Same Old Shoes.


Every year, we are given a brand new, shiny pair of shoes for Christmas. We are so excited to try them on, but decide to wait until the new year. Every day for nearly a whole week we carefully lift them out of the box and spend time staring at them, envisioning ourselves in them and thinking about what everyone will say. This will be the best year, we believe that they will enable us to jump further and run for longer, that we will be faster and more powerful, all because of these new shoes. On January the first, we eventually try them on. They’re a little to big. To much space at the toes, and even when we pull the laces as tight as we can, they feel too loose, and trip us up when we try to run.

For a few days we persevere with the new shoes.
We convince ourselves that they fit, that we’ll grow into them.
But we have fully grown, adult sized feet.
Deep down we know these shoes will never fit.

We feel stupid and angry. All we wanted to do was show off, to feel good in the new and shiny shoes.
We try to avoid leaving the house. What’s the point in going out if you’re in the same old shoes you wore last year? Nothing exciting ever happened in those shoes. They’re old and run down. Eventually, we must venture outside, so we lace up the new shoes, determined to try one last time to make them fit. Barely are we out of the front door when we trip up over a chipped paving stone and fall flat on our face. Tearing the shoes off our feet, our eyes brimming with an unstoppable ocean of tears we slam the door behind us and sink to the floor. We failed. We had this beautiful intention of wearing our brand-new shoes and letting them walk the walk for us, but we failed.
Reluctantly we go to our cupboard and pull out our tatty, hand-me-down trainers, the ones the new pair were supposed to replace. We pull them onto our feet, the familiar snug fit hugs our arches and heels, like they were made for us. They feel secure as if they were welcoming our feet home.  We do up the laces in silence and then just stare at them.

As we walk down the road we feel our shoes propelling us forward. They have walked these streets before. They know where we are going. Walking with purpose, we feel inspired to keep walking and see where we end up. With each step, we are reminded of how much we achieved last year in these shoes. How many miles we ran and trees we climbed. We don’t need the new shiny shoes at all.

Hello to the same old pair of shoes, but a new spring to the step of the feet inside them. A new direction. A new purpose. Our old shoes are tired and worn, holes in the heel and sellotape around the toes. The laces have been replaced at least twice and don’t match. But with every puddle they stamp in, every hill they climb, every quick dash to jump on the train just in time, they remain optimistic about the safe return home.
We have lost our old shoes before. Yearning for more adventure than we could provide, they untangled themselves from our back-pack strap and fell to the fate of the streets, months later turning up in the local thrift store.

Our old shoes are molded to the shape of our feet. After years of wearing them, we are used to the thin soles, to the feel of every stone and splinter we tred on. Used to the slight pinch on our left baby toe. We complain about it all the time, but miss it when we find ourselves barefoot. There was a whole month when we wore these shoes every day. To dance clubs, job interviews and beach walks. Our old shoes were more a part of us than anything else, and people knew us by our shoes. They carried us through every new city, heartbreak and adventure.
Our shoes are heavy. We recognize the weight of them in our bag, we feel lighter without them – too light, as if the wind could just sweep us off our feet. They take our weight through every terrain. In them we have tripped and stumbled, we have succumbed to many scrapped knees and bleeding knuckles. But with every embarrassing fall, they pick us up and propel us forward with even more purpose and passion than before.

It may be a new year, but our old shoes still fit us better. It’s not the shoes that have to change, but the feet inside them. Our old shoes are the same. But we are different.

Using cake as a metaphor for...something...

I've been thinking a lot about motivation. Goals. Passion. What does it mean? Where does it come from? How do we get it? Can we make it ourselves?

Is it something we have to conjour up ourselves, or is it like a store bought cake ready-mix? Is there somewhere you can buy a nice tidy box of motivation, all properly packaged and labeled, with a set of instruction on how to use it? Do we have to add our own ingredients? Where do we get those from? Can you cheat and just buy a ready made cake and skip the hard part of actually baking it? Or is it the making of the cake that allows us to fully appreciate the final taste. (I really hope someone out there understands this metaphor...)

Many of these questions are all ones I have fully accepted I may never know the answers to, as I know that motivation and goals change as we grow. What motivates us one day might bore us the next, and that's okay. What I think most people find difficult, isn't the mustering up of motivation, its the harnessing that passion and achieving the goals you set. (To stick with the metaphor, it's easy to buy ingredients to make a cake, but it can be tough to find a recipe, let alone to go ahead and actually bake it!) 

So lets stick with that conundrum. Picture the scene...

It's a cold and rainy day, you're sitting in your underwear, scrolling through Instagram, wishing you could get into that yoga pose, or make a smoothie bowl that looked that aesthetically pleasing (yes, it's a tough life being a twenty-something girl) and generally wanting more from your life. All of a sudden you find yourself staring down at the most beautiful creation you.have.ever.seen. A ten layer rainbow cake, with chocolate caramel filling between each rainbowy slice of heaven, covered in the juiciest looking strawberries you have ever seen, topped with a selection of white chocolate dipped peanut butter cups, ever so sexily placed on a plate that is surrounded by ripe blueberries and chocolate truffles. (Yes. This is my ultimate cake fantasy. Friends and family feel free to take notes for my upcoming birthday..) You instantly know that your life purpose has been fulfilled. It's simply your destiny to not only recreate this cake, but do it even bigger and better.

You have great intentions. You rush out to the shop straight away, and spend hours trailing around all of the supermarkets looking for all the exact ingredients (logistically tricky if you're in Scotland like me, because ripe fruit simply doesn't exist..) and it costs you a bomb. But that''s okay, because this is going to be the cake that will change your life, give you purpose. This cake is everything you've been looking for, it will validate you.

You get home. Heave the bag up on to the counter and begin unpacking all the ingredients, you're just about to get out your mixing bowl and wooden spoon when you hear the phone ring..

Something comes up. You have to go to work. To uni. Something happens in your family. You fall out with a friend. Or you just sit down and cant be bothered any more. You see the ingredients in the corner of your eye every time you go into the kitchen. They become a threat, willing you to bake them.

Days go past.

Weeks.

Months.

You've been putting it off for so long now, you can barely remember what the cake looks like, and the thought of baking it seems like so much effort, it actually starts to scare you. You create a cake complex in your own head, convincing yourself that you were just never meant to bake a cake. You begin to feel guilty every time you see anyone else post a picture of a cake on social media, so much so that you just unfollow everyone so you never have to confront a cake again. 

9/10 times (in my own experience) the cake will never get baked. I know that I personally have about 20 different cake recipes stuck up on my wall, all with big notes on them saying "START BAKING TODAY" or "YOU WANT TO BAKE THIS CAKE. THIS CAKE WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE" But I don't. 

The questions that I want to address are; "How do we find the energy to bake the cake" and "How do we continue to bake cakes consistently while dealing with the more mundane aspects of grown up life" Because though baking cakes is hard, its an important aspect of life...Wait sorry, I mean "How do we create motivation" and "How do we keep that passion alive long term" Because finding passions and setting goals can be hard, but its vital.

We would be nothing if none of us had passions and dreams. Having something to work on gives us purpose in this crazy and hectic life. It makes us who we are. Every awesome thing that we humans have achieved was originally a crazy dream in a dark corner of someones brain. Without the motivation to succeed, we wouldn't have any of the things that have changed the way we live our lives, like pre-sliced bagels!!!!

So if you enjoy ridiculous metaphors, bad jokes and rambling blogs that probably dont make sense to sane people, then stick around to help me (maybe, hopefully..) figure out everything there is to know about motivation....