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Orthotics For The Mind

Will this really help his back pain?

Have you ever seen the film, “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray? Bill’s character wakes up day after day to relive the same day over and over. Welcome to my world.

Lyle has complained for at least a year that his feet hurt, and for seven months that his back hurt. The man generally goes to the doctor twice a year – once in April convinced he’s dying of some horrible disease and one follow-up in June to confirm that he hasn’t passed on.

The doctor tells him that he needs to lose a little weight, exercise and relieve stress – all the things that doctors tell middle-aged people. The doctor offers a few exercises and tells him to come back if the situation doesn’t improve.

Lyle then spends the next nine months asking my opinion of whatever ache or pain he finds on his body, like M.D. follows my name. He chooses to ignore my advice, probably since it closely resembles what the doctor told him, because he really wants a different solution, one that likely involves a magic wand.

My most recent suggestion was actually pretty simple. I told Lyle that he might want to buy some really good shoes. That helped my foot and back pain immensely, aside from the fact that I now officially look like an old lady from the ankles down since comfy shoes cannot also be stylish.

He thought this was a good idea until he went shopping and realized that I wanted him to actually go to a high-end store that would fit him for the next pair of shoes. This would involve skipping the clearance rack at Kohl’s or his favorite outlet.

He searches sale racks for hours, and then once he parts with his $14.95 on the grossest pair of misfit clod hoppers, he won’t ever get rid of them. He has an entire closet full of shoes that the soles are worn away that hurt my feet just looking at them. His answer is to put store-bought orthotics into these toe-mangling contraptions.

So, he’ll fork over $20-30 on his snazzy Dr. Scholl’s inserts, but he won’t put that money toward a decent pair of shoes. When I woke up this morning and found the inserts in his worn out slippers, I couldn’t help but smile.

I know if I say anything, he will defend the fact that he can move his inserts from one pair of shoes to another. Has the thought occurred to him that if he had a decent pair of shoes, he wouldn’t have the problem in the first place?

How many times do I get locked into a single-focused paradigm that perpetuates a faulty sense of logic as I try to navigate through life? I wake up morning after morning to the same set of dilemmas, hoping that I will change enough to alter the eventual outcome.

The approaching New Year gives me an opportunity to examine what works in my life and what doesn’t. Call them resolutions, goals or new habits, whatever. It is a time to realize my potential and move forward, as scary as it can be, it offers excitement too.

What do you want to do in the New Year?

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