A day in the life of Amalia 

Macerata (Italy) - 90 years old

I recently turned 90, and looking back I cannot see where time has gone. My husband died almost 30 years ago, and considering that we got married when I was 22 (which was already late for that time), it feels like the time we have spent together wasn’t that much after all. I started working when I was 15: working in agriculture wasn’t easy, it was laborious and tiring, especially for a small girl like I was. When the Second World War began, and the soldiers came to our town, I was encouraged to go home, not staying there because it wasn’t safe, but I wanted to keep on working, I had to. Today I spend 90% of my time at home. I live with my son, one of my two children, and his wife. I usually wake up around 6am, no alarm needed; it’s out of habit now. Until my son and his wife wake up, I stay in bed and pray, and then I like to make the table for breakfast. Some mornings I wake up with a bad stomach-ache so I make myself a cup of tea, otherwise I opt for a latte.  We have breakfast all three together, and then when they go to work, my day begins. I clean and tidy the house every day, and then, at 10.30am, I turn on the television: there is a programme called “Real Stories” which is about chronicles and recent stories from the news, and then after that there is a programme which talks about health and lifestyle. Television keeps me company, and I’d rather hear that voice than calling one of my sisters. While the television is on, I do the ironing, and start rinsing and chopping the vegetables for lunch (while a cooking programme, which I love, comes on). Around 1.30pm we have lunch together, and when we finish, I tidy up and we all get some rest until my son and his wife go to work. Around 7.30pm or 6pm (depending on the day), I go to church. It’s my way of distracting myself, and even of having fun. I get dressed and spray some perfume on, I adjust my hair with the hairspray, get my bag and I’m good to go. The church is literally in front of my house, but it takes me a while to get there. I walk slowly and sometimes I meet a friend on the way so we chat while we get there. It’s the only activity I do outside every day, it’s my time to socialise, talk and get a breath of fresh air. It may sound boring to some, but I cannot give up this activity. When I was still able to work with my hands, I used to sew and knit and make blankets for my nephews and nieces. But now I can’t do it anymore, so whenever I have something else to do, I am happy to do it, it keeps me active, even if it is just a pile of clothes to hand-wash.  At 7pm, when I get back from church, I make dinner for myself (usually a soup or a broth) and eat on my own. My son and his wife get back too late and I’m already tired at that time. Around 10pm, I’m in bed praying, for myself, my children, my nephews and nieces, my sisters and my whole family. I need to dedicate them at least this time of the day: it makes me feel like they are all around me, it makes me feel like I’m doing something good for each one of them. At 10.30pm, I switch the light off and I get some rest.

Image credit: Ilenia Gatti