Choosing or Losing?

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

--- Helen Keller

One day I will be abel to do this!

Ah, spring. The browns of winter give way to orange, red and yellow hues of pre-summer bliss. Each morning, I jump out of bed with the promise of a new day, a new life and a new attitude that come with cool morning temperatures. It’s tabula rasa all over again. What joy to have yet another second chance!

New shoes herald this season. Strolling down the aisles of DSW, my lips smack at the cornucopia of selection -- strappy sandals with fluorescent purple beads, rose gold metallic slip-ons, red-orange patent 3 ½ inch block heels. Flats with neon orange tassels, plum pom poms, turquoise beads, fire engine red spring booties. Reminiscent of standing with an empty bag in the penny-candy store as a 10-year old, I could never decide what to buy and always settled on Swedish Fish. Was it my favorite, or just an easy choice I made rather than hyperventilate?

There are probably 9,000 different shades on the color palette, but I continue to buy black shoes. Yes, black is practical. It goes with everything. It tends to mask dirt. You can wear it anytime of the day or night. But now I’m beginning to wonder, why not just adorn my tootsies with grocery bags that my kale was packaged in? They’re free, and they don’t require a special trip to yet another store.

Today I took myself to my favorite store stocked floor to ceiling with finery for one’s feet. I was overcome by the choices and oh, the colors! It was difficult to know where to look first, next, and after that. Fire engine red boots. Blue suede pumps. Toffee loafers. Mocha moccasins. For a moment, my arm and I got into a tug-of-war as it reached for a pair of black shoes. Gallantly, I fought back, silently screaming: “No! Another pair of black shoes will qualify me for the convent!”

I’m pleased to say that I won the battle, at least in my mind, when I chose a pair of navy-blue moccasins. A step up from black I convinced myself and marched them up proudly to the cashier. After the clerk called “next shoe lover”, I strutted over and proudly plunked down my cash, having achieved no-black-shoes-for-me-today status. As the young lady at the counter checked my purchase, I noticed a dreadful word on the side of the box: BLACK, flashing neon-like for all the world to see that, yep, I’d done it again. I almost choked: “Wait! Black? Don’t they look like navy-blue to you?”

With pity in her eyes, she said: “Well, they’re not carbon black. They’re not really dark, so they could look like navy, I guess.” Huh? Well, she tried, but reality is a bitter pill to swallow. Much like that Fosamax that keeps my bones from crumbling.

I bought the shoes, against my will, because I couldn’t bear to face all those choices yet again, only to be beaten down by what seems to be my hopeless tendency to don my dogs in black. Next time we meet, just look down. You’ll recognize me by my boring feet. What next? A housedress? I need help.

So, what choices are you consistently making that keep you stuck?




Hello, I’m Janet, career coach, writer, workshop leader.

I help women create their best lives through personal writing.