My three year old son found his big brothers old soccer cleats the other day. Discarded long ago, they sat in our coat closet waiting to be discovered.
I realized something was amiss when I heard, what sounded like a horse, clopping across the hardwood floor. The noise was alarming enough that I felt that I had to investigate. Nothing ever really surprises me with this little guy, so I wasn’t shocked to see him parading around in soccer cleats that were at least two sizes too big. (Actually I was a little relieved that he wasn’t in my black wedges that he so dearly loves). The smile on his face dissuaded me from making him take them off immediately, though thoughts of a fall and a trip to St. Mary’s Hospital loomed in my head. So off he went, galloping through the halls loving his new found treasure.
A few hours went by and I had to go out and run some errands. We were desperately short on most essential food items and paper products so to the grocery store and Target we went. He wore the shoes. I had asked him to take them off and he just looked at me and shook his head no. I was tired and in no mood for an altercation of mass proportions, so I let him wear them. I mean what do you do? There was no time for negotiations, we needed to roll.
He didn’t care at all that they didn’t fit and he walked proudly down the aisles of both stores not tripping once. I had to smile. He was determined and focused and quite happy with himself. He didn’t care that they didn’t fit or that they were loud or that people would look at him as he walked through the store. This little boy of three years taught me a valuable lesson that day: Don’t be afraid of trying on shoes that are too big for you.
You can worry your whole life away, wondering if you are in the right size or right group or right home. Do your kids go to the right school and did you say the right thing? It can peck away at you and cause you to totally lose your focus about what is really meaningful and important in life. Chances are, at one time or another, you are not going to be the “right” person for the job or fit into the “right” outfit (I know that we can all attest to that one)! Brush it off, it doesn’t matter because what does is what you have right here and right now.
I spent so much time in my twenties wishing I was someone else and trying so hard to be that person. It was absolutely exhausting and I wasn’t happy because I never achieved that unattainable goal. We need to be more realistic in what we set ourselves up for, enabling ourselves to reach what we are striving for.
Now, I know this sounds all well and good. Perhaps I appear to be that person who has gotten to this point and can speak eloquently on this matter. But, I’m not. I struggle with fitting in the “box” that society has created for me and question if stepping out is the right thing to do. I have to say, when I do take that step outside, even for just a bit, it feels pretty good. It’s empowering and I know that I need to do this more often because who knows what I can achieve, what we can achieve, if we tiptoe outside of what is comfortable. The big steps will follow but you have to learn to crawl in order to walk.
We also must remember not to judge those who have leapt out of the box and are having a big old shake down on the outside. They have done what most of us dare not try. There is no room for judgment, we are all trying to get by (on fumes in some cases) so even if we don’t support others choices we don’t need to slam them for it either.
I am confident that these soccer cleats will lose their appeal sometime in the near future and he will be on to the next great find. Maybe I’ll keep those cleats out where I can see them, to remind me to try on some shoes that are a little too big for me too.