Zeynep Macit

Story of Zeynep Macit


Zeynep Macitler was born in a small village at a small town of Kayseri in 1928. During the interview, we ask Zeynep to talk about herself, her past and her current life.

“Could you please introduce yourself?” we asked. She starts telling her life story in detail. She got married when she was 14, her spouse passed away at a young age and tells her struggle afterwards…Proper pride about surviving and struggling appear through her speech. We get short answers while addressing her current life; it seems like she has not too much to say. She only talks about her children and grandchildren and how much she loves them. It seems like Zeynep’s life story, expectations and advices to young people are all marked by her past experiences. “Do old people always live in the past?” we thought about for a moment. Don’t you think old people, particularly the ones in our country, have a life story they can tell proudly and excitedly while talking about their current life?

Hope you read this interview we made with Zeynep with same feelings.


Could you please talk about yourself?

I was born in Pınarbaşı /Sarız (a district in Kayseri). I lived in Sarız until I was 14. I was just 14 when I got married with a man, who was 13 years older than me. I married into a village in Sarız. I went to Adana after living there for a few months. I went to Camuzağılı in Adana. I gave birth to my first baby there. I was 15 years old when I gave birth to my first baby. I and my spouse worked with farmers in Adana. We worked in the field. Later, I gave birth to four babies one after another.

We bought a small house in Ceyhan (a district of Adana) and moved there. We were happy to have a house. However, my spouse got sick afterwards. I brought him to Ankara. He stayed at Faculty of Medicine in Ankara for 6 months. Next, I brought him back. He stayed at hospital also in Adana for 2-3 months. I gave birth to another child before my spouse passed away. My daughter was only 20 days old when he died. When we lost father of our family, we had a horse cart and two cows.

My son was 9 when his father passed away. He was both attending his school and working with me in our horse cart. I and my son worker together and earned our keep. I started working at Çukobirlik Factory at that time. I worked there for a long time. My son not only attended high school, but he also dealt with horse cart. I was also carrying goods with our horse cart in my off days. In other words, I and my five children put bread on the table. My son grew up. He was graduated from vocational high school of health. He attended the university exams and matriculated at faculty of education in Gaziantep. There was a major political chaos in the country at that time. Therefore, I opposed his attendance to university, I was scared that he would be harmed. “Then, I will not work with horse cart, it is all over for me” said my son. I sold the horse cart, as I was desperate. I had two cows. I also sold cows. I bought a land in Ankara. We sold the land to a building contractor in exchange for a small house. Next, we rented a lorry and carried all our belongings. Our six-month old calf was also in the lorry and we traveled to Ankara.

Our house was not connected to electric and water network in Ankara, but we could cope with it. I started working at a privately owned physiotherapy center in Ankara. I was working there, but I was also dealing with our cow. My son also started working. He also worked and thus, we could earn our keep. My daughters also grew up and she was graduated from university. Next, I retired and we decided to travel to Mersin. Now, we live in Mersin.

So, what have you been up to, how do you spend your days?

I am sick… I do nothing. My daughter and my son-in-law look after me. I cannot do anything, I cannot work at all.

What does old age mean to you?

Being old is not a good thing. People go to work and spend time in youth. Considering the elderly care, my children look after me. They are dutiful, I cannot complain.

I am not very healthy, I get sick frequently. I am quite anxious. I get anxious even when my daughter comes two minutes late. I could have a better life if only I was not this anxious.

When do you think the elderly period has started for you?

It has been about 1.5 to 2 years since I have accepted that I am old. When I kept my hands off the work and got sick, I realized that I got old. First, I could not cope with the fact that I was old and I insisted on working. But thank God, my children studied and they have jobs. They stand on their own legs; they look after me.

How does having grandchildren feel like?

Very good… I love them. Especially my nurse daughter’s daughter… I love her so much. She completed the university education and became an interior architect. I have a son and four daughters. I love all of them, but I love my son more. Frankly, I do not know why I love my son more than my daughters. Maybe this is because I earned my keep with him and I did all the works with him. Or maybe because I only have one son? I do not know why I love him most.

What are the things that are valuable for you at this period of your life?

My children and grandchildren are my most valuable assets. I do not have my eyes on anything else. I have nothing to do with money or wealth. I am not a fan of having too much money. I am retired but I do not know anything about money.

Being respected is crucial for the elderly. What are your opinions on this matter?

Respect… I treat anyone, who loves and respect me, with love and respect.

Do you like getting respect from the others?

Of course I like it. One feels much better. You feel better if your children and grandchildren love you and show respect to you.

Do you need support? If you need support, who provides you with this support?

My children support me.

What is it like being an elderly in Turkey, how does it feel?

People experience freedom, youth, the ability to handle own requirements…But they all come to an end when you get old. You deprived of all these capabilities, you just need the help of your own children. You have to be satisfied with them, whether you like it or not. However I love my children, my grandchildren. Thank God that I also have many grandchildren. They also love me. I was never disrespected by them. I am currently living with my daughter. I regained my health and received treatment thanks to my son-in-law and daughter. What else can I say.

What are your expectations from the government regarding elderly population?

I lost my spouse 51-52 years ago. I always worked while depending on my own strength. As I worked, I never let my children depend on others. Thank God they all had a good education career.

What would you like to advise young people to prepare for old age?

They should treat the elderly with respect. They should help those who are in need. They should help them, I am not insisting on monetary one. Not every elderly requires money. Elderly need love. For example, we like when they ask how we are doing when they come home.

What would like to advise young people about elderliness?

They should be careful with their health, they should avoid early exhaustion that leads to many ailments. This way they would not experiences too many difficulties when they get old. Experiencing exhaustion in youth makes the elderly period very difficult. I take tons of medications every day, for whatever benefit they could offer me... There is almost no hospital where I did not stay. I thank God for my daughter who is a nurse. They keep me standing and care for me. My only choice is to return to their side again.

Young people should stop being bothered by everything. They should live a good life. They should respect and love their families and elderly relatives, but they should not also forsake their wishes and goals. They should value themselves.

I coped with many severe diseases. Fortunately, I am still standing. I also recommended it to young people. They should not give away, they should care for themselves.

What do you think about the difficulties of being a woman?

Being a woman is truly hard. Women live the hardest of lives. I never live on the money of a man; I always worked on my own. My spouse was anyway sick. God rest his soul. I was the one working all the time. I managed my house and helped my children educate.

Our Project “A Common Challenge - Two Different Cultural Perspectives” funded pursuant to IPA II is entitled to be supported by CENTRAL FINANCE AND TENDER DEPARTMENT of TURKISH MINISTRY OF TREASURY AND FINANCE.

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