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You Know You're Black When You Read the Obituary to Check out Your Friends (Oops - I Mean Old)

Updated on April 24, 2020
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Ageism is the last form of prejudice that's accepted by society.

Is this a young woman or old woman?  It all depends on your point of view.
Is this a young woman or old woman? It all depends on your point of view. | Source
THIS is more like it!!!  At any age (or race)!
THIS is more like it!!! At any age (or race)! | Source

What If Maxine Were African American?

Ageism is one of the few forms of prejudice that is still acceptable in American society. It starts as early as 30; they hint that this is your last chance to enjoy life. At 40, that’s when things start to really go downhill. Check out the birthday cards in any store, to see what I mean.

Following are saying commonly believed to be jokes.

At 40, your idea of weightlifting is standing up.

At 40, you sing along with the elevator music.

At 40, conversations with people your own age often become a duel of ailments.

At 40, if you've never smoked, you can start now and it won't have time to hurt you.

At 40, it takes longer to rest than it did to get tired.

(excerpted from )

You know you're getting older when...

Everything that works hurts, and what doesn't hurt doesn't work.

You feel like the morning after, and you haven't been anywhere.

Your little black book only contains names ending in M.D.

Your mind makes contracts your body can't keep.

You look forward to a dull evening.

Your knees buckle and your belt won't.

Your back goes out more than you do.

You sink your teeth into a steak, and they stay there.

(excerpted from )

If people spoke that way about someone's race, they'd be condemned right and left.

And it makes absolutely no sense. The truth is, you reach your prime at FORTY! Not 30, like those insulting birthday cards say.

Here are the facts:

The best time to train for flexibility is babyhood. Stretch your babies, and they will be limber throughout life – if they keep it up.

The best time to train for balance is age eight (before then, the bones are too weak for adequate support).

The best time to train for speed is high school age, when muscles and the cardio - pulmonary system are developed enough to do so. Strength training is also best done at this time, after your growth spurt. (Training too soon stunts your growth and damages your muscles.)

During this whole time, you’re working on endurance. You achieve this around age 40, when your body is fully mature.

Sirs Edmund Hilary and Tensing Norgay
Sirs Edmund Hilary and Tensing Norgay | Source

This picture is of Sirs Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the first men to summit Mt. Everest and live to tell about it (they did this in May 1953). Which one is older? If you guessed Edmund Hillary, you’re wrong. He looks older, because of the ravages the experience put on him. Actually, he is 25; Tenzing Norgay, at 39 (almost 40), was in a much better position to endure the rigors of extreme altitude.

Sirs Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay are not unusual cases. Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii has a rule against people under age 16 going beyond the Visitor’s Center, at 9200 feet. This is because their cardiovascular systems are too immature to handle such high elevations.

Another thing; ever notice most people running extreme marathons are past 40?

Are you still feeling cynical because all the ages I’ve listed are in childhood? Notice I said nothing about when to stop training. The age for that is when you drop dead.

Yes, you read that right!

Studies have shown that people as old as 90, who have NOT kept up an exercise regimen, CAN benefit from workouts. They can rebuild their wasted muscles and improve their ability to walk and do various things. Oftentimes, disability and disease are a result not of aging, but of inactivity and poor health habits. Type II diabetes used to be commonly found in people past 40, which is why it’s referred to as adult - onset; now, you see teens getting it. That is because of obesity, not age, which means 40 year olds don’t have to get it either. You can simply control your weight through diet and exercise. Diabetes runs heavily in my family; both my grandmothers had it. But I never have – and I’m past 50.

Good health habits help you mentally as well. The brain reaches full maturity at twenty five. How long you maintain that maturity depends on what you do for the remaining half century or so. Physical exercise provides oxygen to the brain. Also make a habit of lifelong learning; mental functions improve with use, as do physical ones.

Me, about to go zip lining, on my 50th birthday.
Me, about to go zip lining, on my 50th birthday.

I’m still trying to figure out how long people can expect to stay vital. I certainly want to maintain my youthful vigor as long as possible and live life to its fullest, before I'm confined to a warehouse for the dying, otherwise known as a nursing home. One friend of mine told me she started slowing down at age at 50. She blamed it on her age, but I noticed when I began menopause, my hot flashes would leave me feeling sick and weakened. I solved that problem by taking an over the counter medication I buy at Walmart. My friend went through menopause at age 50, so perhaps it was a matter of managing symptoms, rather than her age.

My brother, who is a cardiologist, said you can expect to remain so at least until age 70. However, our father is pushing 80 and is still quite vital, in spite of 2 heart attacks and the vices of smoking and excessive drinking. Here’s a secret; you can counteract your vices through a good diet and regular exercise (though I still recommend giving up vices!).

So life really does begin at 40! Just make sure you keep up your exercise regimen, and don’t take up vices! If you take up vices, you start paying for them at age 40, or even sooner. That’s where the insulting birthday cards come in.

How do you feel about getting older?

See results

© 2012 Yoleen Lucas


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