Monday, 24 May 2010

Walk the walk

I have been reflecting on and off about my search for the Voom. In so doing I have been asking people to tell me what is the single biggest issue or challenge they face right now.

I have had some wonderful and frank responses. 

Biggest concern/issue?

The future of America
The state of public education
The "looming" European financial crisis
BA strikes
The World Cup draw
Sick partner
Personal finances
Moving house and attendant issues
Career angst
Where to go on holidays
What to eat for dinner
New Haircut
Children's wellbeing

And of course global warming, volcanoes, terrorism, crime, illness, disability, unemployment are always lurking in the shadows.

Clearly, a huge range of issues plague us and the comments reflect not just personal situations but mindset and perspective. I felt a little humbled by some of the replies. They certainly put my carbuncle into a new light...

You see, today I hobbled around town in my semi-dressed up "work" shoes. I have several blisters, bruised ankles (from where I repeatedly smashed one heavy heel into the other foot) and a carbuncle to show for it. Today was a warm day and my first opportunity to wear the shoes in question this year. I was pitching for a price of work. I did not win the work. I am waiting to receive some feedback about the meeting and looking forward to learning from the situation. If not for the next time I am pitching my skills and experience, at least so as to better manage my footwear in the future.

So earlier today, the sun beating down on my weary brow and my feet aching and sore, my biggest problem was how to get home and get those shoes off. Thankfully, my problem was temporary and relatively tiny. Many are not so lucky.

So what can be done?

Should we focus on small, solvable problems? Like making lists replete with myriad tasks you would do anyway - like have a coffee, make the bed, buy new train ticket. Such a list is exceedingly gratifying; a seemingly endless plethora of tasks can be achieved with ease and aplomb. The satisfaction that flows therefrom can light one from within - like a lighthouse - a beacon for lost souls, at risk of foundering on the rocks of life. At least for a time - or til the next list is drawn up and the pen wielded.

Should we stay focussed on the big issues because it makes no sense to stress the small stuff?

Or should we concentrate on something in between the two extremes?

I daresay one needs to be flexible. Sometimes, the big stuff looms up and puts the little into a new perspective, after all. Now that my feet are bare, the off-Spring asleep and the work of the day completed, I turn to the Voom conundrum once more. It sits beside me, my loyal companion, like a sleepy old dog at my heel, wondering when it will be thrown a bone or a toy to gnaw on. I wish it would move just a little forward and centre though so I could prop the old plates of meat up.

Now I know that you will be saying to yourself - the inner voices are saying it loud and proud - get a life Springgirl. Get some real problems. Count your blessings - you have nothing else to worry about. 

Fair points. I do have other concerns but I choose not to make them worries. And I do have a life, but it is pretty contained and slow and pleasant and I am very happy with it and grateful for it. No, I am not smug, just grateful and aware of how lucky I am.

And as for the Voom, well I have some ideas about that too and how to use the Voom which is already part of my perspective and mindset; ideas about getting the Voom out there, as it were.

Anyway, I find that I return often to the whole perspective and mindset piece and realise that what I am in fact most grateful for is not my situation or circumstances, though they are by any standard good and fine - but rather, the perspective and mindset. 

In other words, while I have the luxury of musing over the Voom, I need to remember that for many Voom is just a word. An irrelevant little sound that will never penetrate their reality. They might think they heard "tomb" or "kaboom", "vacuum" or "doom", "messy room" or cars that "zoom".

To put it metaphorically, I wonder if we all need to walk a mile in someone else's shoes and see what really matters for them before we can truly comment on what matters or what needs Voom. Though perhaps we would not need to go for a mile in every case; maybe just around the block.

Will you come with me - in someone else's shoes? I am almost certain, unless you have fat puffy feet like mine, caused by ill fitting shoes worn too long, that you will feel very happy with your own shoes afterwards.

Come on then. 

Where to start. There - I saw her first. Hey, you, teetering in the high backless heels, you know you want to throw them off and touch the ground for a moment. Come on, I will take really good care of them. (She is short, eh?) Let me try those things on. Crikey, these should be illegal, This is like a pogo stick or being half way up a pole vault. Wow. (No wonder she looks so pinched in and miserable.) She must spend more on her feet than small nations do on their road systems. But hey, horses for courses. Who am I to comment? Seriously, I need to take these off. That's better. 

Moving along. You, there in the flip flops, all too eager to dash about barefooted, why not come and share your slip-slap-flapping-on-the-flagstones freedom with me? Not bad. But I feel I am clenching every muscle. Do you clench? Oops, it came right off. How do you walk in these things?

I think I will try another pair. Hello. Can I try your shoes for a moment? These look rather fetching. Sparkly and casual and daintily supportive. The straps cut in somewhat, no? Pretty, but slippy. Very flat. Mmm. Ouch! Shees man. Skinned my knee...

Maybe another go. I see you there, you, at the back. Those brogues. Classy, masculine - nice. A little constraining, but neat and - conformist? But so comfortable! Now this is my sort of foot apparel.

I like these ones. Time to swop though. I might just give these crocs a crack. Uughh. Bit stinky. What are they made from? tyres? Eco-friendly then? Why is there so much dirt on them - oh the holes. Maybe those other ones instead? Yes the recycled denim ones. Not bad, if a little tight.

Oh look, wellies. So cool. So nouveau rural. Lovely. Hot and gapey, but they do go with everything.

Finally, bright white trainers. Just do it Springgirl. Feel the spring in these bad boys! Love them. Everyone should be wearing these. What? Everyone is wearing these? Where have I been?

Oh I like those - those pink loafers, they look like mine. Suede and soft and beautiful. Pragmatic yet elegant. 

Shall we stop there. Are we all back in our own shoes (and socks(!))? Is that a pack of antiseptic wipes? Excellent!

Where was I? That was rather fun. Rich learning there. Lots of Voom moments!

Yet, the grass is not greener, nor the sky bluer nor the air fresher in spiky heels. One is taller though. 

And in wellies? Well the grass did seem greener...

And in those brogues, everything seemed cleaner...

Mmm. Maybe I should do this again. Only next time I will make it a mile, afterall...

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