Fall is the beginning of the new school season. I thought what better time to start a set of alphabet posts than now. This is a series of posts where I pick a random word or words going through the alphabet. I will try to apply them to the Swiss or Switzerland as best I can. Today, “A” is for age, angels and ability.
is for Age
The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball. ~ Doug Larson
Age is a great place to start. Life expectancy in Switzerland for men is 80.4 years and for women 84.7 years; probably the highest in the world. Thanks to the baby boomers (born between 1946 – 1964) and a very good health system, the Swiss population pyramid looks somewhat like an arrowhead. The Swiss are dealing with problems that other 1st world countries are dealing with. Three of them are social security running out, dwindling work forces and raising health care costs.
Raising the retirement age and lowering the pension have both been proposed and rejected by the folk and parliament. But at some point something will have to been done. Health care? We do what we can to stay as healthy as possible.
So, when was the last time you threw a snowball or maybe built a snowman? My husband and I have target practice in the winter. We make snowballs from snow on the balcony or, when we lived in Berne, the roof. Then we find a target, aim and throw. We probably don’t hit our targets as well now as we used to but who cares? It’s fun and that is the main thing. The aging process in our heads seems to be slower than our bodies. Remember, movement is always good and helps keep you healthy. Voilà, now all we have to worry about is our jobs and social security. Then we’ll have that aging thing under control.
is for Angels
Friends are kisses blown to us by angels.
~ Author Unknown
Angels have blown Swiss kisses my way. I know a lot of people in Switzerland, most are Swiss but quite a few are of other nationalities. Friends are more than just people I know so I have lots fewer friends. As far as I can tell, Swiss friends are true and really care what happens to you. Those are the people you can telephone at 3 in the morning if you have to. I’m not sure what exactly I did to deserve their company, but I am glad I have them.
My sister-in-law has a lovely collection of angels. It must be nice to be at the source where kisses are being blown.
is for Ability
Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there. ~ Josh Billings
Alright, the Swiss have the ability to stick to things, especially politicians are like stamps. Citizens vote 2 to 3 times a year. They vote on different initiatives, changes on the legislature, budgets and plans. Actually, you name it and the Swiss have probably voted for or against it at some point.
What seems interesting to me is when politicians are for something and the citizens vote against it. The politicians stick with the idea until it gets there. At one point the community council wanted to have an automobile-free inner city in Berne. Personally, I thought it was a good idea, but the majority of people voted against it. Voting a second time might have resulted in a second “no” which the politicians didn’t want to risk. They initiated a “trial” automobile-free inner city. They, of course, thought it worked so well they just kept it that way. Berne’s been automobile-free ever since.
Come to think about it, I guess I’m sort of like a postage stamp, too. Ben calls it assertiveness, ah, another “A” word and he says I’ve got lots of it.