That was the age I left paid employment and became a freelance journalist.
I'm even more glad this week as, had I tried to find a job in recent years I would, apparently, probably have been out of luck because of my weight.
A recent scientific survey found that potential employers do discriminate against overweight people when recruiting staff. The reasoning seems to be the age-old concept that fat people are less likely than slim people to have the major traits that make a good employee - they are likely to be indolent and slow, unmotivated, lacking in self-control and self-worth and uncaring about the impression they make on others.
In other words: fat people are lazy slobs.
Yes, it's ridiculous, mostly. I can think of many people who are probably clinically obese and yet are dynamic, motivated and highly successful in a variety of occupations.
And yet - IS there a gram of truth in the argument? Although I feel I worked just as well and just as hard when I was 12 stone, would a prospective employer not be entitled to wonder about that surplus weight? First impressions do count - not only in the jobs market - and weight, fat or thin, is hard to ignore as it makes your body what it is.
I have to admit, if I am honest, that my weight gain was indeed rooted in laziness almost as much as the injured hip and back that took much of the blame. If I had not been physically lazy for many years, preferring - and usually choosing - the couch rather than a cycle ride or a swim, then my hips and back would have been in a better state to withstand the accident that gave me nearly a year of immobility. Indeed, the accident might not even have happened (I fell off a wall!) if I had been more flexible.
And, post-accident, if I had been more motivated and with more self-control I would have got a grip on the situation earlier to shed that weight before it became so much of a problem.
And if I can be lax about my appearance and health - then would an employer not be correct to assume I might be that way about a job? After all, most of us spend longer worrying about our bodies, our health and the way we look than we do about whether we just did the best day's work we could possibly have done, so if we can't be bothered with the former, what hope is there for the latter?
Fat or thin, I'm pretty much unemployable now after going it alone for 37 years, but as one of the many 60-plus people who need to carry on earning as long as we can in a highly competitive marketplace, it does make that diet and exercise plan looks much more inviting if there's even a small chance that it may help us do just that.
Catch up on Judith Wills' Diet Challenge blog entries.
Join the discussion on Saga Zone forums
Judith Wills' Saga Zone thread.