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I see the Mayor is getting out his signs again this year. This is a welcome sight because he deserves another term for...

Janet Storm: Same shoes, you lose; living life in a rut

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Sunday, August 25, 2019

The other day I was doing a little nocturnal online shopping at one of favorite sites when I spotted some shoes I really liked.

My finger was hovering over the purchase button when a thought suddenly occurred to me. I went into the front hallway and opened a chest where I keep most of my shoes.

There, close to the top, was a pair almost identical to the shoes I had considered purchasing. The only difference was the color.

I tried to shrug this off as an example of “I like what I like,” but really, it was a bit worrying. I have a tendency to buy similar things over and over again. Some people get stuck in a rut; I seem to be living in one.

I could point out a dozen examples, but none are more telling than the glasses spectacle. I tend to keep things I no longer need, and a few years ago I went on a streak of working to clear stuff away. I decided to donate several old pairs of glasses to charity and starting digging them out from various sites in my home.

I could have sworn I had tried to update my style but every pair seemed almost identical — mid-sized brown frames. In a fit of pique, I purchased new wire frames. But if I hadn’t dug out those old pairs, I am pretty sure I would have been purchasing the same style for the rest of my life.

Having dogs certainly isn’t much help in escaping my rut. Dogs love routine and my two little guys are perfectly happy getting up, going for walks, having meals and climbing into bed at the same time every day. In fact, changes to the routine make them cross and anxious, further motivating me to retain a familiar pattern.

I can’t blame everything on the Storm boys, however. As my taste in footwear and eyewear show, I have been digging this rut far longer than they have been around. Although I do like to travel, for the most part I seem to stick to the same places and things I find familiar and comfortable. That’s not a particularly admirable trait.

Realizing this, I am taking some baby steps toward changing my ways. I didn’t buy those shoes, for one. I have vowed that the next pair I purchase will be unlike anything I have worn in recent memory. I’ve already inched forward in that direction with my wire-frame glasses.

You may wonder why this matters to me. After all, not many people notice or care about my clothing choices or repetitive life habits.

But here’s the thing — years ago I read a science fiction story about people become so comfortable and safe in their respective ruts that they stopped leaving their homes and even sacrificed an opportunity for universal peace. Ruts can make you feel secure but if they grow too deep, they can trap you in one spot, keeping you from growing and embracing changes.

That’s never a good thing.

So, as I said, baby steps. Maybe I’ll try a new restaurant or buy a book from an emerging author. Perhaps the boys would like to explore a fresh walking route. Heck, even going to a movie that doesn’t feature super heroes would count.

And maybe I’ll stop doing any late-night shopping. Shoes — and a lot of other choices — look different in the light of day.

Contact jstorm@reflector.com or 252-329-9587.

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

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