I am getting older – not dying

Around two months back, I got into an argument with someone whom unknown to me at that time, ended up being someone who would mean something to me. Our argument reached a point where I got so worked up that I felt I needed to physically remove her from the system and so, I ended up trying to pull my body weight until my arms were ready to come off and then I discovered sprinting. Basic premise of sprint training is that you pelt it down as fast as you can for around 20 to 30 seconds, rest for about four minutes and then you repeat for another four to six times (I usually stop at about three).

This was a miraculous discovery. There was something about being able to shut out the world and focusing on that singular goal of getting to the end as quickly as you can push yourself. Your heart-rates goes through the roof as one can see from mine after one session:

There’s one downside to the exercise, especially if you’re over 40 – namely the fact that your risk of injury increases. So, the second quarrel with the same person resulted in my hamstring getting inflamed over the weekend.

When I talked about starting sprinting, I suddenly got inundated with advice. A director in the company told me that at “our age, we shouldn’t sprint and just stick with brisk walking.” Several months later, one of my cuddly toys told me “Eh – nearly 50-years old so old, cannot do intense exercise.” Then three nights ago, I met a young man who suggested that I should just do low impact exercises.

All these guys mean well and I know they have my interest at heart. However, when I am told “at your age,” it’s a sign that I better do more of whatever I was doing. Sure, there’s no denying that I am getting older. I’m turning 50 next year and there’s no denying that at 50, the body isn’t what it was at 22. Let’s face it, back in national service, doing chin-ups was standard. These days, I stick with doing sets of “girl-chin and pull ups” (also known as Australian pull ups) and hopefully one day I’ll be able to drag my 90 plus kg up the bar.

However, whilst I am getting older, I’m not dying and if today’s statistics are anything to go by, I’m not likely to die for another 30 odd years. Which means, I need to be in decent enough shape to get through that marathon called life and I don’t want to be a burden on Kiddo. So given that I am an overweight middle-aged man, what can I do but to do the things that will give me that wonderful sensation of looking for someone better hiding inside me. It’s admittedly tough and I usually do this at night when the body is warmed up rather than first thing in the morning where, well, things don’t seem to function quite so well.

Now, what I’m saying about doing an intense exercise can be applied in the job market, where we have a class of people in their late forties and fifties who need to be in the job market to pay off things like mortgages and to get kids through school. The job search is inevitably screwed by the fact that age trumps everything else.

I think of my account manager who is over 60. The man is highly qualified, having once been the financial controller of a huge company. For him, accounting is like drinking water. However, the fact that he knows what he’s doing and doesn’t need to be trained is of secondary concern. The fact is, he’s over 60 and that’s a turn off.

However, the point that many employers forget is that the guy is just over a certain age. He’s not dead and there’s no reason why he can’t be used, especially when he has a record of being very useful.

This should be something that gets looked at. We have an aging population but our costs are rising. These people are still useful and can be utilized. We need to let them pay off their expenses and get by and not treat them like they are dead.

So, what do we need to do? Well, employers need to understand that people are just getting older and not dying. As long as the guy is useful and willing to be useful, the employer should use him or her.

As for those of us over 45, we need to understand that we are just older and not dying. There are ways of surviving beyond the standard nine-to-six gig. We need to understand that we have skills that can be sold and we live in a world where the internet allows to do work across borders. We’re not dead, just older.

I am by no measure of imagination fit. However, I’m still going to push myself ever now and then so that I can be something better. I need a generation of 20-somethings who have grown up sitting behind a desk and never leaving the house to look at me and say “if that geezer can still push himself – why can’t I?” Living like your dying is not an option for yourself or the people who look to you for guidance.


Tang Li

*Although I’ve been based mainly in Singapore for nearly two decades, I’ve had the privilege of being able to meet people who have crossed borders and cultures. I’ve befriended ministers and ambassadors and worked on projects involving a former head of state. Yet, at the same time, I’ve had the privilege of befriending migrant labourers and former convicts. All of them have a story to tell. All of them add to the fabric of life. I hope to express the stories that inspire us to create life as it should be.




4 Responses to “I am getting older – not dying”

  • Harder Truths:

    Tang Li.

    No one gives a shit abut your life.

    Get over it.

    GD Star Rating
  • Bias against Seniors:

    Treat the Seniors better…they are older not dying.
    Still can be productive and useful for a long time.
    The jobs available for them now are usually low end and paid very poorly…inspite of their experience.
    Need to remove this bias against Seniors…

    GD Star Rating
  • rice:

    Yes,Seniors are old but please do not cajole them to drop dead by hook or by crook,one way or another.
    BTW,a huge part of our massive SGS RESERVES were accumulated by the hard work of these seniors,not angmohs or other foreigners as suggested by Raja Indranee,the Prince$$.


    GD Star Rating
  • Dalai Says "Read My Lips":

    Harder Truths:
    Tang Li.

    No one gives a shit abut your life.

    Get over it.

    I stick with the malignant narcissism diagnosis. He’s got every trait. It’s an incurable condition.

    GD Star Rating

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