The sun is shining, the weather is clear and the Bob Marley references are already flowing like a nice, cold beer on a hot summer day. This can only mean one thing: It’s time to break out the summer clothes and, even better, the summer accessories – like the sunglasses that you only used during the winter to shield your eyes while you slept in class or the sandals that lay dormant all winter while your Uggs soaked up the rain instead. As for me, I’m busting out the Rainbows.
You see, ever since I was old enough to have sense – fashion sense that is – I have been wearing platform sandals. I clock in at a meager 5’3″ so this was partially a height-motivated decision as well as an aesthetic one. Still, it was also an incredibly uncomfortable and impractical decision. The platforms were cute and all, but back pain, sore feet and numerous bike accidents are not.
So, a friend suggested that I buy Rainbows instead. Buy Rainbows? I was aghast. I would be short and deprived of cute colors. After much deliberation though, I finally caved. I bought the damn Rainbows, wore them for a day or two and threw them back in my closet, only taking them out during periods of extreme hangover or when I was too tired or lazy to wear real shoes. I never considered them an integral part of my wardrobe – until recently.
A couple of weeks ago, I fell off my bicycle. I sprained my calf muscle and had to wear the Rainbows because they were the only shoes that did not hurt. I wore the Rainbows to class, to work and even – sin of all fashion sins – to a party. And the fashion gods did not strike me down or turn me into a straight-legged, acid-wash jean-wearer – the fashion equivalent of the classic pillar-of-salt punishment. In fact, I was more comfortable at that party than I had been in years. If shoes were men, my Rainbows would be like the kind-of-scruffy friend who was really a sex god all along. I had no idea until I gave them a chance, but once I did, the good times just kept coming.
Once I shattered my notion that my physical appearance was made better when I sacrificed comfort for style, I got to thinking about other areas in my life where my preconceived notions could be wrong. As long as we’re comparing men and shoes, what if my ideas about dating were all wrong, too? What if I had been choosing style over substance for so long that I had no idea how comfortable substance could really be? And for that matter, what if style had been winning out over substance in other areas of my life as well? These were scary thoughts. A reevaluation of my priorities could change everything, from the way I budget my money to the way I decide what kind of food to eat.
On the other hand, when would be a better time to reevaluate than now – when I am almost halfway through my college years and a couple of months away from the big 2-0? I decided to go for it. It did not take a lot of effort; just a conscious choice to start valuing the more substantive things in life like my relationships with my friends and family, my long-term career ambitions and my desire to find a fulfilling romantic relationship over a less-than-substantial social life built solely around the party scene, my immediate financial needs and my love of sex.
Like the unexpected comfort of my Rainbows, I have found what I chose to term my mini-mid-quarter-crisis to be a surprisingly fulfilling experience. Sure, I still enjoy partying, shopping, flirting and lots of other fun verbs ending in -ing, but I also have a better sense of the big picture now, and that has given me a sense of ease that can only be compared to the feeling of slipping your feet into a pair of well-worn Rainbows.
Daily Nexus Artsweek Editor Mollie Vandor also appreciates the ease with which her Rainbows slide off before she enjoys those verbs ending in -ing.