7 Secrets of A Septuagenarian

 Septuagenarian Jeffrey Allen

Jeffrey Allen at the gym. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Allen

By Jeff Allen

“One time on a book tour, I appeared on a late-night talk show somewhere west of New York. A caller asked what the J.D., C.P.C. after my name meant. I was exhausted and needed to rush to appear on a T.V. wake-up show. As I pulled off my headset and got up to leave, I blurted out, ‘The J.D. stands for Just Do It, and the C.P.C. stands for Courage, Persistence, and Confidence!”

That quote defines Jeff Allen. Yes, he’s a Juris Doctor and a Certified Placement Consultant, the lawyer for executive recruiters, and the author of many bestselling books in the career field.

But at 77, what makes him move? Why don’t people think of him as an “old man,” “elderly,” or even sympathetically a “senior”? How does he do it? We asked Jeff to tell you as only he could.

Here are Jeff Allen’s Seven Secret Steps:

1. Get to The Gym!

Thirty years ago, my wife “suggested” (su-u-u-re) that I stop exercising in the house. Something about my sweat stinking up the place, if memory serves.

So I joined the closest gym and have gone to one every day – 7 days a week – for 30 years. The only exceptions have been medical or pandemic and have totaled less than 30 days. For real.

You probably have free gym privileges in your Medicare Supplement or Advantage plan. So the membership is the best investment you’ll ever make – in yourself. If not, pay.

Happy people of all ages, stages, and wages are there. All positive, with the initiative and commitment to be the best they can be. Listen to the vernacular of this generation and pick it up. Get with it, dude (or dudess).

The funnier you feel at first, the more you need to be there.

Make yourself a sign to place on your most-used mirror that reads:


Work out today.
Wake up tomorrow.

‘Nuff said. That’s why it’s the First Step.

2. Wake Up with a Song

It’s high time you developed a cranial jukebox. Mine is filled with 50’s R&B since I was fortunate to be raised in a musical family.

If you don’t wake up singing, play some of your favorite music an hour or so before bedtime. You can be distracted with other stuff if you use earbuds or a headset.

Before long, you’ll wake up singing with a beat, too! How’d you ever start the day without it?

3. Find Yourself a Doctor’s Doctor

Pick a young one … one that’ll practice on you for your duration. A fighter when you’ll need it most.

The biggest difference between one doctor and another isn’t his (her or both’s) specialty. It’s both (her or his’s) personal attributes. Is she a good listener? A whiz at drugs, drug interactions, and safe off-label (non-FDA approved) uses? Someone accessible, compassionate, and who’ll expect you to follow her advice?

In most cases, you make the difference. Do you call the doctor’s office to report on the results of your “compliance”? (Yes, that’s what it’s called. Doctors worry about patient compliance constantly, but they don’t ask because you might think they don’t trust you.)

Do you call their office to thank them for the good doctoring? Almost no patients do, and it means the world to them.

Don’t be a crank – become special. A hip doc is your very best lifelong, Longlife friend!

4. Be a Guardian Angel

That’s what I am to my grown kids and my grandkids – and they know it. What that means is they know I’m with them every step of the way.

You should know that you can’t change other people at your age, even if they bear your genes. You should also know that you can’t control other people, regardless of how hard you try. How about sending them personalized awards or trophies? Are you having little ceremonies at family gatherings honoring their achievements? Are you encouraging their passions … making their goals your goals?

I set up joint bank accounts with each of my grandkids. Each is designated “(child’s initials) DoubleUp Account.” No strings. The funds were theirs for whatever they wanted.

Before they started working, I’d slip one a Franklin or whatever he or she deserved, simply by calling my bank (24/7) and transferring dough from my account to theirs. Boom. They never had access to my account.

When each started working, they’d email me a pay stub (or call), and I’d transfer the same amount into their DoubleUp Account. Then when each turned 18, we’d go to the bank with their picture I.D. They’d be added as joint tenants (with the right of survivorship) on the account. Bam.

My multiplication on those transfers tended to be off in their favor – creating a family giggle they’ll never forget. Of course, those bank visits were accompanied by lunch wherever they liked. Invariably they’d find a coupon or some internet deal. Did they learn the value of values? How very valuable to see in those valuables!

What else can you do? You can advise when asked. You can accept when your advice isn’t followed (usually). You can reward, award, honor. You can encourage, support, surprise. Who does that? Happy grandparents!

And above all, you can be there to catch them when they fall.

I lost a most wonderful mother at an early age. My father was devastated at her loss and was never the same. Yet, for all of his missteps in single parenting, he always made sure I knew he’d always be there for me. I never needed him to be because I never doubted it.

Being a guardian angel is so important for you. If you fear death, it’s because you’re not one. Even if it’s not a family member, decide now that you’ll be a youngun’s someone.

This is so important for your peace of mind. You must matter. Get a legacy, and you’ll live forever.

5. Make People Laugh

People react the way you treat them. Smiling, saying “please” and “thank you,” respecting them as you wish to be respected. What a difference you’ll make!

It’s totally fun to make total strangers laugh. I’ll walk up to some badged “associate” in a store and say she looks like someone important before I ask a question.

Or I’ll bring in a return without a receipt and show it to the first uniformed (and probably uninformed ) employee I see. I’ll tell him I’ll need him to bail me out if I’m arrested.

I’ll invite the server to sit next to us and eat. (I’ve had some great conversations there with someone who really deserves respect.)

Irreverent things like that.

My favorite comeback was when our granddaughter was having her picture taken at the mall with Santa Claus. I asked him if the photo op was a franchise. He replied, “I don’t know, fella. I’m just Santa Claus!”

A so-typical thing just happened that illustrates how this works: Our daughter has a home filled with three kids and three boxers. One of the boxers mauled me pretty good with his kisses and scratches. So the next time we visited, I entered wearing a hoodie and ski mask. Our daughter greeted me with one of those clear wrap-around face shields and costume body armor (both from the local dollar store). Priceless. Just priceless.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Cry, and you cry alone.

Try something like this. There’s no law against fun. I do it all the time.

6. Share Your Generational Joy

It blows me away how two generations up resemble two generations down.

I see my maternal grandmother and mom in our daughter and granddaughter, my dad in our son, and another granddaughter. I see myself in two of our grandsons, my wife in our daughter. How they look, how they think, how they behave. Such wonderful traits that nature bestows before nurture.

This is such a kick! I tell them. I share pictures. They love it. None think the world was created the day they were born. Our family history is their continuum. They know they are a sacred carrier of our lineage.

As am I, and as are you. Whether you consider it an obligation or a thrill, please do whatever you can to tie past grands to present grands.

Ironically, it will do continuous wonders for your inner peace because y-o-u are an inner piece!

7. Delegate Your Financial Future

If you’re a healthy ager, you probably spend a healthy part of every day obsessing over how much money you have, whether it’s enough to support you ’til who-knows-when, who you’ll leave it to (depending on the day), and how you’ll pay off the national debt.

Maybe you take your cue from a well-packaged T.V. guru, a hyped radio host, a buy-sell newsletter, or some salesperson with a fancy “advisor” title and self-serving awards. Then again, maybe you make decisions emotionally or on “hot tips”—your blood pressure regulated daily by internet statements or email alerts.

The smartest life-extending mental move I ever made was when I turned all of my savings over to a trusted professional with a major brokerage. My instruction to this young fireball was not to tell me any account balances, any trades that were being made, or anything else except disclosures or consent required by law. All statements were sent to an email I never opened. I just made it clear that I didn’t want to outlive my money.

Whew! I never knew I was in prison until I escaped. How much negative baggage did I have? Ugh! Carrying it every day (and night). Unburdened, I believed I could fly.

That was about 15 years ago. I’ve developed a lifetime friendship with that amazing guy. Now, I dutifully pretend to care about his disclosures and recorded calls for consent.

But I drive him crazy with unsecure emails through his stodgy brokerage like, “I don’t want my money to outlive me!” (Except for that marriage vow 50 years ago and some very, very progeny.)

It’s not too late for you to know that same financial freedom.

Do these Seven Steps, and you will achieve the ultimate lifetime goal: The vigor of youth with the wisdom of age.

Best wishes for a well-deserved, loving legacy!

Jeffrey G. Allen, J.D., C.P.C. has over 50 years of experience as an executive recruiter, human resources manager, and lawyer. He has served as Special Advisor to the American Employment Association and Director of the National Placement Law Center. Allen is also the author of more than 20 books, including How to Turn an Interview into a Job, The Complete Q&A Job Interview Book, and Instant Interviews. For further information, visit placementlaw.com.
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