‘I found my own happiness,’ says 89-year-old whose wife died over 20 years ago and children are estranged.
An 89-year-old man has embarked on an adventurous new career – that many would be too timid to try, even in their younger years.
After his wife died, Wang Suzhong spent most of his time alone in his small flat, passing the time cooking and washing clothes.
When he realised his meagre pension would not be enough to support him, he went out in search of work.
As most of us can imagine, it’s not easy to start a new career when you’re in your 80s.
However, Mr Wang found he could model at nearby college for around 70 Chinese yuan (the equivalent of AU$14) per day.
The fee went up by around 50 per cent – to 100 Chinese yan (AU$20) – for nude modelling.
And so Mr Wang began searching for meaning and new interests which took him to a new career as a nude model. He now spends eight hours a day modelling – with breaks in between to rest of course.
Sadly, Mr Wang’s children don’t approve of their father’s new job, and he no longer sees them.
“I don’t care if they don’t understand me now,” he told the South China Morning Post.
“They will have their turn to feel lonely when they are old.”
Mr Wang lives in Chengdu, a city of 14 million inhabitants in southwest China. Formerly a tailor, he now describes his new career as ‘body arts’.
“I just have fun,” he told the South China Morning Post.
“My body shape is quite good for a senior citizen,” he said.
“I don’t feel shameful about it. It makes me feel less lonely and it helps me financially.
“Being a model for body arts made me forget all my sadness and worries. I found my own happiness.”
Mr Wang’s story serves as an inspiration to us all.
He has found a balm for his social isolation. Loneliness is growing problem around the world as more and more people live alone. In the 2016 census in Australia, nearly one in four households consisted of only one person, up from one in five households in 1991.
Growing numbers will have to find new ways to connect with others, and though it’s unlikely that many will follow Mr Wang’s route exactly, many will have to move out of their comfort zone to find connectedness.
Mr Wang is also breaking down preconceived ideas about old age and beauty. His modelling career challenging the notion, perhaps more common in the Western world, that only the young can be beautiful and are worthy of artistic representation.
Mr Wang is breaking down barriers as he approaches 90 years old. He has found a new activity that challenges norms – that also provides him with an income and happiness.