Manchester, UK

ON SECOND THOUGHT – Change Is A Pair Of Uncomfortable New Shoes

Last week my best friend sent me a picture of herself. Her eyes beamed with excitement, the kind that hits you in your feels even through a pixelated screen, and something told me the look on her face had everything to do with the luggage that laid open on the floor next to her. The first thing I could think of was how well packed her luggage was, Essentially it looked like the complete opposite of every bag I’ve ever put together before a trip; overflowing with options and like it would take full body weight to get it to closed up and secured. I’ve packed many bags before, but somehow, I never quite mastered the art of only taking the essentials on board. Who knows though what kind of girl I will be on post-pandemic adventures…

The picture sure did gave me some nostalgic emotions of the old days (aka before 2020) when often twice or three times a year I’d pack my drawers into cabin-sized boxes and stroll through terminals I knew the blueprint of all too well.

When I caught my mind wandering, I brought the focus back to what truly mattered at that moment, my friend and how much was about to change in her life in those upcoming days. You see, she was about to take a big leap away from her family home into a city she only knew from textbooks, mentions on the news and word of mouth, and everything about the days that were about to follow reeked of uncertainty.

Of course, I asked her how she was feeling about the big change she was about to embark on the following day; a train ride that could take her life in a completely new and different direction than the one she had been on. Hidden in WhatsApp audio messages, she expressed how as excited as she was, there were also many other mixed emotions depicted in that one pictures, and excitement was only one of them. Fear. Anxiety. Nerves. Those were also very valid emotions she was feeling, alongside the thrill that comes with the novelty of it all. That was a complex sentiment I knew all too well.

I’ve always been a mixed bag. I don’t look at situations entirely one way or the other and I definitely do not believe in absolutes. I’d say rather than being completely black or completely white when I approach most things, I’ve always found myself somewhere in the middle. A place where colours mix and match, emotions fluctuate and thoughts flow one into the other in a never-ending cycle. It’s a messy place, of constant motion, perhaps a bit unstable and uncertain, but I feel like this is who I have become as a result of so much constant change. I always try to keep the door a little open because you just never know…

We talked about her hopes for the future and how she wished things will find her well in the new city as well as how she was especially looking forward to the opportunity for growth the experience is sure to bring.  That’s when I reminded her of what I’m telling you now: adapting to change is just like adjusting to a new pair of gorgeous shoes.
As essential as they are to our daily lives, new shoes don’t always feel right at the start. At some point, you are bound to find yourself picking up and trying a new pair, but they never feel like they were made for your feet the first few times you put them on. When you pop on a new pair of shoes it’s impossible to not be aware of the difference; it’s foreign, unfamiliar, at times rough around the edges, and only time will tell whether it’s a keeper a shiny thing to be left behind.
Some shoes you have to adapt to, they become comfortable and cosy and each step you take in them begins to feel a little lighter. In the same way, there are some shoes that just will never fit no matter hard you try and the only thing you’ll get by trying to force them on are blisters, scars and lingering pain.

During the week, I told you about how I’m in the process of rediscovering my post-pandemic self following all that changed in the last year and a half. It’s no sweet feeling to be lost and confused but as time goes on, I’ve been teaching myself to endure the seasons of change where there’s no clear shape of what my next move may look like.

Whilst there are some shoes you just will never even reach for because they are so far off your size, there are also some that are only perfect for certain occasions in life. You put them on when you want to make a big impression and you take them off when you’re done. There are perfect occasions for 6-inch heels and there are days where the only sensible choice are the snow boots in the back of your closet.

Today, I just thought I’d remind you and myself that change doesn’t always feel like a custom fit all the time. It’s often unfamiliar and foreign like a shoe you’ve never tried on before and when you step into it, it may become your new favourite pair or simply a bad fit you decide to take back or leave at the store. Yes, life is not as simple as swapping footwear, but whether you are about to take a big chance that could change your life forever or trying to find yourself again, maybe a good place to start is trying it on first.

Your restless romantic roamer

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