…and that’s just what they’ll do…
I have been blessed with a very curious nature. My entire life, I have always questioned the world around me. This is part of what makes me a good listener – I’m attentive and interested to find out more, but this is also part of what makes me stick out like a sore thumb. Sure, in my teenage years my questioning of authority came across as youthful rebellion, but it always came from a genuine place. “Why?” Because you said so? That’s not an answer. Over the years, I have been challenging more and more of what is “normal” in this world; always pushing onto these ideas the logical rationale of Why. So, what does this have to do with the title? Well, for some time now I’ve been interested in a concept that I began to try out this morning – going barefoot.
Here comes the question: Why do we wear shoes? I’m not interested in the history of fashion and walking in human filth, I’m talking about right now in south Orange County. God didn’t design my feet to wear shoes, so why do I? Style and social norms are the only real reasons. When I was first finding my own sense of style, I often told my friend Joe, “…comfort over style.” Yet, if you know me, you know that I’m certainly no slob. The key to that statement is practicality. If an article of clothing is painful or hindering, it should be done away with. My jeans, t-shirts, slacks, ties, and suspenders all fit a certain style, but never at the expense of my physical well-being. Shoes, however, so negate the foot’s natural movement, that the good can’t outweigh the bad. Indeed, I have done quite a bit of reading on the topic, and it seems to be very widely accepted that walking barefoot is the best thing for the body. In a brash moment last night, I decided to start a personal test with my morning walks.
I walk around without shoes at home, but my feet aren’t very accustomed to being bare outside. This morning I went on my regular 30 minute walk, and I went barefoot. I found golf clubs sticking out of someone’s trashcan, too good to let go, so for the last half of my walk, I was quite the sight to behold: a man walking through the neighborhood, unshaven for a few days, barefoot, and carrying 4 golf clubs. After I returned home and went into my room to stretch, I noticed that each of my feet had two blisters on them. However, sitting here now, both feet planted on the ground, I can already feel the blisters fading away. It will take time to build up my skin’s thickness, and there is no doubt that I will learn to walk correctly (something that’s not possible while wearing shoes), but that’s what makes it an experiment! Like I last posted Sammy’s lyrics – “Whether I’m right, or whether I’m wrong…” there is no reason not to try :-).
Perhaps I will live the rest of my life sans footwear, or perhaps I will return to wearing shoes for every occasion, but only time and logic can tell. When I have my own children, one of the greatest things I will do is to encourage them to constantly question their world with a healthy curiosity. The point is never to be strange just to be so, or to fight just to do so, but to find the best way of living – even if it doesn’t quite mix with what’s “normal.”
Having a dad that wears nice pants, fitted dress shirts, suspenders, ties… and no shoes can only reinforce that idea for them ;-).