I almost have a hole in my shoe. It’s not quite there yet but I’m nearing the due date for my nearly yearly samba replacement pair. I wait to buy another pair even as the shoe wears thin. I like the feeling of really worn out shoes — as if in some way this tangible and irrelevant part of your life is in some way connected to the very real things you’ve been through in them. As if they remember stumbling through the streets of Paris at 2am laughing loudly or standing for 80 minutes straight to watch the women’s rugby world cup final… or simply trudging you into a coffee shop on some of your worst days when getting out of bed was hard.
Most important problems are really difficult to solve. They take months, if not years, to sort through and unravel. They keep you up at night. They rattle in your brain as you try to do anything but think about them. A hole in your shoe is the opposite of that. It’s a delightful little problem. It’s both obvious in that you can feel debris coming in your shoe and easily fixable if it’s within your means. I joke from time to time that I have the opposite problem many people have – I am too focused on big picture problems that I forget about the little ones letting them build up. I’ve adjusted my life around this habit so that very few little problems crop up (if you don’t have a lot of stuff those little problems tend to melt away). When the holes in my shoes invariably happen, I’ll delight in fixing them because I know the gift of an easy problem to solve. Before throwing them away, I’ll pause to remember who I was when I wore them.
Let’s just hope I don’t ruin 5 pairs of socks by waiting a month after the hole crops up to get new shoes 😜