Don’t Keep New Shoes in a Box


My mom always says, “Don’t keep new shoes in a box.” Most days, I think I follow her advice pretty well.

After a fun evening of cheap drinks and fine dancing, I walked up the snowy hill that is Colgate University. I was wearing my new shoes – black flats, part patent leather, part suede. I didn’t have a worry on my mind as I trudged through the areas of slushy brown snow that seem to expand and multiply each day.

When I awoke the next morning, I found my black shoes stained white. It looked as if I had walked along the edge of a white sea, flirting with the waves and carelessly letting them creep up on my ankles. I picked my shoes up and rubbed the white ripples. “You shouldn’t have worn those last night,” Vera said as she strolled into my room, opinionated, even in the early hours of the morning. “It will come off with water,” I answered. At least I hoped it would.

The next weekend, I threw on my favorite pair of blue jeans and ducked under my bed to choose a pair of shoes. I grabbed the brown pumps I had gotten for Christmas. I hadn’t worn them yet. I looked out my window. Snow. I knew they would get wet. I knew they would get dirty. I knew they would no longer be perfect. I knew what my mom had taught me.

If you want to keep your shoes looking new, keep them in a box at the bottom of your closet, but if you want to enjoy them, wear them. Shoes, clothes, purses, books, soccer balls, and jewelry are meant to be worn, used, and enjoyed. Treat your things nicely, but don’t fret over material positions. Don’t be afraid to get dirty. Wear what you like, when you like. Take risks. Wear what you have and use what you’ve got. Don’t store your ideas. Don’t bottle up your talents. If your snow pants rip during a snowball fight, you can always buy another pair, but don’t lose the snow ball fight. Take on a challenge taller than you; if it collapses at your feet, clean up the mess. Never stop moving. Keep busy. Wear holes through your sneakers. Don’t let logic run your life. You can make choices for yourself that others don’t understand or agree with it. It’s okay for people to think you’re a little crazy sometimes.

And I slipped into my brown pumps, glanced at the mirror, and strode into the hallway.