I had an epiphany.
It came to me when I cleaned out my bedroom closet and discovered all of the once worn or never worn shoes I had. It caused me to wonder.
Later, while reviewing my Contacts list on my new cell phone, I was again surprised to discover how many of the numbers I no longer needed, because they belong to people who are no longer friends. This also caused me to wonder.
Thus was the birth of my epiphany.
Friends are like shoes.
When we buy shoes, we try to pick out the best pair for our occasion and need. We look for them to fit well and be our style. We try them on, and we walk around in them, and see how they feel. And then we hope for the best.
Will they be our next favorite pair?
We really won’t know until we live with them a while.
The same is true of friends. We have to let them in, try them on, and wear them around for a time, to see how they fit and how they are going to treat us.
There are different kinds of friends . . . and shoes.
Both pair pictured below are beautiful and sexy. When I tried them on, they felt good, but after wearing them for an hour, my toes starting popping out of the straps all mish-mashy. It wasn’t pretty. Or practical.
My lesson: A friend can have all the right characteristics and just not be well suited to us. They may fit perfectly with someone else though.
These are shoes that I fell in love with, but hardly ever wore. Now I have outgrown them. They are age-appropriate, if your ankles, knees, and hip joints will tolerate the heels. Mine adamantly refuse.
My lesson: A friend can be young, spirited, and beautiful to behold, and although we admire them, it doesn’t mean that we will be able to keep up, or that we even want to. Sometimes, we change. Or they change. Sometimes, sadly, we grow and our friends don’t.
Here are some shoes that dazzled me with their beauty. But, ultimately, I couldn’t wear either pair. I kept falling out of the gold ones. And the beaded ones gave me blisters.
My lesson: A good friend will always have your back and help you feel secure. And beauty doesn’t count for much if your friend causes friction and gives you a blister.
These I adored! I wanted to become the woman who belonged to these shoes! But I wasn’t. Unfortunately, I discovered upon wearing them, that when I walked, the black pair SQUEAKED, and the grey pair SQUEEZED.
My lesson: A friend is a wonderful gift, but there are deal-breakers. Some just whine or gossip too much, and some can’t give you room to breathe. A good friend gives you a moderate amount of both.
Some shoes are for special occasions or are seasonal, and are not meant for everyday use or for all types of weather.
My lesson: Some friends are only present during celebrations or special events, and some only during certain seasons. If we know that from the start, we can usually accept it and love them as they are.
I bought these shoes even though they were an ENTIRE size too small!
My lesson: No matter how pretty they are or how much you love them, if a friend does not accept you, and fit into your life in a healthy way, you must walk away. A friendship cannot be forced.
I keep these displayed on my bedroom dresser. They serve to remind me that no matter how loud, confident, or tough I act . . . I am still a girly girl.
My lesson: Good friends remind you of who you are, celebrate who you are, and help you become more than who you are.
Some of my favorite shoes are not fancy-shmancy at all. These are light, effortless, dependable, and just damn comfortable.
My lesson: Our favorite friends are kind, consistent, and easy to be around. We are at our most natural and genuine when we are with them. They are NOT going to surprise us too much, and we can take comfort in knowing that they won’t let us down.
We wear our all-time favorite shoes constantly. They have been to hell and back with us, through all the good and the bad, down miles and miles of rough road. And it shows.
We will wear them long after they have stopped functioning well or looking pretty. We will wear them until they literally fall off our feet, and even then, they will not be discarded. We will even reminisce with great affection, “I had this great pair once . . . “
My lesson: Our best friends are the ones that fit well, accept us as we are, and don’t run out when times get tough. We look at them and fail to see the wear or scratches, the worn spots, the scruffiness, and the funny way they bend . . . all we see is the friend we love.
We treasure the way they make us feel.
They don’t have to be perfect, but they are.
They are perfect for us.
Yes, friends are like shoes.
And as we age, we may not feel the need to purchase as many new shoes, but when we do, we shop smarter, we know more about what will work and what won’t, and we try to make better choices.
And along the way, we learn the meaning of value.
Because they can all talk the talk.
But only the good ones can walk the walk.