Why you want to live too long?

The desire to live longSeldom will you find a person who does not want to live long. In-spite of critical illness or disease every person wants to live as long as possible. The desire to live long with time got full support of modern medical science. Life Expectancy around the world saw significant improvement over the decades.

In simple terms, life expectancy is the expected number of years left to live. However, its dependency on several minute factors makes it a complex thing to handle.

The world's average life expectancy has shown a constant growth over the years. From 52.62 in 1960 it has gone up now to 69.64. Region wise fluctuation can be found very easily due to environmental and economic factors. Like in Japan humans are expected to live 82.6 years while in Swaziland it drops down to 49.42 years, similarly, most parts of Africa have life expectancy in 40s.

These regional variations in life expectancy around the world are mainly due to difference in approach of public health programmes by government, diet, crime rate, environment, stress factors etc. African countries are most impacted by AIDS due to which there were no significant improvements in life expectancy. Also several countries of Africa are one of the poorest countries in the world, there has been total instability in the economic condition.

Life Expectancy also varies between sexes. Naturally, males have higher mortality rate than compared to females in the womb. Even among the premature babies, females have higher survival rate than males. Similarly, an adult woman lives longer, which is evident from the fact that about 90 per cent of the individuals aged around 110 are female. But men are steadily closing down the gap of life expectancy between them and females.

In a study conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in U.S. a different trend came out. Since 1989, men's life span is up by 4.6 years to that of women’s span of 2.7 years. Moreover, if we draw conclusions than clearly we will find that humans are living longer and modern medical science are letting them to live long.

Moving on from life expectancy, we must ask ourselves that why we want to live long. What’s the idea behind it? How it satisfies our wish?

During Vedic times of India, four stages of life were proposed based on age, through which a person must go. Those stages are –

1) Brahmacharya or Student till 25 years of age. In this, one has to devote his time in learning.

2) Grihasta or Householder -- from 25 to 50 years of age. In this stage one must fulfill their wish to live with their family and loved ones, performing their duties towards them.

3) Vanaprastha or Hermitage -- from 50 to 75 years. Now during these years your focus must shift towards religious and spiritual practices while staying at home.

4) Sanyasa or Renunciate after 75 years of age. This is the last stage where you have to leave your possessions and you must depart from materialistic world to devote the remaining life to attain spiritual knowledge and serve God.

Going by these stages of life, you must devote your remaining life after 70-75 years of age towards spirituality. Spirituality comes with peaceful mind and a peaceful mind depends upon a body with sound health, for which there is absolutely no chance after crossing the age of 70-75 years. Therefore, this Vedic Indian model of dividing your life in four stages and transforming yourself in to a spiritual master will not work in practical world of modernity.
So why humans want to live till very old. Take for instance Canada, where there had been debates going all around over its increasing elderly population. People are unable to figure out benefits of an ageing society.

Perhaps there are many disadvantages if a nation has more elderly population.

-It affects economical growth of the country, which gradually loose its pace due to shrink of workforce because of low replacement rates.

-Government has to spend more on heath as there will be increase in diseases and disabilities.

-Health care services will be burdened due to increase in emergency cases and sometimes proper support may not be possible.

-Older people may be wealthier than in compared to youth but they do not spend in consumer goods as compared to them.

These are the disadvantages in a generalized view which offers no reasons whatsoever to humans to live extra life. By 2050 Belgium's elderly population will increase by over 63% to over 25% of the country's overall population. In 2005, the Belgian government spent 9.1% of its GDP on pensions and 7.1% on health care expenses. With increase in elderly population, government will have to further increase their overall expenditure on pensions and health. Therefore, the more you get old more of a burden you create for everyone.

On a personal level like various stages of life, human body witness drastic change while getting old, but this time changes are mostly negative. Due to decrease in blood flow to body organs, they become less efficient. We loose body strength and flexibility, vision and hearing declines, the whole body metabolism slows down. How often we find old age people saying while watching young guns firing that in our age we would have done better than him.

The immune system also changes with age, which is very essential to protect from diseases. The deterioration of immune system can be explained by the fact that when you are young, influenza most probably will be cured in few days while the same disease may prove fatal for an elderly person.

We wish to live longer than ever, and the same we have achieved with help of modern medical science. The question remains same that living long is not bad but to live we pay price. We let ourselves more prone to disease, pain and dependency on others. The idea of keeping people alive without keeping them healthy is irresponsible. Medical science might have helped enhance our lives but not without pain.

Sometimes we may not have answers to certain questions, esp. about questions related to life. The basic instinct to live as long as possible will always compel us to chose pain over death.

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