Exactly When Did I Become “A Man Your Age”?

I just came in from shoveling out our car and part of the driveway. An early snowstorm just dumped 11 inches of snow on our town, more snow than we usually see in the whole month of December. And I should also tell you that I have a driveway that is over 200 feet long. It used to be stone and therefore turned into a real mess if you had it plowed, so over the years I sort of developed a system for keep us “connected with civilization.”

If the forecast was for over six inches I would just bring the car down to the foot of the driveway, just shy of where the street plow throws the snow. Then, when the snow stopped, I would shovel a path down to the car, then around the car, and then clear the last ten feet or so to the street. By then we’re connected to the world, and since I work at home, I could gradually work my way up the driveway, over days if necessary.

Now I pace myself and take breaks, but somehow in my wife’ Melanie’s view, this type of exercise is grossly inferior and more dangerous than, say, working up a sweat on a treadmill or elliptical. Probably because more men keel over shoveling snow than working on exercise equipment. Actually, I don’t really know that that’s statistically true, or if it is one of those media “scare of the day” things. Anyway, I’m sure the neighbors don’t help when they incredulously ask, “You shovel that driveway?”

Melanie has always worried that I spend too much time out there after a storm. But it’s just so darn beautiful outside after a snow storm when the sun comes out. And since I work at home, I’m not missing anything unless the phone rings, in which case I can be called inside.

Melanie’s expressions of concern for most of our married life were limited to “Don’t stay out too long,” or the clever and more enticing, “Come on in for cookies.” But some time after turning 50, I’m not sure when, the call became, “A man your age shouldn’t be out there shoveling snow all day.” I don’t know how I had missed it. On one of those 50-something birthdays, I had become “a man your age.”

Now if you have read many of my other writings, say “Going Down Swinging,” or some of my other writings with a “Never give up” or “the best is yet to come” theme, you can imagine how well I like being considered “a man your age.”

But one thing I know is that I hope to be doing many things that, perhaps ”a man my age” shouldn’t be doing, for many years to come. Playing softball on teams with 20 year olds? Climbing around on a sailboat? Being computer literate? Writing a blog or book? Bring ‘em on, I’m not dead yet.

… But men, one more thing. If you hope to reach that age, I’d suggest you be veeeerrry cautious about ever using the term “a woman your age.” :-) Bob

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