Culture

The marvel of tying my shoelaces

I just sat on my treadmill to put my sneakers on and lace them up. Then it hit me. What a wondrous thing it is to tie my shoelaces. I slowed down my actions and thought of how I do this action day in and day out. It’s an intricate action that has become automatic. As I sat here thinking and pondering the intricacies of tying one’s shoelaces, I recalled a blog piece Billy Bob Thornton was recently quoted in. I liked him, loved him in Sling Blade. Other that, not so much. Oh wait, I liked Bad Santa as well. Anyway, I am not necessarily a big Billy Bob fan. Ahem. However, he has a point. He noted in this piece, we have lost our sense of wonder and we are speeding through life not savoring the moments. So, in this moment I’m savoring (loosely speaking), how I lace up my sneakers. I urge you to do the same.

My seven year old son still doesn’t know how to tie his shoes and this is partly because his current set of shoes all use velcro. What a life! Its akin to that easy button that is often advertised on American television. I most certainly can use an easy button, clone or a life-velcro to get me through my days of gore and bore. Boy I have been all over the place in this piece. Back to my shoelace tale.

As I tied my shoelaces, I looked at how I looped and criss-crossed the laces. If I can automatically do this action, life isn’t so hard. Yes, that is a bit of an oversimplification on my part. My point is that as adults we take on all sorts of complicated actions on a daily basis that we don’t even think twice about. Why do we then fret about the little things?

My son still frets about tying his shoelaces. To help him learn to tie his laces, I can turn to hundreds of videos, books and board games. For something so simple, there are thousands of “how-tos”. These days, there isn’t much that doesn’t come with a step-by-step instruction book. Why must we make life so complicated? Although, I will readily admit that several years ago I did look up “how to boil an egg”.

Ok. Back to small intricate wonders. The day my son conquers the shoelace task, he will rejoice and brag about it as little kids tend to do. Then a few months later he will forget his grand accomplishment for it will have become second nature. It will be onto his next major step in life. I hope that next major step will entail making his own peanut butter and toast at 5am. I will certainly rejoice and applaud.

Onto my treadmill I go having tied my shoelaces. I run, write a blog post and watch How to Get Away with Murder on my iPad. From intricate, now rote, actions such as tying our shoelaces to multi-tasking. We evolve. We grow. We do. We do without even thinking.

We evolve. I have evolved. Everyday I do a hundred and one things that at one point I couldn’t/ didn’t know how to do. Tomorrow or the next that will be a hundred and two.

9 replies »

  1. Well said. Life is a series of challenges and learning. Unfortunately some people quit challenging themselves and it is sad when that happens. Life stops in a sense until the Universe decides we need a challenge. BTW, as a domestic disaster, I too have looked up boiling an egg and I do recall I messed it up.

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  2. Mindfulness – the daily (ongoing) battle to stop & savor. Thanks for the reminder. (Btw, you should see Billy Bob in the Fargo series – he’s fantastic!)

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  3. Preview of old age which you may experience and in which I currently live:

    Your fingers will recall by rote the motions of tying your shoe, but your bad back and/or arthritic hip(s) will make it nearly impossible to reach them!

    Not complaining, just stating a physical fact. XX OO !!

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