April 06, 2010

On Stress & Life Expectancy

Easter Sunday was spent in the company of part of an extended & mixed family. Some of them were my family from Holland, some was my husband’s family, and the majority was the family of my sister-in-law.
The kids searched for the eggs, while the gown-ups had a copious lunch with lots of wonderful Lebanese wines (which, I am being told, is being advertised widely these days in Holland). 
And one of the topics of the lunch conversation was – as always – the difference between life in Lebanon and life in Europe, or Holland.
The Lebanese all wished that their lives were as nice and organized as in Holland; The Dutch all wished that life was as warm and generous as it is in Lebanon. The Lebanese threw their traffic and corruption in the argument, the Dutch countered this with overcast skies and bland cuisine. The Lebanese brought the war into the discussion; The Dutch raised the issue of the high crime rate. And on and on it went.

So where is life better?

The Lebanese contingent was adamant; life in Lebanon is extremely stressful. You constantly have to fight for your rights, the government doesn’t do anything, it’s a tough world, and as a result, people do not get very old. Dutch people get much older. On the contrary, said the Dutch, in Holland you work all your life for the government, paying taxes, you lead a dog life, and when you are about to retire, your pension is worth nothing, and you die miserable. Now how is that for stress?

As it happened, two of the lunch guests were 95 years old and both very fit. One was from form Lebanon, the other from Holland. So who gets older?

I googled it, and it seems that people in Holland do get older (depending on the source).

Rank     Country        Overall Life expectancy
# 17       Netherlands    79.8
# 95       Lebanon         72
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

Rank     Country         Overall Life expectancy
# 30       Netherlands     79.4
# 104     Lebanon          73.66
Source: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2102rank.html

Personally, I’d rather live in Lebanon. Besides, I checked my life expectancy:
Obviously I’m not stressed too much; I have no worries.