by Ana Z.
Name: Roxana B.
Place of birth: Braila
Place of residence: Galati
In which year were you born?
How would you describe your childhood?
I had a happy childhood, being part of a large family, 2 boys and 3 girls, unfortunately my grandparents died when I was very young. The parents had secondary education (economic high school). My father was an aviator in the army, and my mother was passionate about painting. From my father I think I took the dreamy side…. to heaven, and from the mother the artistic part. Hence the inclination towards beauty, towards different activities within U3A.
The first library was in the parental home where our parents guided us to the cult of reading. We all have higher education, I have economic education. Our parents let us choose what we want without holding us back to the profession we have chosen.
Please briefly describe living circumstances from your teenage up to your retirement
A simple life, a happy childhood, the only unpleasant memory remained that I grew up in the city and not in the village. I studied in Galați and of course I also fell in love with a man from Brăila. A marriage, I think happy with the great achievement of my life, Andrei - 32-year-old son. Looking back I have a happy family, our priority was the education of our child, who did not disappoint us.
I received a free education, without constraints but, with rules, in a perfect harmony, protected, guided, loved.
It was sometimes difficult, more for the parents, there were times when nothing could be found, but we were not marked by these shortcomings, on the contrary maybe they united us. Parents focused on education, school and communication.
I lived 30 years in communism and 31 years later. I am convinced that that period marked us, we were left with some concepts, now when I look back I realize better that those over 70, 75 years old are well supported in that period and have more difficulties to adapt to current changes.
I never thought about retiring in my youth, I thought it was far away, without worries like the life of my parents who had retired when I was in high school.
I was lucky because I worked in the Galati Steel Plant (formally named Liberty Galati, formerly Arcelor Mittal Galati and Sidex Galati), and I retired sooner, I was glad that at almost 56, I was a young pensioner, but retirement was a shock to my husband. Of course, I got hired immediately as an active person and I can't explain the status of a retiree who is no longer active.
What was the position of elderly persons when you were young?
I was lucky to meet relatives (uncles, aunts, etc.) in the family, who guided me in life. When they came to visit, they talked to us like adults. They gave us the importance we needed. It mattered for later; we gained confidence. At work I met different people who shaped me towards the person I am today.
I am an optimistic person and I know how to take everything that`s good from every person I have met.
I learned to observe those around me and to offer them unconditional help. That helped me a lot in life.
Please describe intergenerational liaisons in your family
I was lucky (I am a person loved by God, blessed) to meet a special person, my husband and my husband's family, simple people from the village whom I thanked for the person they educated and raised. They could not help us with raising the child, but the little contact remained in the memory of our boy.
It was not necessary to take care of parents, instead they took care of us a lot.
Please compare what were you thinking about old age when you were young, your expectation of your life in retirement, and how it is really now. What does retirement mean for you?
When we were young we didn't think about retirement… but as you well know in the past we didn't have an education in this sense, it came naturally, now we have alternatives. And yes it is indeed a happy time, I fulfill the most part of my desires. I travel, read, work, go to the theater, shows, I have other priorities than in my youth, I live more intensely. I discovered who I am, even if I don't have grandchildren after my son, I have grandchildren after my brothers and sisters. I enjoy every person I meet, I enjoy every day, I manage to combine work with U3A activity. And yes… in my youth I saw retirees who only received a pension… today we have many other alternatives, opportunities…. trips, computer courses, foreign languages, painting, sports, U3A opportunity and I have even colleagues who have entered the Faculty of Arts or are enrolled in the master's degree.
Retirement for me means a great opportunity to travel and enjoy myself and my husband. The boy has his life and we don't want to be a burden to him. That's why we try to take care of ourselves to be healthy.
Please describe the life you are living now
Now I live with my husband in an apartment in a block, on the 8th floor, with a beautiful landscape. I see the river Siret pouring into the Danube from the balcony, I see the sunrise and sunset. I wake up happy and go to bed like that.
The pension would not be enough, but we supplement our income by continuing to work.
We take care of our health not to be a burden for our boy. We try to exercise in the morning on the cliff, to eat less, but healthy, etc..
We have a special relationship with the boy, we are very close, we are proud of him and he is proud of us. We talk on the phone almost every day. Unfortunately, last year we only met once. We spent 5 days in the mountains together. Before, every year we celebrated Easter or Christmas together.
We have friends, relatives all over the world who have gone abroad. We keep in touch with them, but unfortunately not the same, time, distance has taken us away.
Our friends in the country are with us. This period of pandemic could not be overcome without friends; a phone call, a word of encouragement….
Please describe your daily routines in present
In the morning (not every day) I walk on the riverbench, then I have a meeting with dear friends, then go to work. I have group meeting for organizing activities at U3A: celebrating Eminescu's birthday, Union day, Secret Santa, theatre performances, organizing trips.
Also, I started an English language course. The period we are going through did not allow us too many activities, but there were also weekly trips to the theater, shows, outings in the country, etc.
Which media you consume in everyday life (TV, radio, newspapers); what new technologies do you use (Internet, computers, smart-phones)?
I don't have much time for the media, but I try to read the newspaper every day, unfortunately I watch TV and listen less to the radio. Since a colleague has an online radio, I listen to Mr. Rapă George's post more often.
I adapted quickly and use all modern technology: internet, laptop and phone which is indispensable, I read the online newspaper and other online tools.
Unfortunately, I have noticed many of my generation who are reluctant to modern technology. They are afraid of the unknown, not to be laughed at. We attach great importance to what those around us say, when we should be more open to what is important to us and try to adapt.
What motivates you or can motivate you?
The main motivation is the family, friends are our moral and mental support. The joy of meeting them is immense and of course these friendships are sustained with effort, with the support of the husband, with trust and time.
Of course I keep in touch with children (my boy and his girlfriend, Ana), with brothers, grandchildren, friends.
I am a communicative person. I was not like that in my youth I learned over time that communication is very important. It is up to us to make our lives beautiful. It is up to us to smile and receive what we offer.
What are the major roles of retired persons?
I believe that we, the elderly, have a decisive role in passing on our history and traditions, otherwise we lose ourselves as an identity, we forget who we are, we forget where we come from.
We are a help for raising grandchildren but we have a very important role in educating them.
The young people of the current generation have other values, other knowledge, other interests and it is normal, but combining the new with our experience is very useful.
We try to age beautifully, to enjoy every moment we have together, to live each day as if it were the last.
It is up to us to change something in our lives and be happy.
What would be your message for the younger generations?
Young people should keep their childhood, should be optimistic, have more confidence in themselves and... make mistakes. You are beautiful, intelligent, you can do whatever you want, but try, you should try and dream.
Questions specifically for Romania:
Which traditional customs do you still keep in your family?
We keep the traditional customs; First of all: Easter (red eggs, Romanian Easter bread “pasca”), Christmas (decorating the Christmas tree), Santa Claus with the gifts, St Nicholas, the day of the traditional Romanian blouse “ia” when we wear it with admiration, “martisorul” and customs in the memory of the dead.
Did you go through a painful experience caused by the communist regime (persecution, deportation, nationalization, etc.)? How did you manage to overcome that difficult time?
During the communist regime, neither I, nor my family or my husband had painful events.
What are the values that guided you throughout life and that you want to transfer to the next generations?
The family is very important, parental education and of course personal education.
My role model in life was my parents. We should all be a role model for our grandchildren.
Let's learn to live by our own values. Let's find the balance in marriage, work, let's find the inner balance. It is very important to be self-satisfied and to live in harmony with ourselves.
We do not know how to enjoy what we receive, we must learn from young people to enjoy more.
Young people should trust their instincts, continue to listen to music, stay on the dance floor, be independent, curious, enjoy life without fear and make friends.