Monday, December 28, 2009

It All Comes Back to Footwear

In the final scene of the Cheers series finale, resident barfly Cliff Clavin notes that the true secret of life is comfortable shoes. According to the mailman, “If you’re not wearing comfortable shoes, then life is just chaos.”

When I look back on 2009, I think Cliff might just be right.

After the first day at the Disney theme parks on our honeymoon back in November, my feet were ripped to shreds. I had packed my trusty Nike sneakers, so I was confused as to why my feet were hurting so bad (and not just my feet, but my knees and back were killing as well). By the end of the day, I felt like I was just standing in cement and couldn’t even walk. Since my Wife is a physical therapy assistant, she had me take off my shoes and checked out my feet. They were a shade of glowing pink and had become gnarly and bloody. There were blisters everywhere.

“There is absolutely no sole to the bottom of the shoes!” She exclaimed. “How long have you had them?”

“Um… since the Clinton administration?” I responded sheepishly.

“That’s it,” she said, “We’re getting you new shoes tomorrow.”

If you haven’t noticed over the past few months, I have a tendency to be selective about things, especially when it comes to clothing; so we both knew that this was not going to be an easy task. And (for an extra degree of difficulty) while I have nothing against the other brands of shoes I will only wear Nikes. That is the one random case where I am a brand snob. There's something simple yet profound about that swoosh that I just connect with and there's no way to argue with a slogan like "Just Do It". You just have to do it.

The next morning we found a Nike outlet shop close to our resort and I instantly saw the pair of shoes I wanted. It was uncanny how quickly I, Josh Mahler, was able to find something I actually liked.

Only one problem: it was the ONLY shoe there that they didn’t have in my size.


It’s not like I wear some rare size shoe either. I’m not a 5 and 3/8 or a 17 and 1/4 or something uncommon like that. Like I said, they had my size in every other shoe on every shelf in that store.

My Wife tried futilely to sell me on other shoes and we even checked out a couple other non-Nike stores.

There wasn’t a chance I was going to settle for anything else.

I could sense my Wife’s angst over another jean saga so I said we would just check out a couple of regular shoe stores for my shoe and if we didn’t find it, my feet would just have to suffer.

We found a giant shoe store just down the road and I could sense my shoe the moment we walked in. My Wife was legitimately surprised that in a store that big, I was somehow able to walk right to it.

And they had my shoes in my size.

I’ve noticed a common theme over the few months that I’ve had the opportunity to write in this space: I often seem to get myself lost on some twisted mission because I’m not able to settle for something less that is easy or temporarily more convenient.

I know that it’s probably stressful for those around me (and I honestly do feel bad about that), but I’m proud of that quality in myself and have seen that kind of mentality affect my entire life for the greater good this past year.

There were so many opportunities to settle for the easy or more convenient back east, but I knew that the better jeans, the better child’s train set, the better shoes, and the better life were somewhere else.

On December 27th of last year, I packed up my belongings and drove across the country to Denver, having no idea what to expect. I arrived here on the 30th and it blows my mind that I have lived here almost an entire year already.

I’ve often tried to imagine how life would have been different had I stayed in Virginia and I physically can’t comprehend it. I had to get outside of that comfort zone and sink or swim on my own.

And I’d like to think that I’m swimming just fine so far.

2009 felt like a very solid transitional, building year and I’m hoping to keep that momentum rolling into the new decade. I know you can’t predict the future but I’m starting to understand the concept of building the strongest foundation possible to put yourself in the best situation for success.

For the first time in my life I feel like I’m finally on the right road

And I have a good pair of shoes to get me there.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy start to 2010! Thanks for reading and I can't wait to see what we can get into next in the new year...

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