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You know when you start out hating something but then at some point you begin to see the yang to the yin? I think maybe everything is really like this but all of us don’t really need to experience it every time with everything. Some things we are already easier with and can see the sense of both sides.

I kind of love it when this happens because it makes me feel like I’m getting somewhere in life. It’s like when you try to develop a new habit or break a bad habit. There are always two sides to it. Otherwise you wouldn’t need to change anything. James Clear wrote an excellent book called Atomic Habits in which he explains both establishing new habits and trying to break old ones. He explains it beautifully but essentially…there is always a pay off. You fall into a bad habit because there was a payoff, it saved you some time, it was easier on a hard day, whatever. Likewise when you start a new habit there is a payoff…but it might take a little longer for the payoff on that one, which is why it is good to start small and build.

My most recent discovery has been a total surprise. Did not see it coming. Blindsided me totally. Some of you might be reading my current saga of having foot surgery. It turns out being 98% off my feet for two weeks wearing post-surgical Frankenstein sandals has been enlightening in a number of ways.

Jumping (forgive the pun) right into it, the sandals…awkward and ugly and only moderately comfortable because they keep my very sore post-surgical feet from moving almost completely. Those would be the good qualities…except for the ugly part. No one wants ugly footwear. 

Let me explain.

Minus the walking frame I used for the first week, and a different tee shirt, this was my outfit day and night. I did eventually find a stretchy pair of knitted pants to wear which was much more comfortable.

The main rules for recovering from bi-lateral bone spur removal, metatarsal correction and bunion correction were, 1) wear the fitted post surgical sandals 24/7  2) for two weeks, only be on your feet to go to the loo or make a cup of tea. (Presumably that also included getting my thermos filled with water a couple of times a day, but they didn’t say that and I am none the worse for wear) And the other main rule was 3) do NOT get those bandages wet. That one I managed except for a dribble while washing my face at the sink on day 8. Minimal dribbling, did not penetrate more than very superficially as the bandages are quite thick. Phew.

Every evening around 7pm when I am at home in Alice, dinner is done and we sit down to watch the news. I take off my shoes and my feet get to stretch and flex and it is my body’s signal to relax. So every evening for about 10 days when I was watching the news after the surgery at our daughter’s house in Adelaide, at 7pm my feet and I would nearly have a panic attack that I could not remove the coverings. It literally felt claustrophobic and for half an hour or so I would feel quite agitated. But it would subside. It felt like I was going to bed fully clothed every night, shoes on, in my ‘trendy’ wide-legged jeans and my sleep tee shirt. When I turned over in the night in bed, I had to wake slightly because square edges on blocks covering one’s feet do not roll smoothly under bed covers. And then I would struggle to get back to sleep. I was trying not to hate it, but I did not love it.

However, slowly, I was adjusting.

And then I misjudged the proximity of a chair leg. The front square edge of the sandal hit the leg! I prepared to wince or drop to the floor in abject misery…but I felt no pain. I did, however, immediately feel gratitude. I was so thankful for the clunky edge of that totally functional piece of footwear for protecting my already very bruised and sore toes.

I know you’ve seen this shot before, but now you can focus on how totally functional and non-beautiful the sandals are! And how totally sweet my nurse-sausage dog Leni was.

The next day I began to send little vibes of affection to those sandals. I realised that my feet were healing and that I wasn’t impeding the progress because the sandals were doing their job for me. They made it very hard to walk, so I didn’t want to. They were a reminder I couldn’t ignore, to not stand and not walk for too long. They were totally inspirational to get my feet well and never have to go through this again. And they reminded me how much I love wearing cute shoes.

And then I remembered, my feet had not been cold for 11 days and nights. I normally have cold feet. Ask my husband. Even in summer they can be cold, but in winter they are just like ice blocks unless I’m wearing socks with shoes. So, effectively, I have been wearing sock bandages with shoes in the autumnal cool, damp weather.

Warm feet….another thing to be grateful for.