Our blogs are all about health, fitness and food, however we also think a lot about our mental health as well, so this post has some relevance to our quest for happiness through health… (it was also triggered through acquiring some cycling kit for my up-coming triathlon season)
I am lucky enough to work for the UWE (University of the West of England) who take part in the Cycle to Work Scheme where employees can receive a sizable tax break when buying a cycle directly from their gross salary. Along with my new road bike, I bought some clip-in shoes, and when I got them home I suddenly realised just how many pairs of shoes I own, and by comparison remembered some of the people I’ve met on my extensive travels who either only have a single pair of footwear to their name, share a pair with family or friends (or the entire village), or have no shoes at all!
This has led me to feel quite a lot of shame in how well-off I actually am that I not only have a roof over my head and don’t want for anything, but also have an excess of items in my possession! When I left for my round-the-world adventure back in 2008, I left very little behind, and I learned on my trip that possessions don’t make people happy, in fact they tie people down, clutter the mind and a lot of them don’t really serve much purpose. To that end I have been careful to not slip back into that lifestyle of buying and collecting ‘stuff’. Yet here I find myself reflecting on owning 13 pairs of shoes and feeling pretty bad about it knowing that there are people out there who literally have none… Each of them has a ‘use’, but do I really need each pair? Probably not if I’m honest about it!
We’re not wasteful people and are very mindful about our impact on the planet. We watch our water and energy consumption, avoid unneccessary trips in the car, compost our food waste, recycle everything we possibly can, and re-use what we can. We also donate old and unused clothing, linen, towels and shoes to local charities, but this latest realisation still irks!
Generally when people make these kind of discoveries in themselves, they will shut up and keep it to themselves. However, I feel the need to name and shame myself! I suspect that if I were to compare myself to the general population in the UK or USA, my collection of shoes might pale in significance to others’, so I’m hoping this might resonate with some readers and cause some positive reflection if nothing else…! 😉
So, what am I going to do about it?!
- Firstly there is my recent post about a small island community in Fiji which touched my very soul during my stay there, which is currently campaigning to re-open to give the family some much-needed income and a sustainable business. I have made a donation to that cause, and will support it as much as I can. It means so much to me, and I know the great benefit it will bring to those people.
- Secondly, this realisation has driven me to want to help more people who need it! I have always supported charities over the years in one way or another, but I feel now that I need to specifically target some organisations to get help to people that need it. To that end I will be researching and looking for suitable organisations or causes (home and abroad) to which I can make some difference. This will most probably come in the form of donations from myself and money-raising through certain physical and mental challenges. [I won’t be attempting any marathons in flip-flops to make my point though before you suggest it! But if I am going to own and use state-of-art running or cycling shoes, I think its only fair that they do some miles to help people who might never have any shoes!]
So, watch this space for news to that end…
The shoes in question (and their £cost when new):
- Asics Gel Asperatus Running Shoes £55 – Bought in May 2011 & now used regularly as gym or cycling shoes
- Specialized MTB Cycling £100 – Bought in Feb 2013 for clipping into my new road bike
- 5.11 Tactical ‘Police’ Workboots £95 – Bought in Jan 2013 for work (the boots they supply are terrible!), worn often and doing many miles
- Next Brown Leather Casual Shoes £35 – Bought in Apr 2012, worn occasionally
- Lonsdale Driving Shoes £25 – Bought in 2005!! Used many times for spirited drives, track days and karting
- Red Chili Climbing Shoes £45 – Bought in Jun 2010 and completely knackered now (still used for long days at the wall though cos they’re comfy!)
- Corona VCR Bouldering Shoes £85 – Bought in Sep 2012, insanely aggressive and mega sticky climbing shoes, used a lot!
- Fake Puma Flip-flops (bought in Nepal) £1! – Bought in Apr 2012, now used at the swimming pool or camping
- Clarks Active-Air £45 – Bought in Jan 2013 for everyday use, sooooo comfy!
- Converse Custom Boots £60! – Bought in Jan 2013 on a whim!
- Next Black Leather Dress Shoes £45 – Bought in Feb 2011 for a wedding, used rarely
- Meindl Hiking Boots £275! – Bought in Feb 2012 for a serious 5 week mission in Nepal, used a lot!
- Mizuno Waverider-15 Running Shoes £75 – Bought Jul 2012 for running more miles, used a lot!
All the shoes I own come in a total cost (when new) of £941!!! OMG!
Need or Greed?
Guilty as charged!