Growing up in a very practically minded family, my parents always told me, “You can wear whatever you want but you cannot complain.” This resulted in my clothing choices maybe not being always the most practical; as a child I liked to wear my butterfly embroidered jeans when visiting the park on mid July afternoons, and my poorly insulated pink petticoat to the outdoor ice arena in December. Rarely was I suitably dressed for the situation but I felt like I had the freedom of choice and consequently I never wanted to complain. I had some control over the situation I was in, therefore, I was in control of my attitude. I still carry that same mindset with me today.
On our recent IMBY retreat to Mt. Rainier National Park, I made the conscious decision to bring one pair of shoes (I was trying to pack lightly) and I decided to bring my favorite pair: my brown Birkenstock sandals. For the majority of the trip it was a great call. They were easy to slip off so I could put my feet up in the car, they were easy to walk in, and most importantly, my feet didn’t feel trapped. However, as we were exploring the Paradise Visitor center, I watched my cohort one by one make their way to the hillsides covered in feet of compacted snow to do group pictures.
It was at this moment I started to question my footwear choice. Not only would my bare feet be exposed to the icy slush, but I could tell by watching others it was going to be slick and my beloved Birks had little to no traction left on their well-worn soles. I stood at the base of the entrance for a moment as I pondered my situation. It was tempting to stay right there and be the long shot photographer, but I could hear my parents in the back of my mind reminding me whose decision it was to wear sandals on a camping trip. Although I fully realized that my old Birks and the icy snow weren’t the most perfect of pairs, I plunged ahead, taking on that hill as if I were adorned in the highest quality pair of snow boots. It’s easy to say that I was rewarded for my sacrifice. We all had a blast: throwing snow, slipping and sliding, as well as taking ALL the pictures. This was arguably one of the best moments of our whirlwind trip and I barely noticed how cold my feet were.
We all make little decisions every day that affect the way we experience life’s moments. Sometimes our choices leave us better prepared for some moments than others, but even if we make the “wrong” choice, it doesn’t have to stop us from seizing the moment and making wonderful memories. So go ahead, wear those sandals, and let them take you on an adventure!