Letting go is something I think about frequently, mostly because I have such an issue with letting go (or so I’m told by just about everyone I know). Shoes are an excellent example. I’ve never been much of a driver, I briefly had a car(1) for about a year between the ages of 19 and 20, and after I got kicked off my school bus at the tender age
of eight for fighting too much(2) I became an avid walker and later bicyclist. However when you walk and ride literally everywhere, coupled with an on-and-off running habit, you chew through some shoes.
I need new shoes. It’s not a problem of money (I do okay between my day job and side work), it’s not a problem of transportation (my relaxed crusing speed is about 20mph, I like to go fast), and as much as I may bitch about time that’s not it either (I work an average of 40 hours, have a very active social life, and the blog eats up another 15 hours) the problem is: letting go. For me I develop this ambivalence of disgust and endearment the more beat up and torn and generally wreked my shoes get.
I mentioned getting new shoes to my boss and he said “What’s wrong with you?! Those shoes complete this ‘hobo-chic’ look you got going on.” (3) I still don’t know if he was being sarcastic.(4) Comments like this don’t help motivate me to get new shoes because I feel like I hold on to things (not just material objects, honestly not even most stuff I hold on to are material(5)) and people and emotions and stories I tell about my self and the things I’ve done and the people I’ve met and known as a way to some how solidify my identity.
I’ve always lived by phrases like “You are what you do” (I work, I am a worker; I write, I am a writer; I create, I am a creator) and “You can tell a lot about a person based on the company they keep”(6), and my favourite “You can learn a lot about a person based on their shoes”. Sure they’re cliche but I feel like they’re bits of wisdom that resonate with how I shape my identity.
I work for a living and my shoes reflect that. I’m not bothered with material possessions and my shoes reflect that. I rather be underestimated so I can surprise people and my shoes reflect that.
Logically I know I’ve well gotten my money’s worth from this pair(7) and I also know that winter is coming.
Soon my shoes will be new and so they will say different things about me. I’m pretty adaptable and don’t usually resist change but letting go of some things like old shoes, old friends, incompatible partners, toxic feelings, and all the other things we feel we deserve mostly because we’ve invested so much time and effort in them is hard even if we consciously recognise their less than productive effects.
The one thing I’ve struggled with the most in this regard, referring to letting go, is recognising that time invested does not equate to quality of investment whether that be relationships (friends, family, partners, etc) or literal investments of things (such as shoes). I am learning to let go, slowly, because I believe it’s going to become a critical skill to my future as an entrepreneur and a generally healthy human being.
Speaking of letting go, tune in next Monday when I post my review of “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro.
- 1988 Corsica, she was a beast. Lived for a solid 20 years before she got too decapitated due to, honestly, poor upkeep from both my father then me which is the story of how I bought a car for $1 once.
- I got bullied a lot (surprise surprise) and I don’t take shit (chat shit, get hit).
- I’ve had more than a few partners tell me “I don’t know why but you have this kinda dirty look about you that’s really fucking hot even though I feel like it shouldn’t be”. I don’t know how I feel about all that but I have kinda embraced the whole hobo (not to be mixed up with a bum, hobo’s work for a living but they travel where the work takes them) thing over the years.
- I struggle with sarcasm for some reason which was another layer of culture adjustment when I was in the UK (Little known fact: Sarcasm, not English, is the primary spoken language in the UK).
- I’m a practicing minimalist.
- I’m actually in the process of re building my social life to surround myself with people who are ambitious and self motivated, as I am, and aspire to be bigger than them selves (being in and contributing to a community, starting a community, etc) because one think I remember reading from some hokey “self-help” books was that you will only be as successful (on average) as your most successful acquaintance. If you surround yourself with lazy bastards, you may resist but you’ll never get full support. Surround yourself with like minded ambitious and motivated peoples and you’ll find inspiration and support everywhere. Then whilst you grow, then you’re able to give back support and bring in new young people in the fold. Rising waters raises all ships.
- I have to buy nice hiking shoes (like $100 minimum) due to my active life style otherwise I will eat through 2-5 pairs a year depending on quality (nicer shoes, maybe 2 pair; cheapy shoes, closer to 5) and it over all comes out to the same price however if I spend a bit upfront, I make one shoe run a year, if I go cheapy I will be running to the damn store ever few months and I will always feel like my shoes are always fucking falling apart.