I have a pair of riding boots, handmade for me deep in Hampshire almost twenty years ago, that I still wear. I have worn those boots EVERYWHERE. Once, when I was in Italy in winter, I was whisked away on a surprise skiing trip. As I did not come prepared, I trudged the snow fields in those riding boots. Each day after their battering, I dried them lovingly in front of the fire, stuffed with newspapers. They survived the unnatural environment stoically, looking more battered and beautiful from the experience.

There’s this wonderful English saying: Take care of your shoes and they will take care of you.

We all know how uncomfortable it is to wear new shoes or shoes that are not meant for us or shoes that are meant for show only.

How like human relationships! Some partners are fun when new, good to look at, but when reality sinks in or when the road gets hard, these unsuitable shoes/partners let us down. I knew someone whose partner, when newly involved which each other, told him “I will be queen in your kitchen and whore in your bedroom”, but the promise never materialised and after the first year, that relationship morphed into something akin to “being in the wrong movie”.

Sometimes, the right one isn’t what you reach out for in the first place.  Human nature is drawn to artificially enhanced synthetic manifestations. We are drawn to the one that is artfully displayed or comes with appealing packaging. But will it wear well, be it shoes or partner?

Some shoes or partner last a year, maybe two, three, four. Some even less. If you choose one from those categories, you will permanently have to be on a shopping trip, spending your precious resources (hope, expectations, life) on worthless pair, good only for a short time. Far better to take care of one that is just right for you, even if the act costs you, even if you have to sacrifice on owning a (temporary) hot pair. It’s for the long run, for the days of your life, for when you are wearied of life. Forget the empty promises. Go for the real deal. Go for the strong, comfortable ones that grow with you, and that will look better with the years as their value reveals itself to you with each passing shared experience.

So this is my mother’s wisdom, choose the right pair, look after your chosen one well. And those shoes or partner will walk the miles with you and look after you well. Choose something that will go the miles with you. Life is good when you are appropriately partnered.

Photo: those boots on that memorable ski trip. We explored the snow-countryside with me wearing those boots. I had to be piggy-backed on several occasions, which made the trip all the more magical.