It's never too late
04 March 2012
âItâs the new trend. 50 is the new 40, 40 is the new 30, and so on,â persevered a colleague of mine. âPeople want to feel younger, so for my friendâs birthday gift we are getting her a T-shirt with a big print saying: 40 IS THE NEW 30!â
Age is all about our minds, and one of the most experienced ICV volunteers is here to prove it. Magda is 89, but her energy, wisdom, and sense of humor would hardly lead you to believe so. Hungarian by origin, Magda has lived in the Netherlands, the United States, and finally settled down in Switzerland. We have had the opportunity to witness her lively spirit during the many conferences sheâs participated in. She speaks seven languages, a skill of crucial importance during her career at the ITU (International Telecommunications Union), and now, a great advantage for volunteering with ICV. âICV was my first contact with volunteerism. It was maybe egoistic, but I still wanted to be able to do something as a retiree. Having done conferences for many years at the ITU, I wanted to contribute something from my own expertiseâ, she explained.
Magdaâs motto is âAll or nothing!â She has volunteered more than 40 hours per week during many conferences; always committed to giving her best. Volunteering gives her an opportunity to meet interesting people and to make friends. âI like to be in contact with people from different nationalities, and I like the atmosphere that comes with itâ. Having organized and participated in numerous conferences during her career, she has a collection of anecdotes, some of which sheâs shared with us: âDuring one conference, I was in charge of registration and there were about a dozen people standing in the line, most of whom were of different nationalities. It just so happened that the last one was a Hungarian. Having listened to me talk to each one in their own language, he came up to me, gave me his passport and proudly said âThis is Hungarianâ. Can you imagine his face when I replied âI knowâ â in my native Hungarian?!â
Conference volunteering is not the only way Magda has stayed in touch with people. In her first years working with ICV, she got increasingly frustrated seeing that news updates were sent by email rather than by post. And then, at the age of 84, her daughter gave her a computer as a present. Though skeptic at first, she now uses it on a daily basis. âI think I can throw all of my encyclopedias out the window, because most of the information I need is now reachable within a minuteâ. Having friends all over the world, she uses the computer also to stay in touch. âItâs nice to get an email from Venezuela and answer it immediately; although it doesn't mean that I can't live without my computer. Besides, I am able to see what I want to see, and I canât say the same about televisionâ, she explains. Whether she watches Fred Astaireâs dance or her favorite piano concert on her computer, Magda has mastered new technologies and is eager to discover new territories. The important thing is to keep an open mind. In her own words: âAs long as you have interests and curiosity, youâll remain youngâ.
Posted: 2012-2-23 Updated: 2012-9-14