Still Kicking! (And wearing fabulous shoes)

Sunny50Kickingby Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown       

Photo by Billy Brown


Well, the BIG birthday came and went and I’m happy to report that I’m still alive and kicking! However, I must admit that I haven’t reached this mid-life milestone without doing a little “sole” searching along the way. They say that you never really know a person until you have walked in their shoes. And as I continue on this journey of self-discovery that we call Life, I thought that’s where I might find myself, too. So, I decided to do some shoe shopping, to find the perfect pair for stepping into the next stage of my life, as a little birthday gift to myself. 

In case you weren’t aware of it, our shoes have a way of revealing our soles. When we step into a pair of shoes, we are stepping into an identity. Just ask any little girl playing dress up, clomping around in her mom’s high heels. But she’s just emulating her mom. When you are buying a pair of shoes for yourself, you are creating a whole new identity, trying on someone new for size. And that is what was on my mind as I was shoe shopping for my birthday gift. I mean, who do I want to be in this next stage of my life? That’s an important question and not one to be taken lightly. Your shoes actually have a lot to say about you. In fact, our shoes carry a lot of weight. More than we might intend. Therefore, it is most important that they be the right fit. It helps if they have the right name.

Yes, I am here to remind you that shoes have names. And even the people who name shoes recognize how important it is to have the right one. So I had to find the right shoe name, too! I don’t want to be caught walking around in a shoe that doesn’t fit me. I don’t need another identity crisis. I have noticed that the cuter, sexier, higher heels all have names like “Jenny,” “Brittany,” and “Cherry.” They all end in a “y.” And the shoes with the cuter-sounding names all have the better “free gifts,” too. I’m convinced of it. Now, I won’t even look at a shoe that doesn’t end in a “y.” I have sworn to never buy myself another shoe named the plain “Jane.” And I have never seen a pair of shoes named “Lee Ann.” It’s just as I suspected—all this time I have been the victim of a mistaken identity.

Now, recognizing the importance of having the right shoe, I was looking for a pair of heels that would help me to kick up my heels at turning 50 but not leave me limping in pain afterward. I wanted a shoe that was not too young, nothing like a “Candy,” but nothing that looked like I already had one foot in my grave, either. So you can imagine how I felt when I opened a birthday gift from my mom and it was a pair of orthopedic shoes. And not even high-heeled ones! I was just imagining what kind of “free gift” comes with a pair of shoes like that: a walker, an appointment for knee surgery or spine realignment. And then she handed me the cane that came with them. Talk about feeling over-the-hill.

Wherever my next step in life might take me, I can assure you that I am not planning on trading in my high heels for some kind of orthopedic shoes. Because after all this shoe shopping, I finally came to understand the meaning of the phrase, “Know thyself.” I guess taking 50 years is better late than never.

Those orthopedic shoes might look like they would have fit for my old name, but they are definitely not for the new one I have given myself. “Lee Ann” might be 50—but Sunny has just been born! And I found a pair of shoes that are the perfect fit. I call them the “Sunny.”

So for the next half of my life, I plan on kicking up my heels in a fabulous pair of stilettos, finally embracing the real me, and that’s the best free gift of all.

Leave a Reply