Letter from the Editor
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.