If you are seeking a rewarding activity, I have a suggestion for you. It is one I came to late in life, but the more I do it, the more I like it. I anticipate that when I am a little old lady, folks will see me in pursuit of this hobby and wonder why can’t that poor old thing afford to hire someone to shovel her snow.
Yes, I love shoveling snow. Before you dismiss me with “she’s retired, what else does she have to do?”, you should know I enjoyed it when I worked too. You should also know that someone plows our driveway, so my exertions are limited to porches, steps and clearing paths. Do not confuse shoveling snow with snow-blowing which is noisy, smelly and requires a motorized thing. Shoveling, by contrast, is quiet and odor-free, allowing for full appreciation of crisp winter air and is powered by your own efforts. It is the one task where I can actually feel the benefits of my compulsive exercising – squats, deadlifts, and core work are all featured in the shoveling motion. It’s a full body cardio workout but I also like the psychological benefit of knowing my gym memberships contribute to more than being fit enough to wear skinny jeans and sit on the couch reading.
Obviously, shoveling takes place outdoors. I will admit to being mainly an indoorsy person and, in the winter, practically a recluse. But, if it snows, I gladly traipse outside. It doesn’t matter how cold it is. In fact, I have a special shoveling outfit, the “statement piece” being a pair of oversized black LL Bean sweatpants ( the second worst Christmas gift I’ve ever received from my husband.) Add double socks, double gloves and an unflattering hat, and I am ready for the elements.
While shoveling has some physical challenge to it, there is no mental challenge. You just scrape and lift and throw, over and over. Its like a meditation, focusing on each motion. Alternately, your mind can wander away – childhood memories of playing in the snow, do I have enough lemons to make preserved lemons, what’s left for Christmas chores. And speaking of Christmas, we are in that “most wonderful time of the year” which actually really is filled with wonder, but also plenty of additional tasks and perhaps unrealistic expectations that lead to disappointment and a materialistic focus that can tarnish it all if you are not careful. But, a coating of white fluffy stuff is a thing of unarguable beauty and the simple act of clearing a bit of it away to make your steps safe for traversing can also clear worries away and, at least temporarily, remind you that the world and even your driveway is a lovely place.