As I did recently, reflect upon the year 2011: who of your friends would you, could you, walk a mile in their shoes?
All through 2011 my Sagittarius horoscopes repeatedly reminded me I should look to my friends & see what’s working for me, or not. I didn’t really take much notice as this wasn’t the answer to the question I was looking for.
However, very early one morning my not-really-awake-thoughts cast my mind over the times in 2011 where I managed to catch up with a few friends and as you do, chat about the ups & downs of our respective lifestyles. My city D.I.N.K. way of life suits me mostly but what works for me and works for my family & friends differs according to our choices and lifestyles.
I pondered who of my friends I could be if I had a holiday from being myself…
First, my country neighbour who I don’t see a lot but have always admired for all those things I am not. Without divulging personal traits let’s say even though I have mellowed considerably over the years, I am pretty structured in my ways, sometimes uncomfortably so. Of similar age to me, her youngest has just left home; she’s quit her job & ready for a new life. Since (and before) I have known her, in her yard & sometimes house, there has always been people of all ages and a parade of cats, dogs, chooks, geese, turkeys, ducks, birds, snakes, frogs, other miscellaneous wildlife & livestock from time to time… and any (ok, the many) who have gone to heaven have always been truly lamented. While chatting about neighbourhood wildlife, which we both love, she casually mentioned she has a bat living in her hallway and the only downside was the pile of droppings on the floor to be negotiated in the mornings.
Second, a family friend wrote “I don’t want or need any more. Not material things anyway“ in response to her niece’s Facebook post “I started out with nothing & still have most of it left”. Having visited her during my recent holidays I get this. She & her husband of 40+ years now live in a nice coastal town & have a modest, bright & welcoming home with an abundant garden, pleasant outside undercover space which is the most used area in the house, testimony to the many family & friends who congregate there. In earlier years she had 5 children, & the family did it tough. The kids all have done well & they have added 11 grandkids to the family. She’s bubbly, opinionated, busy, interesting and loves enormously.
Third, I caught up with an old school friend via a couple of phone chats & coffees. From my point of view she has a challenging but nice life and just doesn’t realise it. She’s done well despite several life experiences I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. She has a lovely partner & daughter who ok has a health issue, but despite her misgivings I believe my friend is handling it admirably. She lives in the country, has university qualifications, travelled around Australia & overseas, an old house & garden to play in, is a “proper” artist who exhibits & sells stuff, and has other rural type interests on the side. She on the other hand often voices as a city dweller with a job & no kids that I have a good life I possibly could do more with… what drag myself out to a gallery opening or write a chapter of a novel after spending 8 hours at my work desk & computer, hell no, not when there’s something convenient & trashy on TV to go with a couple of glasses of wine & takeaway? Just joking, I love to cook. It would be interesting to have a holiday being her, and it would give her a break, to visit the city, go to galleries & exhibitions, movies & concerts, all of which she loves. I expect we would both breathe a sigh of relief when it was time to return to our respective homes, and I suspect I wouldn’t cope anywhere near as well as she does.
There are several more, briefly…
A gorgeous friend who is just so alive, who handled a difficult marital separation & child sharing arrangements remarkably, who has recently remarried and managed to successfully unite & nurture her combined mob, and so much more. She is much loved by a wide circle of family & friends and deserves every bit.
A couple of interstate friends who I don’t see but who generously share their lives, family, friends, passions, humour & cats via Facebook. Their creativity, friendship and realness inspire me every day.
My [half] sisters, both under 30. We’re somewhat the same, somewhat different but they grew up in and live in a different generational era than I did, with its own benefits & challenges, and do it well.
Another school friend who has hitched up the bootstraps of her life, fights her battles with integrity & passion, if tired & anxious does it anyway and has faith faith faith.
Last but not least my best friend of omigod-30-years, the one who should write a book on her life, makes me laugh and never ever takes offence when I feel the need to say what’s on my mind.
As far as anyone I haven’t mentioned, let me say finally I’m blessed to have (& had) in various ways many wonderful women in my life who have left a smile & warm touch on my soul and taught me many things which make me who I am.
“If I could be you, if you could be me
For just one hour, if we could find a way
To get inside each other’s mind
If you could see you through my eyes
Instead your own ego I believe you’d be
I believe you’d be surprised to see
That you’ve been blind
Walk a mile in my shoes
just walk a mile in my shoes
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Then walk a mile in my shoes…”
Walk a Mile in My Shoes (words & music by Joe South) performed by Elvis Presley.
Shortly after I began WordPress blogging I came across Commonwealth Bank’s Women in Focus Global Blogger Search Competition – In My Shoes. It was a great opportunity to practise blogging and continue my D.I.Y. social media education. For me the prize was the process, although it would have been a hoot to travel to New York or Mt Kilimanjaro with Mrs S.
Fortunately several elladee post ideas leant themselves to the theme. Now the competition has ended I’m posting them as intended, with just a few edits thanks to wisdom of Robin Coyle.
This is post 1 of 4 of my blog “one foot in front of the other”.
22 thoughts on “walk a mile in my shoes”
Why am I thinking déja vu? I’ve either read something similar on here or elsewhere. I also read DINK as DKNY! (very 80s).
How lovely to have a friend who you can’t offend. I’m not sure I have any, and I know I am not so generous either. What a treasure you have there.
We had a neighbour (and friend) who kept birds in his house, (budgies I think), and every morning they were happily allowed out of their cages to fly around freely, and then went back to sleep at night in their cages. I’ve no idea what happened about the cleaning up, but he liked to have them flying around.
Given you are not averse to clicking on links, you possibly did so to the link I posted to the WIF blog earlier in the year in my efforts at fulfilling the self promotion aspects of the competition… Mrs S is “gold” but we won’t be telling her so any time soon. The thought of [the smell of] keeping birds in the house gives me the horrors. And bats: rodents with yucky rubbery wings 😦
That would be right. Realised at the time I couldn’t enter. 😦 Just clicked again and was appalled at the winning blogs on the main page. How banal and trite. How to eat, how to dress, yawn yawn yawn. Tell me something new, please. It seems generations X,Y and Z don’t know it all after all. 😉
Kind of you to say 🙂 I though WIF were looking for a certain type of blogger, but the winner was ok. The runner up, Lady Whatesername put in a big networking effort including contacting humble me… You might be I imagine (I was), appalled to know Lady Whatesername blogged that she bought a Scottish title as part of her business marketing strategy… Good on her but I thought it was, if true, a bit wanky 😉
Not my type of reading at all. I got so bored I couldn’t be bothered to look up their winning posts. And the winning winner clogged up my browser for ages. I’ll stick to your winning efforts every time 😉
Elladee your insight into your friends and why they are special is beautiful to say the least. With a capacity to appreciate like that it is easy to see why you gather so many wonderful sounding folk around you. Loved reading this. Thanks.
Thank you for such a lovely comment. While I was putting this post together (prior to the competition) I had fun thinking about how it would be being me being them… oh dear… I just haven’t got what it takes. Interestingly, since I first wrote this post WP has also gifted me some wonderful bloggers who have broadened my horizons, and who I would now be able to consider walking a mile in their shoes.
Lately I have begun taking inventory of the people in my life. I’ll admit, I was prone to complain, deciding that, at the age of 30, I should be surrounded by more people I love and who love me in return. Though I can count them on my hand, I know God placed each of those people in my life for a reason, and for that I am grateful.
This was a lovely post, Ella — and it’s no wonder, with a perspective such as yours, maintaining an open and honest line of communication, that you have the quality and quantity of friendships that you do.
Thank you. What a beautiful comment. Oh, I still complain, and sometimes friendships’ are due more to others’ efforts than mine. It’s great to reflect & value, and blogging is a good way to process your thoughts & feelings.
I agree, completely! Quite therapeutic, blogging!
And I think the pendulum swings both ways; sometimes you are getting more than you are giving, and sometimes, the other way around. Everything has a season.
Hope you are well!
What a fantastic question, I will think about it but only for a mile, i quite like my old shoes!! c
Thank you. I think I’d have to add you to my list, but only for a while, your life sounds fun & fulfilling but exhausting 🙂
Such a lovely and thought-provoking post. I often remind myself that everyone is fighting a hard battle. But I can’t say I’ve ever thought much about putting myself in a friends’ shoes, and I think its a really nice way to appreciate both our beautiful friends and our own lives. Thanks for sharing your thoughts elladee.
Thank you. Since I’ve been blogging I’ve added quite a few “virtual” people who live in completely different circumstances to me, to the list of shoes I’d like to take a stroll in 🙂
Just loved this post!
Thank you. Since I wrote the post, I’ve ‘”met” many bloggers who I think it would be great to spend a day in their shoes 🙂
It is really hard to step outside yourself and see all the amazing things in your life. I almost wish we could do body swaps for a day or a few hours. Just to see things differently and understand the people around us better. 🙂
Thank you. It was a therapeutic post to write, & I really enjoyed it, as I was looking around for new directions in life at the time, and ended up blogging due to a random conversation with the third friend I wrote about, which opened up a whole new world of seeing and understanding 🙂
This is a wonderful post. To simply be in the moment of experience and gather so much wisdom from observation – wonderful. I am so glad we will be continuing exploring life by sharing our blog stories with each other. I look forward to more interesting adventures. blessings and peace to you and thanks for following along. Beth
Thank you – lovely & inspiring comment. Since I wrote this started blogging, and write this post so many new inspiring people have entered my life 🙂
Thank you so much for following my blog !