Today I met the cleaner for one of the apartments I photographed. There was a scheduling conflict and instead of me showing up to a clean apartment that was ready for photographs, I showed up at the same time as the cleaner, Bonnie, to a messy apartment that was not ready to be photographed. We decided that she would quickly clean one room at a time, and I would follow behind her with my camera, photographing each room as it was finished. It wasn’t ideal, but I also didn’t want to have to reschedule this photo shoot. So as Bonnie wiped the counters, made the bed, etc., etc., etc. (me snapping photos as soon as she was finished), we chatted.
Bonnie was quick on her feet and incredibly friendly. She didn’t look a day over 50 and so I was quite surprised when she said she was 70. She told me how much she loved her job, loved cleaning, *loved* doing laundry, was also a seamstress and at one point had owned her own laundromat before deciding to clean apartments. She told me about all of the spaces she cleaned, and all the laundry she did, and how busy she kept. I asked her about retirement. “No, I could never retire. I don’t ever want to retire. What would I do if I retired? I love to work, so I keep working! It keeps me young. My husband retired for a few years and he got bored, so he went back to work. And that’s what we do, we work and we love it. I love my job!”
I hope I never retire either. I hope that I am in a position where I can afford to retire, but I hope I don’t actually retire. I’ve never thought of myself as the type to retire, but then again, I don’t know. I know that when my husband and I go on trips, we get bored after a few days if we aren't able to work, and perhaps that's because both of our jobs are creative, and creating for us is like breathing. All I know is that I want my each and every day to be as happy and pleasant as Bonnie’s days are. I want to love what I do, even if it’s not the greatest job or moment. I want to live passionately and love deeply. I want to work hard and never stop. I want to be thankful for each day, even if it seems small and insignificant. I want to live like Bonnie, and I don’t ever want to retire.