Hard to let go of comfortable things

Published 7:30 am Saturday, February 19, 2022

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Have you ever told yourself you needed to throw away that scruffy old pair of sneakers, a ragged pair of jeans, or maybe even a torn snuggly Teddy bear you’ve held on to since childhood?

It has happened to me more than once, but the hardest item I finally got rid of was a pair of scruffy old sneakers. Somehow they took a hold of me as soon as I saw them. I was in a mall, not even looking for shoes when they caught my eye. My imagination went wild. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the pretty blue mesh sneakers. I told myself: “They’re mesh, so they will be cool. They will look great with jeans with shorts, too. Just the thing for shopping, for camping.” The list continued to build. Before I realized it, I had whipped out my credit card and found myself walking out of the store with a bag containing the sneakers swinging on my arm.

Years later, I knew it was time. I actually threw those sneakers in the wastebasket. It was hard to keep from bending over and retrieving them. But I did it.

I really did it.

Before I retired that night, I had passed by the wastebasket time and time again. I told myself that I would pick up the wastebasket liner and throw it in the kitchen garbage. There it would be hidden among the food scraps, crumpled paper towels, coffee grounds, and other yucky stuff and out of my sight.

By this time, you might think I’m crazy to makeover a pair of sneakers or other items. After years of service, those shoes fit my feet as if I was born with them attached. They stood ready to accompany me when I did fun things or tackled difficult tasks. I just had to overlook how they look. It did not matter that time and frequent scrubbing dulled their finish. Did mileage erase their treads? Did usage destroy their shape, fray the edges, and lead the heels awry? And, then one day, you notice that horrors of horrors, those sneakers were just plain ugly. I wore them and enjoyed them, but one day I noticed they showed signs of wear, so I pushed them back in the closet to passing over them when I went somewhere.

When I painted the insides of my closets, I wore those faithful old sneakers. Afterward, they sported white spots of different shapes all over them. Sometime along the way the shoe strings disappeared.

One day as I mopped the kitchen, I slipped down hard on my backside. A close inspection of the shoe soles revealed they were smooth as satin.

Still, I clung to my familiar companions. I cannot imagine how much longer I would have kept them if I hadn’t decided to clean my closet to make room for my vacuum cleaner. I decided that along with some other old things that cluttered the closet, the sneakers had to go.

For me, it was a landmark decision. But I did it. I threw away those old sneakers.