As the sun slowly descends in the western sky, a man on the balcony of a Malate condominium is gazing at the undulating waters of Manila Bay as it mirrors the disappearing sun.

While enjoying this scenic view, the man casts his eyes on the tinted window glass next to him and sees his “youthful” visage. Blessed with baby-faced features, round face and big doe eyes, he looks younger than 50. However, his silvery hair and crow’s feet tell a different story.

The man suddenly wonders, “What does it feel like to be 75?”

The awareness dawns that, at the age of 75, he will find himself at the twilight of his life, contemplating on the rich tapestry of experiences that have shaped his journey.

As the question lingers in his mind, he finds solace in the belief that life, like the enduring waves of Manila Bay, will keep going, revealing its beauty in every rise and fall.

The grade of 75 may not be a perfect score, yet it symbolizes the lessons learned along the way. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF unsplash/ nguyen-dang-hoang-nhu


Make the grade

Like everyone else, the man had his fair share of ups and downs, successes and failures. As he pondered through the chapters of his life, he couldn’t help but compare life to an exam, with 75 as the passing grade.

Life threw questions at him — some easy, others hard and challenging. Some were like multiple-choice quizzes, offering options that seemed equally plausible. Others resembled open-ended questions, requiring thoughtful reflection. Yet, there were times when the questions could be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” It was very rare for him to encounter a question without a clear right or wrong answer.

Regardless of the nature of the exam, the man faced each one head-on. While he stumbled along the way, as any person might, he always got up, learning from each test. Wisdom and experience played a significant role in overcoming obstacles.

The grade of 75 may not be a perfect score, yet it symbolizes the lessons learned along the way. In his moments of introspection, he sees 75 not merely a passing grade but a mark of resilience, reflecting the valuable insights he gained from life’s diverse questions. Each failure, each wrong answer, had been a lesson woven into the fabric of his being, contributing to the mosaic of experience that defined him.

With three-quarters of a century’s worth of experience, the man, upon reaching the age of 75, plans to continue relishing life every day until the sun goes down on him.


Shoot a 75

A typical 18-hole golf course usually has a total par of around 72. If a course has a par of 72 and a golfer takes 75 strokes to complete the course, the reported score is “three-over-par,” indicating that the golfer took three shots more than par to finish.

Think of life like playing a round of golf. Reaching the age of 75 can be likened to completing an 18-hole golf course. In this analogy, the par 72 represents the average life expectancy. According to global data analyst,, the current average life expectancy for the Philippines in 2023 is 72.2951 years.

If, at age 75, an individual encounters certain challenges or deviates from the conventional path, it can be compared to a golfer taking 75 strokes to finish a par 72 course. The reported score of “three-over-par” serves as a metaphor for the additional efforts or adjustments one might need to make in life at that age.

The main difference, however, between life and golf lies in the fact that being “under par” is favorable in the sports, while being “over par” has a positive meaning in getting older.


Near the twilight

Sipping his coffee, the man now observes the sky shifting its colors from fiery orange to deep purple.

While his outlook upon reaching 75 may appear positive, he wonders if he can still play golf or any of his favorite sports at that age.

At 75, an individual is often considered to be in a phase of life where he encounters unique health challenges. This prompts contemplation about the quality of life, medical care and societal perspectives on aging.