Who knew that owning a pair of red shoes could create such magic – inspiring happiness, a feeling of gay abandon and a total fashion reawakening.
But that’s just what they did!
My quickly approaching sixty-fifth birthday motivated me to take on several life changing challenges. Challenges designed to force me to try something new, tackle a problem or simply focus more energy on self-improvement. And silly me, in order to keep myself honest, I chose to share my journey with all of you in my blog, Please Don’t Make Me Have To Learn How To Ride A Camel.
I set several personal goals to meet before lighting up my sixty-five B-Day candles and the clock has continued to click. My face gets red and my heart quickens with anxiety every time I think how soon April will be upon us. I’ve partially met some challenges, made progress on others, and with the purchase of my red shoes, I’ve completed two of the challenge, which included:
And what a thrill, this proved to be. As much as I longed to slip my feet into a pair of flashy Jimmy Choo’s, I just couldn’t muster the courage to spend $2,695.00 on a pair of red beaded stilettos. To be completely truthful, I’m not sure if I was more afraid of the price of the shoes or of tumbling off the glittering stilettos. Either way, I had to pass them by.
However, having taken on this challenge, I refused to back down. I didn’t give in and buy any old run-of-the-mill red pumps, nor did I give up and buy a pair of red Converse tennis shoes either. No way! I bought myself a pair of bright red boots. And to seal the deal, I wore them out to a formal Christmas dinner party and felt wonderful. Perhaps a bit over the top, but none the less eye catching, I danced around the room, kicking up my heels with my glass of Pinot Grigio in hand. Of course their bright color stood out against my black slacks and black velvet top, but what the heck – I took a chance and felt all the better for it.
And here’s the funny part, as I looked around the room, I recognized that I had become a member of the over sixty sisterhood of red shoes. I counted at least ten other women my age proudly sporting red footwear. High heels, low heels, sandals, tennis shoes and even a pair of red clogs all joined in celebrating the night with me and my boots.
Now the writer in me wanted to go around the room and ask why these women had chosen to wear red footwear, but the realist recognized it for what it was. We were all searching for a fun way to celebrate life… and that’s just what we did in our playful red footwear. I’m sure that there was more than one envious woman who left the party anxious to hurry out to buy their own red boots. How could they resist?
I’ve still got sixteen pounds to go, more time walking required and a book to finish editing before April comes. Fingers crossed, I’ll make it! In the mean time, I’m partying away in my red boots. You should try it too!
Happy Holidays to you all!
I had a startling epiphany today. I realized that it’s six months and counting until the day I turn sixty-five years old. OMG, I cannot even relate to that number. I still see myself as that college girl who wore peasant blouses and sandals. My husband often says that I looked like a hippie the first time he saw me, but that is so not true.
Okay, I’m not foolish enough to miss the wrinkles that crinkle around my eyes when I smile or the blonde hair that has grown more gray than blonde with each passing year. But come on, in my heart of hearts, I’m still somewhere around twenty-five years old.
After accepting that I’m not as young as I used to be, I got a little melancholy today and resurrected an old journal I kept after graduating college. I couldn’t help but laugh revisiting some of the issues I wrote about with such heart stirring emotion. Okay, I admit it. I was a bit of a drama queen back then.
On the last few pages of my journal, I was surprised to find six goals that I pledged to accomplish before I turned thirty…I guess that thirty must have sounded old back then. As if!
These were my goals:
1)Get my Masters Degree – check.
2)Become the greatest high school teacher or counselor – check and check. That is, I became both a teacher and high school counselor. I know for a fact that I wasn’t the greatest by far, but I had a great time trying.
3)Get married – checkety, check, check – still going strong after thirty eight years!
4)Have kids – check times three. I squeaked by with this one, having my first child at thirty.
5)Write a book – I did not even remember writing down that goal, but check.
How I raced so swiftly through the past wonderful, challenging, joyful, trying, amazing years is a mystery to me. But with the understanding that the clock is still ticking and not wanting to waste even a minute, I thought I better get cracking and come up with a few new short term goals that I might actually accomplish by the time I turn sixty-five.
Goals To Be Accomplished Over The Next Six Months & Before I Turn Sixty-Five.
1)Walk thirty minutes a day at least five days a week. Since I spend so much time sitting, either writing or sewing this will be one big chunk of a goal for me to reach.
2)Finish writing my book, The Witch of Bergen. This is also a tough one as I have been working on rewrites for what seems like forever! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that some kind of magic kicks in soon.
3)Read Paul Arden’s best seller – It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be. I understand that it’s an engaging book with tons of clues for positive self- improvement and I’m always looking for ways to improve myself.
4)Lose twenty pounds. Or at least make attempts to lose twenty pounds – after all, I am a realist.
5)Buy a pair of flashy red shoes. Why? Just because I’d really like a pair of red shoes and I’m getting older and better do this before I’m too ancient to actually look good in wild and crazy red shoes! Perhaps I better just look for some red tennis shoes.
You may have noticed that I only have five goals. I have yet to finalize the sixth one. Learn how to bake, fly a plane, ride a camel? Perhaps you have an idea or two that you’d like to share, especially since I really don’t want to have to learn how to ride a camel.
Well, in addition to “To Buy” lists or the more mundane “To Do” lists?
Years ago I created another kind of list & recently revived it. The summer after high school graduation, a girlfriend & I decided to travel and settled on hitchhiking around England for a month. In addition to planning our itinerary, we also developed The List (as it applied to the UK).
It contained things that we felt were quintessentially of the place, and enumerated things we wanted to have experienced before the holiday was over. The list “ingredients” didn’t have to be difficult to achieve; that wasn’t the issue. It was meant to measure what we felt was a true and full experience of a new environment.
I can’t remember the exact elements for the UK List, but it was things like:
1) eat fish & chips
2) see Buckingham Palace & the changing of the guards
3) drive in a London taxi cab
4) see someone in a kilt
5) visit a castle
6) see Shakespeare at Stratford-on-Avon
7) buy an umbrella
8) drive in a Rolls Royce
9) go to Hyde Park
10) be invited to tea…
You get the picture. We would argue and add things to the list as their quintessential-ness was discovered and determined.
Recently I went on a road trip with the same friend some 35+ years later. She lives in Alabama, so we went on a trip around the area. I found myself creating a list–it sort of was made as it happened instead of beforehand. But we argued through the essentialness of the ingredients, and I think we pulled together a good collection. I realize it is a girl list. You boys will just have to work on your own. Here it is:
The Deep South List:
1) Receive an Unsolicited Greeting
(i.e. hello) My friend didn’t think this should count as a key indicator of Southern-ness. I really had to explain that NO-ONE in New York would say hello to a stranger walking down the street–you’d think they were pan-handling.
2) Courtly Solicitation
#1 was men & women; this is just for women–Male interactions with females are often touched with a decorous flirtation, a sense of ‘Southern Charm,’ an awareness and appreciation of your femaleness, e.g. ‘I always stop for pretty girls,’ or have door held for you..
3) Bitten by Ants
Apparently, this is standard. I can vouch for it happening.
4) Drive on a dirt road; visit a farm/meet a farmer; wait for Cows to clear the road
The South has its share of cities and industry, but rural South seemed quintessentially Southern, not found elsewhere, and needed to be experienced. I didn’t get a photo of him, but our farmer was driving a tractor…not unlike the one pictured on the billboard below…
5) Roadside Attractions
One of the carved living tree in Tinglewood, ALA and Bourbon St. New Orleans, LA
6) Breakfast with Good Ole Boys, eat Grits with Unidentified butterlike substance
OK, he’s not a Good Ole Boy, he’s the god of the forge, Vulcan, who presides over Birmingham, ALA. Magnificent, isn’t he? And I know you’re distracted, but really, there’s no butter in the South. My grits came with a pat proudly announcing it was 40% margarine. It never told me what the other 60% was and I was too scared to ask….
7) Tea: Sweet/Unsweet
Well, I may have to make an exception for New Orleans, where it was hard to find anyone who’d give me sweet tea–it was all DIY. You do have to specify “Hot tea” if that’s your preference, as tea = ice tea.
8) Being asked where you come from
Yes, this would also be on a California list–but it’s just not Northeast in my experience & always startles me & reminds me I am somewhere away from home. In some parts of the South, I am sure you are asked where you are going–i.e. which grave yard will you be joining–to better understand your status. Location, location, location.
10) Cotton fields
Well, I hadn’t thought of posting while I was traveling, so didn’t take appropriate photos, just captured a few things that appealed. Here’s a a rather remarkable ironwork cornstalk fence in New Orleans.
11) Church signage with admonishions, instructions, information about Jesus
I regret not having photographed some of the Church signage: you have to see it to get it. Here’s one man’s front yard sculpture–it captures some of the spirit.
And here we are with our trusty black bug at the end of the trip. Think of the photo as modern art, creating a sense of immediacy and motion (and covering any bad hair or poor clothing choices).
Since we created out list as we went, we were sure to accomplish every one.
Do you make lists?
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