The fashion-defying old boots I wore for warmth self-destructed on my 62nd birthday.

Flakes of crumbling faux leather I left behind lately whenever I zipped my feet into the comfort of weatherproof Totes with fleece lining left clues on my kitchen floor that I ignored. Much like the skin sags of age under my eyes and chin reflected in the mirror every morning. I covered the wrinkles with makeup, pulled my pant legs over the boot tops, and went out to shop for the officially senior me.

I looked at boots on display and considered replacing those I’d bought a lifetime ago, when I was single, wore a size small petite, and could still rely on my mother for gifts and a birthday cake. Instead, I hung on to the familiar and the memory of mom’s approval when I purchased practical over fashion. I turned back to pick through a rack of sweaters.

That’s when I felt and heard the rubber heel smack against the sole. First one boot. Then the other. Pieces of boot littered the aisle I’d walked. I picked up the debris and slipped my feet out of the fleece lining one last time.

I picked out a new pair of black suede bear paws brand and wiggled my toes in the comfort of fluffier fleece lining. The fashionable lace-up, shiny leather, unlined boots with buckles and flash no longer contended for a place in my wardrobe. The cashier cut the tags. We laughed at my emergency purchase.

I stuffed my old boots on top of empty paper cups and plastic bags tossed by other customers into the garbage container outside the door. Everything has a shelf life and these old boots had expired.

So here’s to life at 62. A motherless daughter for 23 years. Wife to the love of my life for 18 years. Published author since 2013 with another series of novels on the brink, ready to take from Idea to I did.

Bring it.