I still have all the shoes I was wearing at the end of each decade so far in my life. Because I am that much of a hoarder.
On Hogmanay 1989, I was wearing my brand-new bumblebee slippers, which had been a Christmas gift from my Grandad MacLeod. They’re not exactly party shoes, but then I was only four (very nearly five). I was very excited about staying up for the bells for the first time though!
On Hogmanay 1999, I wore a pair of silver Barratts sandals (super ’90s with minimal straps and a blade heel). I’d bought them specially for the millennium. It was the first year that I took in the bells with my friends instead of my family, drinking Bacardi Breezers and shots of tequila, which feels very grown-up when you’re fourteen (very nearly fifteen). It felt like the start of a really special phase of life, which in a way it was, but it was also the start of something that turned out to be quite dark and destructive. I suppose that’s teenage turning points for you.
On Hogmanay 2009, I wore my Vivienne Westwood Lady Dragons, which had just come out that year and were all the rage among shoe fans. They cost about half of what the Lady Dragon range costs today, but they were still a hugely extravagant expense for a broke recent graduate, and so I absolutely treasured them and looked after them very carefully. As a result, they’re still in good condition, unlike my very battered Barratts millennium shoes! At twenty-four (very nearly twenty-five) I felt a bit aimless, but didn’t really want my life to change – I took in the bells in the same pub where I’d been drinking since I was sixteen, and thought that I would be doing that forever.
It’s Hogmanay 2019, and for tonight I have got some very special shoes that I’ve been saving for my one-year soberversary. My soberversary isn’t for another five days, but I thought it’d be okay to wear the shoes early seeing as it is the end of a decade and all. When I was younger and extremely broke, I adored beautiful designer shoes, and would have killed for a pair of Christian Louboutins, but I was never anywhere close to being able to afford them. In late 2018, I was able to buy a pair in a sale, and, knowing that I was about to quit drinking, decided to save them as a gift to my future self for when I’d managed a whole year sober. They are very definitely not outdoor shoes – I would only ever wear them in the house so as not to spoil the trademark red soles – but that’s okay, seeing as these days my preferred place to take in the bells is at my parents’ house, in the same room where I said goodbye to the ’80s thirty years ago. At thirty-four (very nearly thirty-five), it’s nice to come full circle.
My very first New Year resolution for 2020 is actually a New Decade resolution – for the entirety of the decade, I will not be buying shoes (except for necessary purchases like running shoes), because I already have far more than any sane person could possibly need, and the ones I do have are well-made and timeless. I will make an exception in December 2029, when I will find myself another nice pair of end-of-decade shoes. In the meantime, I will just enjoy my existing collection!