy-toed flats just because they were comfortable. I confess that I bought a fuzzy purple sweater to match just so I could wear those shoes. I buy sandals without backs so I can wear size ten, or even nine-and-a-half's with my heel hanging out the back. Start a new style with that.

Now here I am with my long pants hiding my pressure stockings and my sensible shoes on my growing feet. Have I become that little old lady who used to live next door? Not me. I’m the elder security officer who lost her voice yelling at drunks and food service workers at the last ball game while wearing her comfortable shoes. I only swore once. It’s much more fun than sitting home and rocking in your porch swing, let me tell you.

So what have you given up lately?

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


I love the way you write.It's clear and to the point.

What have I given up? Turtleneck sweaters. I used to think I looked real nice in a turtleneck, and I guess I did when I only had one chin. Now I have to put a bookmark in my chins to find out where my necklace goes.

About shoes... I wear a seven, but an eight feels so good I buy a Nine....

Mage, I have a friend who is constantly in search of glamorous but comfortable shoes. She says there are such things and I've taken a look at a few of her pairs of shoes and they do seem to be a few that have a bit of both. Your purple, suede, pointy-toed flats sound as if they might be too.

I am with you on that one, Mage. I, too, bought a pair of heels in a weak moment 3 years ago, never giving a thought to the plantar warts and fascitis that plague me. I have worn those shoes a total of once. Had anyone told me I would be wearing something as ugly as Crocs years ago, I would have sworn never -but guess what? They are more than comfortable and they have ruined me for almost anything else.

Interesting and novel take on your foot and shoe situation. Beauty and comfort often go hand-in-hand for me, especially where my feet are concerned, now that I'm older and wiser.

Shoes are my constant dilemma, too. I have double wide feet, so if I find a pair that are comfortable and cute (very rare) I buy them in every color, and maybe two pairs of black. I have given numerous pairs of cute and uncomfortable shoes to my daughters, and always envy their ability to wear them.

Thanks for posting this Ronnie. And thank you all for your notes. How delightful they are, and how flat out nice to meet you all.

Ah ... the things I have given up ... and the things I have taken up. Grandma Shoes are what I wear now ... About once year I go on a kick and try on something with a bit of a heel. It feels okay in the store so I think it will feel okay out of the store. My daughter in law wears the same sized shoe ... so she always ends up with the nice ones I can't wear.

I can't ride a bike ... Hubby and I bought nice schwin mountain bikes a few years back ... I tried to ride it. The seat, even the one with extra padding, gave my tailbone and my hemrroids a miserable time ... still I tried ... the darned pedals had these loopy things that you stick your feet through. The last time I rode the bike I came to a complete stop and went to put my foot down on the ground but forgot it was stick in the loop thing. I darned near killed myself in my own driveway. We gave our bikes to our son and his new wife when they got married and they are getting a lot of use out of them.

I no longer sleep without much on. It's too darned scary to catch sight of myself in the mirror at night when I'm not quite awake.

I loved your post!

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