It might be wear and tear. That’s the answer to a question I’ll ask later. To get there, I’m going to share what I think is the most important advice I can give: There are certain things that you should absolutely not skimp on if you want to improve overall quality of life.
1. Buy the best shoes you can afford. Save up if you have to.
My gender will likely give a chorus cry of horror when I say that I hate shoe shopping. I have very small feet (women’s size 5 ½) and shoe store shipments come with only 1-3 pairs in the 5 – 6 size range for each shoe style.
The display shoes are *always* the smallest size that a store has on hand for that style. It just looks better than a size 12 canoe balanced on the edge of a shoebox. I always check the size of the display shoe before I get my hopes up. More often than not, I go home empty-handed.
This has saved me from buying cheap shoes (or many shoes for that matter). Even so, I wouldn’t buy a pair of $9.99 pumps if you paid for them and then paid me every time I wore them. I have tendonitis which can make my right foot swell up like a sausage. My toes won’t bend and I hobble. A flare up is closely related to the quality and style of shoe I most recently wore. Fact.
I like walking. I want to continue to walk. So when I’m wearing my admittedly unattractive Doc Martens oxfords or Merrell hiking shoes it’s probably good that my feet (and the shoes) are small.
High heeled pumps and hard-soled flats are bad news for me. I own a few pairs for situations that call for it, but made sure to buy quality.
And while we’re on the subject, I really don’t get these kids who walk around everywhere in $3.00 flip flops.
2. Buy the best mattress you can afford. Save up if you have to.
You spend an average of 6-8 hours on your mattress every day. You know how a bad mattress can ruin a trip? What about your mattress at home? If it’s more than 7 years old and you paid less for it than you did for your TV, then I would be willing to bet that you don’t sleep that well anyway. You have back pain or neck pain, or both.
Don’t skimp on your mattress. Take the time to shop for the best you can afford. It will change your life. As for the potential high price, ask yourself this: If this was the price tag of a top line plasma TV with surround sound, would you balk? No, because you can see the quality. One night on your new mattress and you’ll hate that you made yourself suffer for so long.
3. Buy the best home office chair you can afford. Save up if you have to.
The average retail office chair is made for the average size person. I am petite and chairs that fit me are “Task” chairs. I.e.: Not meant for long term use. I have purchased three office chairs in three years trying to find one that fits both my stature and my usage.
Last week, after calculating how much I stand to spend at the chiropractor this year, I dipped into my savings to buy a Herman Miller Aeron chair. Yes, that chair. I had one at The Job and I have missed it terribly in the last year of freelance writing.
It is “size A” (for petite persons) with all the adjustments that make this chair really fit me. For all the hours that I will get lost in typing, at least now I won’t stand up feeling like I just got hit by a truck. I’m sitting in it right now and, yes, it feels good.
When preparing to spend your hard-earned money, be aware that our throwaway consumer culture has turned our priorities upside down. Some people will buy an entire meal for $1.00, get it from a hole in the side of a building, and wonder later why they don’t feel so good. Cheap ≠ good.
A big sale on already cheaply made shoes, mattresses and office chairs is the same kind of equation, except it might take years to notice the downside.
Most of us sit, sleep, and walk every day. It has taken me several decades to figure out that not skimping on what goes into these things make for the biggest return on my quality of life.
Why did it take decades for me to figure this out? It might be that the wear and tear on my body finally caught up. Twenty years ago, I sat on the floor, slept soundly on a thin dorm mattress, and worshiped Payless.
I plan to sit, sleep, and walk for several more decades. Buy quality and you cry only once. Don’t skimp!