(Update 2016: My mum just celebrated her 78th! and she is still working. Woohoo!)
My mum started her second career about a decade ago after having been a housewife almost all her life. In her younger years, before the children came along she was a hair dresser. I remember being the subject of her styling experiments when I was young.
Today, she is back in the hair dressing business. But she no longer stands behind customers styling her hair though she knows the business very well. She is now the ‘Pantry Director’ a title her much younger colleagues have lovingly given her. In her ‘office’ she makes some kick-axx (pardon my language!) iced lemon tea. And she is so well known for it that many customers of the salon specially ask for her iced lemon tea when they are there.
She enjoys her time there and being around much younger colleagues, most of them young enough to be her grandchildren and she finds pleasure in serving the customers and talking shop with the youngsters.
Being in the salon for six days a week, she gets her daily exercise walking up and down the salon serving customers and being updated on the latest trends. On many occasions we have toyed with the idea that maybe it would be better for her to stop work, but we realized that it is the work that is helping her to stay healthy and have more zest for life.
Too often people don’t give themselves second chances, thinking that if they have reached a certain age they should not be working anymore. But for some people it is through working and serving that gives them more meaning in life. For my mum it is her way of feeling financially empowered.
It is never too late to start a second career, or a career for that matter! Life is about constantly learning anyway and if we settle quickly into a state of contentment without any motivation for more, then life has beaten us. We are no longer in charge of our lives.
I am proud of my mother for her path towards financial empowerment. How much longer her career as Pantry Director will last we don’t know. But as long as it is keeping her healthy she will be there six days a week.
If you happen to be at the Next Salon at Holland Village (Singapore) do say hello to her.
© 2011, 2016 Shamala Tan