Guest blog post by Bernie Kirwan
Pam Ayers wrote a poem many moons ago called “I wish I’d looked after me teeth”. It came to mind recently but I substituted the word teeth with feet because you see I wish I had looked after “me feet” a bit better! As summer approaches I face my usual dilemma of no longer being able to hide my feet in my snug winter boots. You see, on a bad day, I look sorrowfully at my poor 58-year-old size 8’s. I see knobbly bits, crooked slightly overlapping toes and toenails that look a bit wonky. Years of squeezing my size eights into the flimsy sandals of the eighties [that’s a story in itself!!] have taken their toll. Years of wearing hand me down shoes as the youngest child has truly left its mark, especially when my older siblings had much smaller feet. My sisters being a very modest size 4, and 5, as adults.
So, it’s nearly that time of year again. No open toe sandals or gorgeous sparkly flip flops always closed sandals and shoes for me. I look longingly at women feet as I wander about, [my friends think I’m developing a foot fetish!] I see beautifully manicured perfection everywhere. Nails painted in shimmering colours displayed for all to see, in gorgeous creative and imaginative footwear ,ohh my envy is palpable. “Youth is really wasted on the young,” I think.
When summer draws to a close and my socks and boots beckon me I’m always glad to tuck them away for another year, but now as summer 2017 beckons the new me has decided to change my attitude to lots of things, starting with my feet. Just to explain here, the new me has decided to start working on myself from the ground up.
The thing is, my dear old knobblies have carried me along for the past 58 years. They’ve never let me down; carrying me as I ran, walked, and struggled through life’s ups and downs. They have climbed mountains, hills, roads, and are still doing that today. Yes; they have walked me into trouble many times [I have managed to walk my two big feet into this and that along the way] but they always walked me right back out of it again.
They have helped me stand tall in the face of difficulties and kept me grounded when my head was in the clouds, a place I like to drift off to every now and again. [Fec, I’ve just realised, only for my feet I might have drifted off completely, never to be seen again.] Then again I like what Theodore Roosevelt once said: “keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground”. In other words, we should always aspire for more, but never lose track of who we are throughout our journey in life.
For now, I’m going to say a big thank you to my size 8’s and allow myself embrace their uniqueness. Their flaws and imperfections tell the story of my life, every mark and blemish has a history of its own that is mine and mine alone. Perfection is so boring anyway. I’m going to keep my feet firmly on the ground by allowing them to connect with the earth as much as possible. Going barefoot on the sand, the sea, indeed anywhere that is natural and free, sure God never meant for us to walk on concrete anyway!
And while I’m doing that, my head will be in the clouds dreaming of tomorrows full of new beginnings experiences and magic but I’ll be grand so I will, I’ll be so well balanced because I’ll have finally started to look after me feet!. Ohh, how I love the freedom of age.
In case you think I’ve abandoned footwear altogether I might just treat myself to a nice pair of sparklies for the summer, barefoot doesn’t work everywhere I’ve discovered. Watch out everyone! The new improved me has arrived.