Johann Aeschlimann (70) has discovered gardening, and he writes this blog. He turned 70 years old last Saturday.
Johann, why is the blog silent for quite a time now?
I was a little busy. But now, I am making a new start. See, a blog is like a diary. It is only a few who are able to follow through with it for the duration. I am not one of them. But you can always start anew, again and again. Such is life.
Where are you right now?
In zip code CH-4932, a village in the central plain in Switzerland, canton of Berne. Next to the place where Switzerland is most average. We have two stores, two restaurants, two tattoo shops and two or more peddlers of esoteric stuff. In one of them you can buy healing soap if you believe in stuff like that.
Are you stuck because of Covid?
Not for this reason alone, but mostly yes. I have taken my parental home, am doing away with old stuff and get the large garden going.
I always thought you hate gardening.
True, yes. When I was a boy, I had to spend my Saturday afternoons toiling away in the garden while my colleagues were having fun at the pool. But the forced isolation of these days has opened my eyes to the Zen-like characteristics of the yard. Also, I am only doing one or two hours a day. No drudgery.
How does it feel to be 70??
The days after are feeling rather better than those before. At any rate, the big watershed has been passed long ago, after fifty, fifty-five you are losing steam. The talk of “golden years” is highly overrated gobbledygook. A marketing ploy for a particular segment of consumers.
How did Saturday go?
Super special. My wife hit a home run. She contacted friends with an invitation to send videoclips about me which she then spliced into a one-hour long film. Incredible. Way better than those newspaper articles you sometimes read about politicians or artists turning seventy. And this was not all. In the afternoon, she told me to sit in front of the screen at exactly four forty p.m. for a zoom session with my daughters. Little did I know that after a few minutes more and more friends were joining us. In the end, we were two dozen people populating the screen from all corners. It was almost like the birthday party we could not have.
A very particular day.
For me certainly. Unforgettable.
Three score and ten.
That’s what they said in the old times when the normal life span of a human was assessed at seventy years. Seen this way, I am now in the extra innings. Overtime.
Easy. Today they say seventy is no age at all.
It’s nothing very special anymore, that’s true. Assuming that the three-score-and-ten rule applies globally, and further assuming that birthdays are equally divided over the year, about 300 000 individuals would have had their 70th birthday last Saturday. That is, if my math is correct, which might not necessarily be the case.
On a hallmark card I once read “It’s not the age, it’s the mileage”. What is your record?
I did some adding up. Here is what I found out about my achievements and accumulations:
9 bicycles and 9 cars
10 safely mastered recipes
12 large trips.
How much of this is just average?
You can google this, but it would be more interesting to look at the deviations from the normal.
Let’s do it. You are Swiss; therefore, we focus on your consumption of cheese, chocolate, and cigarettes.
OK. Ich neglect the first sixteen years of life, because in this period, the parents exercised benevolent control over my intakes. So, we are dealing with the last 54 years of mine. I reckon to have consumed 200 grams of cheese and 200 grams of chocolate per day.
That’s not enough for chocolate – I have been working with you and I saw how you function under stress.
Let’s not get into this. We stay with the 200 grams. Here’s the math. 200 grams a day results in 1,4 kilograms per week, times 52 times 54 equals 3931,2 kilograms. In round figures, my intake over the years was 4 tons of chocolate and 4 tons of cheese.
This explains your diabetes.
As to cigarettes, the assumption is one pack a day. I was a smoker between ages 16 and 32 and again between 50 and 60. This amounts to 26 smoking years, times 365 equals 9490 packs, times 20 equals 189 800 cigarettes in my lifetime.
This explains the stent in your heart.
Smuggled into the European Union, this merchandise would amount to a fine of about 19 000 Euro – more than I ever paid for a car.
Do such numbers mean anything?
Not for society at large. This is only of interest for myself alone, in the sense of “had I not…” or “what would be if…”. In the general flow of things such data dilute into microelements. The individual life is a highly dissoluble affair.
No bother to anyone, really? Did no one care?
O yes, many did. I am only speaking of the general flow of events in which the individual life disappears. For the individual and his surroundings that life does count a lot. On Saturday, many cared – more than I ever expected. All I am saying is that sub specie aeternitatis one should not take oneself too seriously.