Happiness and Well-Aged Shoes

Linda Manwarren | Chair, Wellness Committee, ARTA

I have loved Dr Seuss for a very long time — any of his well-aged sayings resonate with me even today.

“You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”

Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

For me, well-aged shoes are not about the length of time but about the quality of experiences I had wearing them. Here are three pairs of my well-aged shoes, each of which has led me in many directions.

Running shoes became a key element of my footwear when I took a Learn to Walk clinic at age 50. This eight-week program taught me the benefits of consistent practice, how to gradually increase my pace, how to maintain good form, and how to match my shoes to my gait for maximum support. Graduation was a five-kilometre race! As short and simple as it was, the euphoria of this race had a profound and lasting effect on me. Following the race, I continued to walk and race with family and friends. We challenged ourselves with ten-kilometre races and half marathons all around Canada and the United States. These shoes are replaced often, but each pair is well-aged with memories of walks and feelings of accomplishment that fill my heart and support my heart health.

There was much to learn about hiking boots when I first began to hike in the mountains. Over the years I have tried low-cut, mid-cut, and high-cut and different treads as well. I joined an outdoor club several years ago and have aged several pairs of hiking boots well, while exploring mountain trails throughout the Rockies. Doing part of the Camino de Santiago and hiking to Machu Picchu created challenges to overcome and rich memories.

The final pair of shoes are what I call stylish walking shoes. From the perspective of creating memories, they are the most treasured. They were with me on a trip to Europe with my husband — his first time leaving North America. Last year we travelled from New York to Southampton and spent seven weeks on our feet, exploring Europe. We walked through many a train station, on sidewalks and cobblestones, through museums and churches, on and off ferries and boats, and on the trails of Cinque Terre and the Scottish Highlands.

A characteristic of well-aged cheese is that it adds intense flavour. Memories created with these well-aged shoes have brought me intense happiness — even more than a good foot massage!

Linda Manwarren will complete her term on the Wellness Committee in October 2023. She has enjoyed her time and appreciates the knowledge gained in the vast arena of senior wellness. Linda hopes to continue walking and hiking and building powerful memories for many years to come.