Let­ter from the Editor

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The re­cent Time spot­lighted a new Alzheimer’s pill, a “rad­i­cal new drug that could change old age.” Apart from this cover story, a chunk of the is­sue was de­voted to dis­cussing de­vel­op­ments in the study of ag­ing. Ac­cord­ing to the in­tro­duc­tory es­say by Laura Carstensen, founder of the Stan­ford Cen­ter on Longevity, peo­ple in the 20th cen­tury have man­aged to grow old—way past the record set by the his­tory of evo­lu­tion. To­day, our gen­er­a­tion of hu­mans are able to reach the oc­to­ge­nar­ian mark and be­yond. “An im­por­tant first step in cre­at­ing a cul­ture that sup­ports long life is rec­og­niz­ing that long-term plan­ning doesn’t come nat­u­rally to hu­mans,” Carstensen says. “Noth­ing in our evo­lu­tion­ary her­itage pre­pared our brains to think clearly about the dis­tant fu­ture or, for that mat­ter, to take much no­tice as the ef­fects of our daily habits—which ac­cu­mu­late over the course of many years— be­gin to present them­selves.”

That we are in­ca­pable of ef­fi­cient long-term plan­ning is pretty self-ev­i­dent. Why take on that daunting task when you have the con­ve­nient op­tion not to? I’d be sur­prised if I meet any­one my age who has se­ri­ously thought about life af­ter re­tire­ment. Oddly, it’s not a mil­len­nial virtue to do so. Is #YOLO a poor band-aid to this evo­lu­tion­ary de­fi­ciency?

In an in­ter­view with The Paris Re­view, when asked about what it was like to be an Amer­i­can in Paris in the 1920s, the poet Archibald MacLeish said, “To be young in a time like that was in­cred­i­ble luck—to be young and in Paris.” This makes me won­der about what it means to be young in Manila to­day; not only about how youth is lived, but how we are col­lec­tively shap­ing a fu­ture land­scape where our older selves will have to live in, too. The thought of it gen­er­ates in me both fear and fuel.

Dur­ing our cover shoot, I was talk­ing to Mark Sablan, GMA Net­work’s head of PR and events, about the dra­matic shift Alden Richards’ ca­reer has ex­pe­ri­enced in the past year. Mark de­scribed how busy Alden is, the long nights and the many re­spon­si­bil­i­ties at­tached to pil­ing com­mit­ments, and how the 24-year-old has cho­sen to view th­ese bur­dens as in­dis­pens­able parts of an un­miss­able op­por­tu­nity. He fre­quently re­ferred to it as “Alden’s time.” Alden is wary of the fleet­ing na­ture of fame. It’s en­tirely pos­si­ble that, as MacLeish put it, in­cred­i­ble luck is at the core of it, but Alden isn’t tak­ing any­thing for granted.

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