On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter
March 18, 2022 eNewsletter #11
by Tom Blake
Three things to avoid after age 70
A couple of months ago, an email from Quora.com popped into my inbox. I had never heard of Quora. I checked it out and discovered that Quora posts multiple blogs on multiple subjects by multiple people.
I signed up to receive Quora’s posts about life and aging. Many of the posts I’ve read so far have been interesting and informative. One post by an author named Doug Armey caught my eye. It was called: What three things should a person avoid once they are past 70 years old?
Armey is likely in his late 60s or early 70s. Regarding his age, he was a bit evasive: “I’m north of the 10th anniversary of my 50th birthday. Somewhere, I’m just not sure.”
Because Armey’s topic was similar to topics we discuss in this eNewsletter, I read his post.
I do not agree with many things he wrote in the article. But, a few of the points he made were helpful. Armey wrote:
“First, acting old. Most people hit 70 and suddenly start acting old. They eat early-bird dinners. They don’t drive at night. They can’t go for a long walk. They’re retired but can’t return phone calls. And pretty soon they start looking old and walking old.”
Whoa, hold the horses. I disagree with that paragraph. It’s simply not true. Most people don’t suddenly start acting old after age 70. Perhaps a few people may gradually appear to be aging, but not suddenly unless it’s because of a health issue. I know a lot of people ages 70 and older, into their 80s and 90s, who don’t act old. Their bodies may slow, but that’s not acting, that’s reality.
I’m surprised that Armey didn’t mention that many health issues are beyond a person’s control. For example, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. People who encounter health issues aren’t acting old or looking old on purpose. Often, when a health issue erupts at any age, not just after 70, it’s unexpected and out of the blue. That’s not acting old. Those are the cards with which we’re dealt. And we cope with them the best we can.
And then Armey wrote this: “Instead, forget about your age. Do everything you should have been doing at 40 to stay in good health. Then keep doing all the things that you used to enjoy and slowly gave up. And most of all stop acting old and looking old. Seriously, it’s not a good look.”
Yes, there are some things we can do such as wearing clean, unwrinkled clothes, shaving, getting our nails done so that when we venture out, we look nice.
And then Armey wrote about the second thing to avoid after 70. He stated:
“Second, thinking old. Most people hit 70 and mentally give up. They retire so they can do, well, nothing. They spend hours watching mindless TV and then can’t remember what was even on. As well as what they walked to the bedroom to get.”
Once again, I object. Especially to the sentence, “Most people hit 70 and mentally give up.” That’s not true. Perhaps a few people but not the people I know. This guy Armey doesn’t know our Champs. Single women in their 70s driving solo across the country or towing an old trailer to San Clemente from British Columbia. Women in their 70s on standup paddleboards and walking briskly in the Harbor. And playing pickleball. Others doing horseback riding. He’s preaching to the wrong group of 70-year-olds.
And how about those who turn 70 and decide to work five more years? Hell, I worked at making sandwiches until age 75.
Armey continues with point number two. “Instead, keep your mind active. If you have a job you like keep working. If you retire, then recreate your life into something meaningful. Oh, and turn off the TV. Believe me, you won’t miss anything. And you might just start remembering stuff like what was in the bedroom.”
I agree pretty much with what Armey said about keeping your mind active. My mom Fran was an avid reader. At age 95, she moved into a bigger home because she wanted more room to store her books. She was a NY Times crossword puzzle expert. Her final bridge game was at age 98, one week before she passed away. At 91, she bought a new car and drove it until 95, when her doctor made her give up her driver’s license, which of course, she wasn’t happy about.
I keep writing my eNewsletters and newspaper articles because I love doing it and doing so helps keep my mind active. Most important, however, it keeps me interacting with people, particularly you Champs.
As far as turning the TV off, Greta and I have the TV on for maybe two hours a day. It’s usually David Muir news at 6:30 p.m., then Jeopardy, and then YouTube TV streaming music like the Bee Gees, Rod Stewart, Abba, and Bob Seger (that’s what we were watching in our 40s and 50s).
Note to Armey: I know what’s in the bedroom, it’s a doggone bed!
Armey’s third thing to avoid: He wrote: “Speaking old. Most people hit 70 and start talking old. They’re always saying, “Oh, I’m too old for that. Or constantly telling you about their aches and pains and how old they feel. And you know what, as they constantly remind themselves, they start believing it.”
Tom’s comment: Contrary to what Armey says, most people who hit 70 do not start talking old. He states, “They’re always saying…” something about how old they are. Again, that’s not true. Yes, occasionally, people growing older are going to mention something related to aging, but most don’t dwell on it.
When my Paddle Board buddy Russell, and I talk while paddling around Dana Point Harbor, dodging great white sharks, sea lions, pelicans, and dive-bombing seagulls, we occasionally mention doctor visits and the meds we take. (see a photo of us on our paddleboards below).
But we also talk about yachts heading out of the harbor at 10 knots per hour when five knots per hour is the posted maximum speed limit, (and the signs on buoys also state “no wake,” which means slower than five knots, particularly for larger boats). When boats make a wake, most paddleboarders must turn into the wakes, to avoid being hit broadside by a wake that could dump them into the water.
During our 40s, we would have flipped off those speeding boat captains and yelled some profanity at them. Guess what? We are tempted now as well, to get them to slow down. But we usually don’t flip them off or yell.
On the third point above, Armey added, “Never utter the words, ‘I’m old.’ I don’t care how old you are. And purposely forget when you were born so you can’t remember your age. Then do the things you like and never speak of age again. You’ll surprise yourself and frankly shock others. It’s fun.”
He added, “A friend of mine, who is a bit older than me, has a bumper sticker on his BMW M5 which says, ‘Growing old is mandatory, acting old is optional.’ You’ll age successfully but only as you purposefully forget your age.”
Tom’s comment: How can we forget when we were born when we are asked for our date of birth whenever we have a medical test or medical appointment? If we say, “I can’t remember.” That’s acting old.
Besides, how can I forget my age when my favorite singer, Bob Seger, keeps reminding me in his song, “Like A Rock,” which pops up often on our YouTube TV music channel at night apparently because it’s on our favorites list?
In that incredible song, Seger sings, “20 years now, where’d they go. 20 years, I don’t know. Sometimes, I sit and wonder, where they’ve gone.”
I sing back to Seger, a fellow Michigander, “80 years, where’d they go, 80 years, I do know.” I’ve been blessed beyond belief. Most of my memories are as vivid today, as they were when they happened. I recall them. Like A Rock.”
So, when you hit 70, here’s what you need to do. Point to the sky and say “Thanks. It’s been a great run; I’m ready for more. Like A Rock.”