What my 63-year-old boss taught me

While my manager, who is the same age as my dad (53), hits the gym everyday, my father recently had a bypass surgery.

Muhammad Irfan January 22, 2013
Meet Keith Brown, a 63-year-old manager working in my company. Keith has recently moved to UAE to work as an Engineering Facilities Manager at McDermott Middle East Inc.

I have known him since May 2012, when we started playing field hockey.

I was astonished to know that a 63-year-old could play field hockey because this is one of the most physically demanding sports!

A feat like this would be extremely rare in countries like Pakistan, India and UAE. It’s a pity that many of our grand fathers (or even fathers) are unable to even walk properly when they are as young as 50.

For a long time, I did not play any sport consistently and when I started playing hockey, I often got tired very quickly. I was surprised to see myself resting while this old man continued to play; it embarrassed me, quite frankly! Although, I didn’t mention this in my last blog, this was also a factor which made me anxious to become fit and healthy.

I think this was a hard lesson for me because of two reasons, i.e., I am young and my religion Islam highly prioritises health. Therefore, I thought it might be a good idea to ask Keith Brown about his lifestyle, and how has he been able to maintain the health which has kept him active even at 60. Here is what he had to say (paraphrased and summarised):
“Being active and playing hockey at the age of 63 is due to a lifelong process. I have been extremely energetic since my school days. I used to be a part of numerous school teams for sports such as rugby, cricket and athletics. I started hockey also when I finished high school. Ever since, I have pursued sports as one of my priorities in daily life

However, the influential factor is not only physical activities. Rather, other activities in which we utilise our time also play a major role. I have a big problem dealing with people who watch TV excessively. Even now, when TV has become so attractive, we (my family and I) barely watch TV. Instead, we prefer to use our time for productive things such as reading. My usual schedule before work is around 30 minutes of ‘Tai Chi’, around 20 minutes of reading and when the sun is up, I am out in the park with my son for a ball. This is my relaxing process before work to get myself up and running for the day.

I don’t have a fixed diet plan. Fortunately, I love eating fish and chicken, and I snack on an average of five fruits a day. But I am a strong believer of moderation. Although I rigidly avoid fatty foods, I pound on them occasionally.

To summarise, it is essential for us take care of ourselves. Playing hockey and other activities mentioned above are all part of me taking care of myself. I find pleasure in playing hockey because it gives me an opportunity to socialise with others, and encourage young people like you (Muhammad Irfan) to understand that life does carry on even after you’re 60 years old.”



These were some important words for us from Keith Brown. I believe it is imperative for us to start maintaining our health from youth. I say this from the bottom of my heart because while my manager, who is the same age as my father (53), hits the gym every morning for an hour, my father just recently had a bypass surgery.

I have worked with at least three other 60+ people lately, and was astonished by their healthy lifestyle. One of them was a 70-year-old British man who used to walk along with me for miles in our construction yard. While walking, I usually had to stop him for a break because I used to get exhausted! He, however, just marched on, without any hint of being tired.

My father’s surgery and me getting tired so easily has really awakened me to get my health sorted out. Rather than carrying a load of medicines in the future, I would rather prefer to do a little hard work now and enjoy a better life at present and in my later years!

Read more by Muhammad here.
Muhammad Irfan A structural engineer working in an oil and gas company in Dubai, UAE. He is originally from Karachi, Pakistan and holds a Master's and a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the American University of Sharjah in Sharjah, UAE
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Insaan | 11 years ago | Reply @A Muslim: I have observed the so called devout Muslims from Subcontinent and more often than not they are unkempt, dressed in Arab or Indian clothes (they consider this Islamic) and smelling of last night’s biryani. You think dressing in burqa is a way to go. What does Quran say about how Muslims should dress? You think it is OK to carry dead meat inside the alimentary canal but biryani smell is disguting.
A Muslim | 11 years ago | Reply The worst thing that happened to Islam was that it was spread in the Indian Subcontinent. No one can do damage to the image of this great Deen like these "Muslims". I have observed the so called devout Muslims from Subcontinent and more often than not they are unkempt, dressed in Arab or Indian clothes (they consider this Islamic) and smelling of last night's biryani. Pakistanis are not welcomed anywhere in the civilized world. Indians and Bangladeshis will soon be there because regardless of their faith, their appearance and demeanor is not considered acceptable. So this article was a good one but the writer spoiled it by bringing religion into it. If you think about it, he is saying that the white guy is healthy because he used common sense and the Paki is trying to be healthy because some religious dogma (probably hadith based) tells him to do the same i.e. he is not smart enough to figure out that being healthy is a good thing unless some made up story from some book compiled who knows when tells him to do so.
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