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Thank You to My Really Old Gym Shoes

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A few weeks ago, a ridiculous thought occurred to me. I could not remember the last time I bought new gym shoes.

I was looking down at my shoes, ready to show the elliptical who's boss (hint: not me), and I realized that I've owned those shoes for a very, very long time. I had no memory of buying sneakers after college. Did I buy them before college? Is there a chance that these well-loved shoes were more than 10 years old?

Thank You to My Really Old Gym Shoes photo 1

I think the "rules" say people should purchase new gym shoes every year or every other year, which meant that it was definitely time to buy a new pair. And now, as we speak, I'm breaking in some exciting new shoes just waiting to travel the world (or at least the inside of a workout room).

But all of a sudden, I'm feeling nostalgic for my old guys.

If you read my blogs, you might know I've become obsessed with The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. One of the aspects of her book that make the haters hate hate hate hate hate is that Kondo recommends "thanking" each of your items before discarding them. Yes, it may be a little hokey to thank your oven mitts for a job well done, but it does make you feel less guilty about tossing them. "Thank you, oven mitts, for keeping my hands from getting burned as I baked cookies for my friends. But I don't need three pairs of oven mitts. I hope you make someone else very happy."

Thanking items before discarding them allows you to think about how items have more than their face value. Oven mitts lead to family gatherings. Dresses lead to memorable occasions. And gym shoes lead to health, fitness, and long walks with good friends.

So I'd like to use this post to thank my old gym shoes. It's truly been quite a journey. According to my Fitbit, which I've worn daily since November 2013, I've walked nearly 3,000 miles over the past three years. And these gym shoes have literally supported me every step of the way (except for those somewhat painful mid-workday walks with coworkers when I'm wearing flats).

These shoes have traveled with me around the globe -- to Israel, England, Holland, Belgium, Canada, Mexico, all over the United States, and throughout so many Chicago neighborhoods. They may have made me look like a tourist, but at least when I'm wearing them, I look like a happy tourist and not a "my feet are killing me so please don't make me ;go to one more stinkin' museum" tourist.

According to some exhaustive Facebook research, this is the first recorded photo of me in the shoes, taken while exploring downtown Chicago with my college roommates in September 2008:

Thank You to My Really Old Gym Shoes photo 2

These shoes have kept me comfortable, kept me walking, kept me exploring. They've been with me in probably more kinds of weather than is appropriate for non-rain boots.

So now, as the shoes are at least eight years old, worn and tattered, showing signs of retirement, I look ahead to my new friends for my feet:

Thank You to My Really Old Gym Shoes photo 3

And maybe I should set myself a reminder for this time next year to look into getting a new pair of -- gotta say it -- solemates.

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