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I remember that it took me a long time to learn to tie my shoes. All the kids were ahead of me on this one and even my practice lace-up shoe box didn’t help; in my hands, the laces simply did not tie. I was reminded of that feeling of helpless confusion this week when I had to get nephews K. & D. ready to go out the door to K.’s baseball practice.

“Boys, put on your jackets and shoes,” was followed shortly after by five-year old D. wandering around the kitchen with trailing shoelaces.

“Come on, D.,” I called after him, “– tie your shoes!” He turned when I said his name, but just stared at me as if I had asked him to put on a wetsuit.  K. shook his head and said, “He doesn’t know how.”

In the split seconds that followed, my brain flipped through what I thought kids can do on their own at five years old, then paused at shoe-tying. Buckling a seat belt, playing 9 holes of Wii golf on par, and accurately aiming a Nerf gun – check. Shoe-tying is apparently in a gray area.

I can relate.

The gory details are blurred amongst bell-bottoms and wide collars, but I do recall my furious frustration and burning shame at being the last kid to learn to tie their shoelaces in kindergarten. Then, one day, I could do it. Something clicked and my fingers worked right. I’ve been tying shoelaces like a pro ever since. (Let’s not bring up pretty bows on wrapped packages….)

Thinking back to the day almost 2 years ago when I decided to change my life, the journey that led to writing for a living, is a lot like my shoelace tying memories. I had seen other people doing it (writing for a living) and envisioned some future version of myself doing it, but needed something to click into place between here and there.

D. stuck out a foot for me while I tied one shoelace and I had him take a crack at the other. His little fingers just couldn’t maneuver the laces so I finished for him. He was unconcerned, and I went on to pour him a drink and unwrap a snack for him (is there anything else I can do for you, sir, or will that be all?)

Something is now definitely clicking. I am busy every day, and then a check arrives in the mail. I write; I get paid. I won’t say that it’s as easy as tying shoelaces, because I remember when that wasn’t so easy. But, then again, one day suddenly it was.

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