For years, ever since I moved out on my own, when I’ve gone shopping for shoes—which, believe me, is different from “shoe shopping,” which men do not do—I’ve laced up a pair of sneakers and slipped them on my feet, only to hear the words of my mother echo in my head:

“Make sure that you leave enough room for your feet to grow!”

I wear New Balance shoes exclusively, because they’re the only sneakers out there that come in wide varieties. (Nike, Reebok, et al: Take heed! People with large feet want to wear your shoes too!) A size 13EE shoe is not easy to find in a store. And given that any pair of shoes that I buy will be the only pair of sneakers that I wear, sometimes for years, proper sizing is crucial. But today, while trying to find a new pair that I liked enough to buy, something occurred to me as I tried on two brand new shoes: I’m twenty-seven years old. I don’t need to leave enough room for my feet to grow. This revelation led directly to another: I don’t actually have size-thirteen feet.

I have size-twelve feet.

While part of me laments this discovery as it was almost a badge of honor (“I have enormous feet!”), the rest of me realizes that I probably won’t have to repeat today’s ordeal of going from store to store in the mall—I managed to visit all five stores that sold shoes today before finally finding a pair I liked that fit me—in order to find nice shoes that fit. I mean, it’s not like a 12EE is that much easier to find, but it’s easier nonetheless.

So hey, Mom: Don’t ever say I didn’t listen to you.