by Boyka S.
Name/pseudonym: Tatyana Y.
Place of birth: Russia
Place of residence: Sofia, Bulgaria
In which year wеre you born?
Born in 1955 in Russia.
Briefly describe living circumstances in your childhood:
Tatyana was born in a small town in Russia. Her mother was an accountant and her father – manager at an auto transport company. Both parents had college degrees. They lived separately by their grandparents in an apartment. They were neither poor, not rich people and actually lived as most of the people. They had a garden where they grew vegetables and conserved them for the winter. Her mother had seamstress skills and transferred them to her daughter. Tatyana was wearing clothes sewed by her mother and sometimes her mother’s ones were fixed to fit her. During the summer for a month she was at a pioneer’s camp (this was the middle school youth “organization” in the former socialist countries) for which the parents paid a symbolic fee as the expenses were covered by the state. In her late years at school, Tatyana played volleyball.
Briefly describe living circumstances from your teenage up to your retirement:
After finishing school Tatyana entered an architecture institute following the recommendations and encouragement of her art teacher. She married a Bulgarian and moved to live in Bulgaria already more than 37 years. In Bulgaria in the beginning she worked as a designer and for the last 22 years prior to her retirement she worked in a municipal administration as a chief expert. She was satisfied by her career and had the recognition and respect of the people she worked with. Her family is a solid one, she has one daughter, who graduated from the Musical Academy and lives separately from the family in another town.
What were you thinking about old age when you were young?
When Tatyana was 17 years old, she thought the 25 year olds were very old and their lives were quite boring. When she became 50 she cried the whole day as for her this number marked the border between youth and old age!
“Nowadays, the people who are going to retire are afraid of their future! Their pensions could not cover the necessary minimum of living conditions. For example, my pension could not provide a normal life for me and my family. Thus, I accepted to work part-time as an architect.” Also, that is the opinion of most of her acquaintances – who will become pensioners soon. Bulgarians tend to support and be of help to their children as long as they can.
Please, describe intergenerational liaisons in your family?
Tatyana recollects that back then “there was no problem for choice of profession or getting an education – everyone had that opportunity. One can decide whether to study and educate for themselves. The education was free of charge. Today, the good grades are not enough to become a student, not everyone has the financial means to ensure education to their child.”
Then, the elderly people were sure that they would always have a job that could provide dignified life and opportunities for holiday vacations. She had not heard that at least among the people she knew there were retired people who lived miserably. That was the merit of the state. Concerning the “intergenerational liaisons” – it is a Bulgarian tradition parents to support financially their children to the moment of children’s retirement! That is impossible today as the pensions of the majority of elderly people are not enough even to provide medicines and bread.
Tatyana and her husband could have always relied on the support of his parents as they lived in the same town, especially while their daughter was growing up. Still, her mother-in-law prepares canned produce for the winter for the three families: her own, Tatyana’s and her sister-in-law family. Tatyana and her husband help her financially and take care of her, although they live separately.
Which media you consume in everyday life? What new technologies do you use?
Tanyana does not read newspapers, she prefers television and radio. She uses internet, computer and has a smart phone. Her friends use the new technologies, as well. “I think that the extent to which elderly people use computers, internet, etc. depends very much on the job they performed prior to their retirement.”
Please, briefly describe living circumstances in your current life?
She lives with her husband in an apartment in Montana. Her husband was always the one who provided financially for the family and he is not retired, yet.
Nowadays, she loves to be a retired person as she has a lot of free time which proved not to be enough to realize all her plans. Though, she experienced more opportunities to meet friends, to read books, to watch movies and films, time for the family, to sew, to go for walks with friends, doing sports and so many other things she did not have time to do when she was working. Once per year with her husband they go to a sanatorium and then spend a few days in the mountains. Now, for a change twice per week, she goes to work as an architect. She feels free and independent!
What motivates you or can motivate you?
The most important motivation is the happiness of your child, to maintain physical and spiritual activity, to have the skill to see in the environment the wonderfulness of it and have the senses to enjoy it!
What is your message for the younger generations?
“Money is not the most important thing in life, keep the spirit and take care for the environment – your kids have the right to enjoy it, as well! Do not forget to keep the live - face to face communication, to read as it develops the spirit, raises emotions and feeds the imagination, be romantic, take care of your parents as one day you will become older, too. Realize that a man could live happily even without a mobile phone!”