Last night I went out to an early birthday dinner with a friend. I wore the only pair of “skinny” styled jeans I’ve ever been able to find to fit my weight-trained legs. I didn’t have any shoes that looked right with them, though.

So I searched through my closet (which is dramatically pared down since moving last year) and found a pair of black boots I haven’t worn in forever. I bought them at least a dozen years ago at Frugal Fannie’s in Springfield, Va. When I pulled them out of the closet last night, so many memories came with them of my life back then, which was far different than it is today, even though in many ways all of that seemed like it happened only a couple years ago. I slipped the boots on and they fit better than ever.

But when I got home and took them off, I noticed the leather had cracked and split across the shin. This fact depressed me far more than it should have. I mean, I clearly never wore these boots – in fact, they split because they’d been sitting in the closet so long, ignored. But still … I felt a tug of emotion that left me confused.

What does it matter that the boots will be thrown out with the garbage today? It matters, weirdly, because they represent a big part of my life that no longer is. We don’t need to get into the details of this, but basically it includes several deaths, a divorce, broken hearts, lifestyle changes, many goodbyes, and a whole lot of toughening up. Those things are all part of what make up a life, for better or worse. And even when it’s for better, sometimes it can feel like it’s for worse.

So this morning I’m going to throw away these boots. I’m going to meet some friends from my now-evolving life for breakfast. I’m going to do a little cardio, plan out my week, write a little, study a little, and I’m going to take time to enjoy today, because in a dozen years, I might be looking back on this time with a tug of emotion.