Age limits - whatever you’re doing, you can’t do it forever


No sooner have we grown up than we start growing old – a melancholy reflection for which we can thank Spa! (Feb 12-19).

You’re 20 years old, and working, let’s say, for a moving company, carrying heavy furniture into and out of houses, into and out of trucks. It’s hard physical labor, but you’re young, your body exults in its strength. Exhausting it may be, but it’s a good, healthy exhaustion that sends you deep into sleep at night, from which you awake refreshed, renewed, reborn in a sense.

You don’t ask yourself, “How long can I keep doing this?” You assume forever. Youth is like that. Enter Spa!, with its warning: Muscular strength peaks at 20. It may be years before you notice it, but the time always comes, sometimes sooner, sometimes later – usually before you’re ready to, or can afford to, retire. By 40, on average, you’ve had it. If you haven’t made alternate plans, you’re punishing your body beyond what it can take without damage. Laborers beware, says Spa! in effect. Line up something less physically stressful for your post-40 working life.

The magazine’s theme is age limits. They occur throughout life, and apply to almost anything you’re doing. Whatever it is, you can’t do it forever.

Love, for instance. When does a man grow too old for the pursuit of love? Never, one likes to think, but a dose of realism may be salutary. Suppose you’re single at 40. Must you give up on marriage? By no means. But an informal poll Spa! does with 200 women in their 20s bears consideration. For 27 percent of respondents, men are desirable as dates and prospective husbands up to age 40. Asked about men of 45, only 4 percent of the women were positive. One probably speaks for many when she says, “I’d hesitate to go with a guy old enough to be my father.”

Of course, one poll – an informal one at that – is not the whole story, and Spa! itself introduces counter-evidence. The dating agency Rooters reports a surge within the past year or two of young women competing for limited places in arranged parties for men aged from the 40s into the 50s. Why? The number one reason given is “kindness.” Experience, when not too bitter, can breed a deep kindness that is rare in young men. A second reason, scarcely less important, is more material and less debatable: financial stability. Not all older men have it these days, of course, but enough still do to make the age group interesting.

Consider, now, age and the work place. Age used to be an asset. Lifetime employment – from graduation to retirement – was characteristic of postwar corporate Japan, until the bubble of the 1980s burst in the early ’90s. Promotions were regular, almost ritualistic – section head by 40, division chief by 50, and so on. The ’90s recession and globalization put an end to that. Now, Spa!’s researchers find, only 15.5 percent of employees in their 40s and 50s rank as executive. The rest are “lifetime rank-and-filers,” and in fact, the magazine says, if you haven’t cracked the executive barrier by age 35, your days of rising are probably over.

If that matters to you, advises personnel consultant Shigeyuki Jo, you should consider moving to a smaller company. Small and midsize firms are more open, it seems, to aging talent. With them, you would have until, on average, age 48 to make the executive grade. Keep in mind this, though – the older you get, the harder it becomes to change jobs. Act fast – but not too fast. Pitfalls at every turn.

© Japan Today

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Well of course women in their 20s are going to find guys in their 40s less desirable unless they're looking for a meal ticket, do a survey of women closer in age and I'm sure the numbers will be much more favorable.

But yeah, getting older can be scary, these days when I get an injury it takes longer to heal and I know it'll get to the point where it just won't heal at all. Even if you feel just as energetic as you were in your 20s, your body will give you a dose of reality.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

An informal poll of women "in their 20s" isn't very informative -- it is natural that a 21-year-old is not going to be interested in a 45-year-old man (and vice versa), but for a 29-year-old things are different. Spa is also notorious for these kinds of alarmist articles. I'd be interested to hear how many women in their 30s would be interested in a man of 45. I suspect that the percentage is higher on both sides.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Great article Japantoday! Generally speaking I agree on this advisable informations from you and Spa. However, if work activities compels you to move for a better place then age limits doesn't apply for a man of will power. As for me, Japan have a good chance for opportunities. After 45, I landed to a lot of companies several times with Permanent Employment statues over a period of another 15 yrs. Do not lose hope and try, try and try. Until you reach the best place you wanted. Thanks

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japanese women seem to be one way or the other. Most of them are not into older guys, but then a certain percentage are only into older guys, and not interested in guys near their age.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I’d hesitate to go with a guy old enough to be my father.

She didn't say she wouldn't so... Anyway, hesitation is OK but remember what Mae West said, "He who hesitates is last." Age is a factor but what if that guy old enough to be your father is a "Daddy Warbucks?" Bound to sway even the most hesitant, see: Hefner, Hugh, or even Trump, Donald to get my point.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Suppose you’re single at 40. Must you give up on marriage? By no means. But an informal poll Spa! does with 200 women in their 20s bears consideration. For 27 percent of respondents, men are desirable as dates and prospective husbands up to age 40.

These young women may think they have it all, but you ask any guy in his late 30's onwards and they will all tell you once a woman hits her late 20's or early 30's the desperation to find a partner hits peak over drive as reality hits home - fading looks, less desirable to the opposite sex, her fertility is on fast decline by the time she hits her 40's it is really over, while guys in that same category are still firing for a second round.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Elder gents are advised to keep up exercise, be very clean and not gamble; and ladies, please quit the incessant complaining and try to smile more.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Pls advice carefully, smaller & mid-size companies have no rules and labour union. They fuction with their Japanese heads at that time , U are employed. An employee can be cheated if not allowed to met the owners to discuss events weekly or monthly. Pls be aware of this point ,report about a good employee is never carry to the top or owners of that company. Facts are distorted by accountants, sales managers & what have U.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When I was a youth, I could not understand the plaque that mom kept on her kitchen wall: "Ve get too soon oldt, und too late schmart!" Now, the meaning seems very obvious.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Elder gents are advised to keep up exercise, be very clean and not gamble; and ladies, please quit the incessant complaining and try to smile more.

That's good advice - and could be given to either of the two genders. No reason for men not to smile more and clean ladies are always better.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I plan to live forever.

So far so good.

A former neighbor, an elderly man, used to joke with the young female store cashier that if only he were 50 years younger, he'd still be 20 years too old for her.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Muscular strength peaks at 20.

And at this sentence, I dismissed every other word stated in the 'article' by Spa. Not that I should have even read that far, about all Spa! is good for is lining the bottom of a bird cage or wrapping up last night's fish carcasses.

Muscular strength hardly peaks at twenty. In fact, if you look at every strength or explosive based sport or activity, whether it be sprinting, weightlifting, power lifting, strongman, or more, the best performers are often in their mid to late twenties, with records being set by people in their thirties in certain sports.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Excellent article of a sensitive issue, age limits. The true is that there is a strong prejudice against people over 40. Here in Brazil, we have officially over 12 million people unemployed, so, if you lose your job at 40,it will be difficult to find another with the same salary, if you have more than 50 it will be like a miracle to get a job again. Over 60 getting a job will be classified as crazy. The fact is that most of Human Resources staff that makes the initial selection of candidates are younger than over 40 years old candidates, so, the first filter is the HR staff. There is a prejudice against mature professionals that are not considered by the excuse that they are over qualified, etc. Interviewers and selecting professionals should remember that they will get older too and they may be subject to the same criteria that they use.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

What a terrible article.

7 ( +7 / -0 )


If you have money and / or are good looking (have game) it negates 70% of this dribble.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is funny. I own moving company in japan and at 56 (Saturday) I move heavy furniture daily. Guess they forgot gaijjins are stronger than Japanese when it comes to age, or you just too stupid to say your old!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If muscular strength peaks at 20 then a lot of 20 year old guys I see around will need scooping up off the floor at 40.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Guys young and old should jack in the mansplaining schtick. It's not very attractive.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

At 40, I feel at work that my level of energy decreased considerably as compared with 10 years ago. The experience compensates most of it though. Regarding ladies, I have been the most popular since late 30s, maybe because of the social and economic status, but also because I do lots of sport and I keep myself in shape. Unfortunately, I am also married...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A person’s attractiveness is often directly linked to their wealth.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Job security is key on so many levels. Without it, financial growth, romance relationships and family is not sustainable. One must continue to strive regardless.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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