3 things to avoid after age 70

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 saysmost 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.”

Link to Like A Rock

Link to Quora

20 Years Where’d They Go?

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter November 13, 2020

Tom Blake 26 years of writing columns

20 Years, Where’d They Go? Like A Rock

This Tuesday, November 10, I completed the final edit to this week’s eNewsletter. Scheduled it for today. It felt good to be a little ahead of the game; I wouldn’t have to worry about the normal last-minute edits.

But then, Wednesday, November 11, Veteran’s Day, came along. The eNewsletter game-plan unexpectedly changed.

What happened on Wednesday?  

An email arrived in the morning from Champ Regina McGrath, of Dana Point, a special friend of Greta’s and mine.

Regina wrote: “I could have sworn I was wishing you a Happy Birthday about a month ago, so either in my old age I’m confusing dates, OR in my old age time really is going by that fast…conclusion being, I’m old!! Ha-ha!

“As always, I enjoy each and every eNewsletter you produce and as always, I miss you and Greta!

“I often wonder if you REALLY know how much you’re admired and appreciated?

“Have a wonderful Birthday & Veterans Day!”

Regina’s email stopped me in my tracks; it struck a chord. 

I responded: “Thanks for the birthday wishes. Yes, it’s today. Thanks for the “admired and appreciated” comment. Wow, it’s the appreciation from Champs and friends such as you that so truly matters to me.

“For some reason—probably because it’s another birthday–your words made me reflect on all the years I’ve lived and how fortunate I’ve been, particularly the last 20 years, in which Greta and I have lived together.

“Thinking of those 20 years reminded me of one of my all-time favorite songs, “Like a Rock” by Bob Seger. (That song was used in one of the longest-running TV advertising campaigns in history, 1991 to 2004, which resulted in Chevy selling millions of trucks. Here is the verse from the song that triggered me to look back today and appreciate how blessed I’ve been.”

A verse from Like A Rock:

“Twenty years now
Where’d they go?
Twenty years
I don’t know
I sit and I wonder sometimes
Where they’ve gone
And sometimes late at night
When I’m bathed in the firelight
The moon comes callin’ a ghostly white
And I recall
I recall
Like a rock, standin’ arrow-straight
Like a rock, chargin’ from the gate
Like a rock, carryin’ the weight
Like a rock
Like a rock, the sun upon my skin
Like a rock, hard against the wind
Like a rock, I see myself again
Like a rock”

A few minutes after Regina’s email came in, my phone rang. It was Jaime and Larry Black, who live in Laguna Beach, just up the road from Dana Point. Jaime is our travel agent and Larry prepares my tax returns in my CPA’s office.

They wished me a Happy Birthday, and then Larry said, “Aren’t you a veteran?”

I said, “Yes, which makes November 11 even more special to me.”

Larry said, “You can probably enjoy a free meal at lots of restaurants because it’s your birthday and you’re a vet.”

I said, winking at Greta, “I think we’ve got that covered.”

Larry’s veteran comment reminded me of 2016, when Greta and I visited the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normany, France, and Omaha Beach itself, one of the many beaches used by the Allied Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944, an event, I feel, that saved the world.

Being there made Greta and me feel even more grateful we are Americans. Below: “The Braves” Monument on Omaha Beach in honor of those who perished on D-Day 

The Braves Monument Omaha Beach
   (photo by Tom Blake 2016)

And speaking of D-Day, one of our Champs, Les Jones, age 94, was a part of the American forces on that invasion.

Champ Les Jones – WWII veteran

Les was also in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. A big salute and thanks to Les on November 11, and all days in fact.

Les is a close friend of Gary Sinise, whose foundation benefits veterans. This picture is of Gary and Les at a recent War Memorial visit in Washington D.C., It is very moving.

  Gary Sinise and Les 

And then, another email came in, which added to the emotional patriotism I was feeling on November 11. It was from Champ Ellen B, Seattle, sending a birthday greeting. What’s the patriotism-connection there?

I met Ellen at an Anaheim Angels baseball game in 1995. I first saw her on the pitcher’s mound, where she sang the National Anthem and introduced myself when she returned to her seat, near where I was sitting behind home plate.

I wrote my 63rd newspaper column about meeting her, which was published, August 30, 1995, titled, “Star-Spangled Night.” Wow, a quarter-century ago.

I responded to her Wednesday email with: “Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light…”

There is one more reason why November 11 is so special to me. I was born on my Mom’s birthday, so we shared that day together as often as possible. So, of course, that is another reason why Regina’s email struck such a chord.

With all of these things happening Wednesday morning, I decided to place on hold the eNewsletter initially planned for today. A new message bubbled up inside of me. I wrote straight from my heart, in a stream-of-consciousness. It took about an hour.  As I read it to Greta for her comments, I had to stop a few times, I was emotionally overcome.

So, Regina, thanks for inspiring me to write today’s eNewsletter. And guess what? I already have next week’s column written. So,wow, a week off.

I appreciate all of you and the opportunity to reach out to you each week!


Link to Bob Seger’s “Like A Rock” Be sure to listen for the guitar solo that begins at around the 2:10 mark–incredible.

Like A Rock

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – May 3, 2019

by Columnist Tom Blake

There are two parts to today’s e-Newsletter

Part 1 – Like A Rock

This past Saturday evening, while sitting at our desks in the downstairs office at home, Greta (my life partner)…out of the blue…said to me, “Do you realize we’ve been together for 20 years?” Her comment hit me like a rock.

Of course, I knew we’d been together for 20 years, but when she said it out loud, at that moment, it got me thinking about those 20 years and how fortunate we were to have met each other when we did.

And whenever I hear the words “20 years,” I always think of the great Bob Seger song, “Like A Rock,” because of a verse in the song that begins with the words, “Twenty years now, where’d they go.”

I imagine nearly all Champs recognize, “Like A Rock.” For years, it was the background music for the Chevy truck commercials.

And if you grew up in Michigan, as I did, you for sure knew who Bob Seger was. He was born in Lincoln Park, a Detroit suburb, and attended Ann Arbor High School. He was close to our age (he’ll be 74, Monday, May 6) so he represented our generation.

Greta continued talking, as if in a stream of consciousness, her thoughts just kept rolling along:

She said, “When I met you, I was 57, you were 59. I’d just gone through a tough divorce five years before. Didn’t want to date although I’d had a few dates. Walked in the neighborhood or on the beach alone…Mostly worked, teaching special needs children, plus four nights per week, home-taught severe special needs children…felt like I was doing something important. It took all my time. Thought my dating life was over. How wrong I was.”

She paused, smiled and then continued, “I never dreamed when I went into Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, on June 24, 1998, and ordered a freshly squeezed carrot juice, that my life was about to change. You walked around the counter and said, ‘Would you like to have dinner with me?’ Wow, what an incredible 20 years it’s been.”

I interjected, saying, “The key to our happiness…in my opinion…is our thoughtfulness toward each other. We’ve shared homes, travel…lots of it…and families. As of two weeks ago, you were blessed with a fourth great grandchild. We’ve shared each other’s retirements. We’ve shared sad times, losing friends and family members. And now, we’re sharing growing old together. How blessed we’ve been.”

At that point, I went to You Tube on my computer, pulled up Like A Rock, and turned the volume high. We toasted to it, with a glass of our favorite Chardonnay, Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve, the same wine we both ordered on our first date June 27, 1998, at the Claim Jumper restaurant on La Paz in Laguna Niguel (California).

Here are the words to that 20-years verse from Like A Rock:

“Twenty years now, where’d they go. Twenty years, I don’t know.
Sit and wonder sometimes, where they’ve gone
And sometimes late at night
When I’m bathed in the firelight
The moon comes callin’ a ghostly white
And I recall
I recall
Like a rock, standin’ arrow straight
Like a rock, chargin’ from the gate
Like a rock, carryin’ the weight
Like a rock
Like a rock
The sun upon my skin
Like a rock
Hard against the wind
Like a rock
I see myself again
Like a rock
Oh, like a rock!”

(Link to “Like A Rock” at end of today’s article)

At the end of the song, I looked at the office shelves that hold photos of many of our 20-year memories together. I pointed to a picture of Greta that I had taken at an AARP convention in 2010, and said, “That photo is my favorite picture of you.”

The photo shows Greta and Maya Angelo, seconds after Greta had given her a copy of “How 50 Couples Found Love after 50,” a book I had just published, that Maya is holding in her hands.

Maya Angelo smiling at Greta while holding “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50.” Greta was thrilled, as you can tell by the grin on her face

Then I said to Greta, “I wonder if our Champs feel the same way about their last 20 years? I imagine, some do, some don’t.”

As a coincidence, Champ Chris emailed three days later, “I am now 85; Tina and I have been together for 15 years. It’s amazing how fast time flies.”

Regardless of how we feel about our last 15 or 20 years, we must make the best of our remaining years. We’ve got to keep moving, we’ve got to stay active, we’ve got to interact with our friends and family, regardless of what fate deals us.

We’ve got to be: like a rock.

                                  Part 2 – So Cal Senior singles gathering – May 22

Just a heads up to Champs who live in southern California. On Wednesday, May 22, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the new, enthusiastic owners of Tutor And Spunky’s are going to resurrect the Senior Singles Meet and Greets that were so popular five – seven years ago. Greta and I are honored that Samantha and Elena have asked us to host the event.

Tom, new owner Samantha, 19-year employee Debbie Pachyn, and new owner Elena at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli April 22, 2019

However, this event isn’t going to be for single seniors only. We’d like all Champs…single, married or in relationships…whatever… to join us.

There is no charge. Appetizers will be served, and beer and wine will be only three bucks a pop.

It will be fun to put faces with names. We’ll take photos for the e-Newsletter. Email me if you think you might attend.

Tutor and Spunky’s is located at 34085 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point, 92629. Telephone: 949 248-9008.


Link to Bob Seger singing “Like A Rock (I suggest click on full screen; turn volume up):”