In the evening of our lives
FROM FAR AND NEAR - Ruben Almendras (The Freeman) - May 21, 2019 - 12:00am

It had been a few years since the 50th or the Golden alumni homecoming of our high school class in San Beda College but suddenly this year, a Viber group for all surviving members was created and arrangements/invitations for lunch and dinner reunions were posted.

There was the usual exchange of information, advice, words of wisdom, and some serious discussions about politics and life in general among members. There were animated discussions about the elections but it was agreed that we should agree to disagree.

I chimed in that as we are all “in the evening of our lives” we can also agree that what we want are politicians and a government that will be good for our children and grandchildren. This is a diverse group composed of retired professionals, businessmen, retired generals, and government officials.

In literature, the phrase “the evening of our lives” was a euphemism for old age and if we take it from Plato’s time in ancient Greece, this would be people in their fifties. Economic development and the consequent medical advances have pushed old age to those who are ninety, and so middle age would be 45 to 55 years old. To reflect the new reality, the euphemisms are as follows: 1 to 20 are morning, 21 to 35 are mid-morning, 36 to 50 are noontime, 51 to 65 are afternoon, 66 to 80 are evening, and 81 to 95 are nighttime. As my high school classmates are all in their seventies, I got it right when I put us all in the “evening of our lives”.

A study conducted by the World Health Organization in 2015 ranked the average lifespan of people in 183 countries from longest to shortest. There were different rankings for men and women and a combined ranking for both sexes. On the average, women have a five year longer lifespan than men in almost all countries.

Then, the rankings are different for men and the women. While Japan is ranked No.1 in female life expectancy with 86.8 years, it is only No.6 for male with 80.5 years. As this article is about high school boys who are now grown men, let me just focus on the life expectancy of males, and the top 5 are: 1.) Switzerland with 81.3 years, 2.) Iceland with 81.2, 3.) Australia with 80.9, 4.) Sweden with 80.7, and 5.) Israel with 80.6. The Philippines is at No.126 with 65.3 years, and No.183 is Serra Leone with 49.3 years. The average for the whole world is 71.5 years. These data was as of 2015 so most likely it has improved for most countries. Since these are also averages, individuals who have better economic resources than the average persons in their countries will surely beat these average lifespans.

Aside from my high school classmates, I also enjoy the company of other friend of all ages and play golf with friends in my age group and take cognizance of the concerns and issues affecting this age group as part of my job as an investment banker and writer.

Health seems to be a major concern, so this is the age group that spends a lot on doctors, healthcare, and medicines. This group has the information and the purchasing power that is driving the healthcare industry.

The accumulated estates of this group which will eventually go to their children are significant for investments, especially because of their diminished wants and needs. Then there is the issue of coming to terms with their beliefs and religion, and there is definitely a drift towards religiosity. I would like to say that I am at peace with my golf and my God. I can still drive 200 yards, and on a good day I can break 100. The God portion is always a work in progress because it means moral and ethical behavior, good works, and making the world a better place. We are the gentler people enjoying family and friendships “in the evening of our lives”.

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