by Giovanni D.
Name: Marinella Z.
Place of birth: San Giovanni Suergiu
Residence: Quartu S. Elena
Year of birth
Describe briefly your living conditions from childhood to retirement.
I was born during the war years and, like everyone else, my family and I went through very difficult times: my father worked as a boiler technician in a thermal power plant. Near the plant, for service reasons, apartments had been built for the personnel who would have to intervene in case of emergency. My family consisted of my parents and three children: I was the youngest of the three. My maternal grandparents and uncles lived far away, in the capital, and given the scarcity of means we saw little of each other, the relationships were mostly letters. Even the relatives of paternal parents lived far away: they lived in Veneto, we knew each other only through photos. At the age of six I started primary school.
My adolescence passed very peacefully, my family was very close and I received support, help and advice. School, for those like me who lived in the suburbs, has always been a sacrifice: I travelled to attend middle school and high school; to complete my studies I had to go to a boarding house in Cagliari, I graduated in medicine and immediately afterwards I started my working career. I worked first in a nursing home as a general practitioner, and then in a hospital at the analysis laboratory. I didn't get married and I dedicated my time to work. I didn't travel much except to finally meet my relatives in Veneto. I cannot say that everything has been satisfactory in my life, which has had ups and downs. I chose to retire when I was young, so I could finally enjoy the freedom that work had, in part, deprived me of.
What was the position of older people when you were young? Who made the most important decisions?
I would like to point out that we were talking about older people, not older people, who had to be respected precisely because of their maturity. One person to whom I was very close was the head of the power station where my father worked, a very cultured, intelligent person of great humanity to whom I often turned for advice at school and beyond. As far as my choices were concerned, I always had a lot of freedom in this regard, I also personally planned my retirement. My father taught us to make our own choices and he never interfered in our decisions which, of course, had to be considered, because we would be responsible for them. His advice was always valuable.
What were the intergenerational relationships in your family?
In my family there were no generational problems because fortunately my parents were very open-minded and modern-minded; at times I almost felt as if I were older than them. After the age of twenty I left home to study, but I came back as often as I could; of course I spent the summer month, when I was free from exams, at home with my family.
Unfortunately my father left us too soon, he was 73 when he passed away, but for us he was still too young and we suffered a lot, as if a pillar of the family had passed away. My mother came to live with me and stayed with me until she was 89 when she left us too. When I left the apartment to go to work, she ran the house all by herself, she was a fantastic woman.
Please compare what you thought about old age when you were young, your expectations about life as a pensioner and how you really live now.
When I was young I did not think about old age and older people than me did not consider them older, as I have already said, but only older and more experienced people to ask for advice. I never thought about retirement, but as soon as I got the chance to retire I quit my job, which no longer gave me any satisfaction: I retired at the age of 53, so I was still quite young. As for me, I finally felt free and I was able to dedicate myself to my mother, who was now ahead of her time, to my brothers and sisters; finally I was able to dedicate more time to my family and friends with whom I spent pleasant days and finally to my hobbies.
Describe briefly your current living conditions.
My current living conditions are discreet. I live in a beautiful house with a beautiful garden, my pension allows me to live with dignity. Unfortunately I lost my siblings too soon, my nephews and nieces are grown up and live far away for work reasons, but we keep in touch regularly and are ready to help each other in case of need.
What are your daily habits and how do you spend your days?
My day spends very simply between the usual boring chores, which I have to do every day, and living with my neighbours: I have lived in a condominium for more than 40 years, and now all the tenants are like a second family; we often find ourselves discussing more and less and, if necessary, we help each other and sometimes go out together. Just to give an example, when I was admitted for an operation, a neighbour took care of me and my pets, while another one kept me company and came to visit me every day. Almost all my neighbours, actually, came to visit me at the clinic. In my building we are almost all retired, their children and grandchildren are part of our big family, so nobody feels lonely. A dog and three cats also keep me company.
What is your relationship with social media? Do you use them on a daily basis?
The media I use every day are obviously TV, radio and newspapers. I like technology (my nephews call me the technological aunt), of course I use the Internet, computers, smartphones, also because nowadays it's all computerized and you have to adapt. But for me it has also become a hobby. What does my generation think of this technology? I would say that some of them are very good, others are getting closer to it thanks to the use of smartphones, even if they are not very enthusiastic about it.
What are the things that motivate you the most?
What particularly motivates me is, for sure, to maintain physical activity - as far as we are concerned - and especially mental activity. It's important to keep in touch with the world, with your friends and family - in practice, living. And this has also been the teaching of my parents.
What, in your opinion, is the main role of pensioners?
The roles of pensioners can be different: they can help their children with the management of their grandchildren, pass on traditions to younger people and let them know their past as our parents did with us, because it is important that all this experience is not lost.
What is your message for the younger generation?
To young people I can only say: listen to the elderly, the elderly can always give you good advice. Talk to them, you will find out how many interesting things they have to say to you; maybe sometimes detach yourself from your smartphone and devote more time to real relationships.