If I Could

If I could I would wear capri pants and go barefoot every day.

That’s the thought that went through my mind the other day when I was changing out of my work clothes into something comfortable for the evening. The idea of wearing capri pants and going barefoot is more than what it appears on the surface. It’s a desire for summer, for days without committments, for gardening, for spending an hour in the lawn swing with a good book; it’s the anticipation of long, hot, and sunny days when it’s still light when I begin to consider going to bed.

And as I stood in my closet thinking about what to change into I thought, Why not? Why not put on a pair of capri pants and go barefoot?

So I did.

I did today, too.

Something about this simple choice reminded me of something I learned long ago when I was going through a difficult time in my life. Instead of telling yourself that you can’t do something, change the language to say that you choose not to do something.

“I choose not to take that class” versus “I can’t take that class” sounds entirely different. It is the difference between allowing yourself to feel like a victim and taking responsibility for the direction your life moves in; it’s the difference between letting things happen to you and taking charge of what happens to you. I have changed the language of my inner critic many times this way and, in doing so, changed my perspective on my circumstances.

So instead of thinking I can’t wear capri pants and go barefoot every day I told myself I choose not to wear capri pants and go barefoot every day. The difference in syntax reminded me that I can choose to wear capri pants and go barefoot every day if I want, and that’s what I’ve been doing.

Of course I have to dress professionally for work, and I wouldn’t go out in capri pants with no shoes when it’s sub-zero temperature outside. When I’m home for in the evening or on the weekend I can pull on a pair of capri pants and pull off my shoes and socks and make a choice to feel a measure of summer freedom.

I might even choose to go for a pedicure this weekend.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. I don’t think I even own a pair of capri pants but after reading this I want some! I hope you choose that pedicure and I hope you choose a really snazzy nail color for your nails! Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Judy! You must get some capri pants!!

  2. I love your spirit, Linda, and your optimism. I think I could use this re-phrasing to engineer some much-needed attitude adjustments. Dynamite ideas!

    1. The simple change in syntax has helped me many times, Sid.

  3. I love this! — I wonder if it’ll work for this: “I choose not to be on the New York Times Bestseller’s List . . . for now!” 😀 — You know, sometimes it’s “be careful what you wish for” -but it’s also, “be happy and grateful for what HAS happened” – so I could rephrase that to say, “I choose not to define success as being on the NYT best seller’s list!” – yes! *smiling*

    Oh, how I love capri pants and barefeet and am waiting for summer!

    1. Kat, you are already a success, NYT or not!

  4. Linda, I love this! It speaks to me so loudly right now, because I’m trying to tweak the way I approach life. This was perfect.

    Thank you!

    1. I’m glad it resonated with you, Janna.

  5. I love this, Linda. There must be some powerful longings for summertime in the northern half of the country about now. This post I wrote two summers ago, just got some new hits, and one is from Alaska! http://100memoirs.com/2009/06/12/summertime-a-single-metaphor-mini-memoir/

    Enjoy all the freedoms. Now is your time.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Shirley. I checked out your post about summertime and now I have a huge craving for cherries!

  6. Oh, I love this. As I read your description of summer freedoms, I could feel my body longing for the warmth and looseness we get from the heat. I really appreciate your slight alteration of words that creates a huge alteration of heart. I live in bare feet as much as I can without getting frost bite. It makes me feel younger and freer all by itself.

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