by Zenobia L Silas-Carson
I guess I have not retired in the sense that most people think. I have worked since I was in my teens, with just a little time between for a hobby called raising children after divorce, when they were too young to leave alone and I had no money for a sitter, so I stayed home and did my motherly duties, while reaching out to the community as a volunteer or a kind of teacher's aid at their schools, etc.
When I got a few of them old enough to watch the others ( they were five in number and I was still going through a messy and nasty divorce) I went back to school, earned my GED and on to community college years later.
From my early forties to mid fifties, I was a nursing assistant, then worked as a lead teacher at a pre-school, then as a teachers aide working with special needs children.
A mystery illness left me unable to go to work daily, so I took in children in my little apartment/home daycare until 2008 when I moved to another area of Minnesota and began the work that I do now.
I moved to a housing complex that has multi-family units, and worked short hours as an office assistant, then a leasing/housing specialist. I was bumped from my position after four years but not fired.
I was sent to a 55+ 90 unit building to work initially as an office assistant, but the manager gave her two week notice as soon as I got there, and I ( with NO skills in this area) became the interim manager until two months later ( January) when they hired a new one.
I thought I would be given short and insignificant hours again, but instead I have my own office, where I am now not only an office assistant but I got a new title, which is Event Planner. I bring in all the fun stuff, and I am facilitating a women's journal group and fun fitness class.
I also volunteer with Second Harvest Foods that delivers a free box of food each month to those who are eligible, and I have a little "store" in a back room where I have canned goods, toiletries, etc for those who can barely make it on their social security checks what with paying rent and buying their meds and food.
Do I feel great doing this as a senior? Of course, because I feel doubly blessed to be "able" to do this kind of work and have the energy that I have.
I am so totally BLESSED to have this gift come at this time in my life. I am thinking of moving to my place of work one day and living among the people I have grown to love so much.
Is every day rosy and filled with sunshine? Of course not! Some days we are all pretty grumpy, but I try to bring as much sunshine as I can to my peers and remind them that we are all in this together.
My new manager is only thirty five, but we compliment each other as a team. She is less business and more compassion which gets her into trouble sometimes, but I hope she never leaves.
I am feeling better spiritually and physically as a result of my work. I am blessed.
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