Being 40 in the post-everything era was already complicated; being an adult in 2021 is getting grotesque. Those who were born between the 1970s and the 80s struggle to keep their head above water, crushed by the so-called baby-boomers and by the digital natives. Today’s people in their forties know for a fact that they will never retire, they will not enjoy any social security laws and will have to face seniority in a creative way. At this stage, it becomes crucial to think about the terms we use: precariousness changes appearance and from a working organization form it becomes an existential problem. The end of the great twentieth-century trade union movements smoothed the path to the idea of “agile” work: fast jobs, job centres, outsourcing, temporary jobs are all different aspects of the same problem. We therefore have a generation of biologically middle-aged women and men with a punk attitude that it is not saving neither money nor social security contributions, with no certainties whatsoever.
In this scenario where the raising of the education level does not necessarily mean financial security, it seems that this 40s
generation, however, have partially freed themselves from the control mania that characterized their parents’ generation.
No more terraced house, station wagon, having three children, the dog, the second house at the seaside, no more holidays. The redemption dreams and the childish hope of that post-rural Italy have just evaporated permanently. Many choose or find themselves practising creative jobs with fluidity, focusing on present time. The pandemic and systemic crisis that we are still living today contributes in further reducing the possibility of an economic and sentimental planning. What’s the plan for our future? How are we going to survive once we get older? Answering to these questions is impossible, as through time they have lost their  meaning completely, giving rise to a contraction of time.

F R A N C E S C A - B U R L E S Q U E  P E R F O R M E R - 4 4 YEARS OLD

R E N A T O - S C R E E N W R I T E R  A N D  P U B L I S H E R  -  3 9 Y E A R S  O L D

I am a freelance comic book writer, this means that I have no particular constraints, I can work for any publisher but, of course, I am a freelance, with no permanent contract. If I don’t have a fast pace of publications, I risk passing several months without any income. Comics have always been my passion and I slowly got into this field by making my way almost unaware of what I was doing. I am also a journalist, another work field that is experiencing a lean period. I’d do again the choices that I’ve made, I’ve always been encouraged by my family to do what I love and what is natural to me, I have never put limits to my desire to “create”.
I am happy with what I do but obviously mine is not a conventional career, people often say to me “Ok, but what is your real
work? You should also look for something else”.
I am currently able to save some money, I have no particular expenses, so I can also make some investments. Nothing big,
but still satisfying. In 25 years I would like to be a writer/bookseller. My dream is to own a bookstore, which I would have
done if COVID hadn’t been there. At my age my parents were much more stable and “reliable” than me. My mother was already a teacher while my father, a soldier, had already come a long way in the Italian Army.
I believe in God and I often pray for those around me to be well and healthy.

M E L I S S A -  H O U S E W I F E  A N D  M O T H E R  -  4 0 Y E A R S  O L D

P I E R S I M O N E -  M U S I C I A N ,  Z E N  M O N K  A N D  A S P I R I N G  F R A N C I S C A N  F R I A R  -  4 4 Y E A R S  O L D

I studied saxophone in Italy and I furthered my studies, graduating, in Sweden where I lived for some years. I am very satisfied with my professional career so far; I was lucky enough to play in many countries, collaborating with great artists and being able to broaden my knowledge of the world. I am grateful that I was able to study and practise music.
It has given me precious tools for living my life, such as discipline, devotion to a cause, mutual listening, empathy, attention
and meticulousness, altruism, love for art and the relentless search for our divinity.
If I could go back I wouldn’t change a thing of my past.
My category is not represented by the trade unions, we jazz musicians have always had to "Live by" without any recognition
for our art and the future does not seem encouraging. I was perfectly aware of this problem from the beginning of my
professional career thanks to the warnings of the older musicians. I have always lived in precariousness and I don't think it is necessarily pernicious if by precariousness we mean unpredictability of events and their ability to adapt.
Over the years, however, I realized that the much abused term precariousness is increasingly expanding the spectrum of its
characteristics to become a huge umbrella under which it is possible to trace: economic instability, relational instability,
isolation, lowered self-esteem, professional frustration , social exclusion, destruction of the environment, destruction of the
school system and the consequent breakdown of culture, loss of the sacred.
This multifaceted precariousness will not give birth to a creative, generative humanity, illuminated and alive but a colorless
mass of perfect consumers ready to tear each other apart in order to consume more.
In 25 years I see myself on the way, as always. I will probably be a Franciscan friar and I will devote my life and my experience
to others, and I hope to be able to make a small contribution with a word or a simple gesture to transform this one life that
we have into a sacred masterpiece.

M I C A E L A  -  E V E N T  P L A N N E R  -  4 0 Y E A R S  O L D

I am a musical events planner and I deal more generally with art, music and entertainment in its various forms.
I love my job and I am very satisfied with my professional career and everything I have achieved. In the last year and a half
the pandemic has completely changed my work habits. However, thanks to the network of contacts created in the last 15
years I have had the opportunity to work on volunteering projects to help people in need If I had to go back I would redo the choices I made a thousand times more, even if having many passions and interests, sometimes I like to fantasize about what I could have done, about the places I could have lived in, about the people I could have known and what I could have become.
My job has allowed me to be independent and to be able to manage my own time, follow my passions, meet people, and travel.
At the moment I am not planning it, but in the future I hope I will be able to invest my savings to guarantee myself a pension.
As an old woman I would just like to have my own home, an activity that makes me feel good and being able to travel as much as possible. In the last year and a half Covid-19 and the stop of events, put a strain on my finances. A large part of my savings have been used to face this period of forced stop. I don't like making long-term plans and I like to change my mind often. This is why I don't feel so much the weight of precariousness even if I understand that sometimes it could be destabilizing. Precariousness taught me to adapt to situations, my job is so precarious that after 15 years I still have people asking me if this is actually my job or a hobby. In 25 years I would like to have a suitable job for my age and my needs. I would like to continue living in Rome but possibly have a farmhouse in the Sienese hills, where I would love to host tourists from all over the world and organize events.
When my mother was my age she was pregnant with my younger brother and my father worked in the company where he
worked until his retirement.

A N D R E A  - I N N K E E P E R  A N D  S O M M E L I E R  -  4 1 Y E A R S  O L D

M I C H E L E  -  S O U N D  D E S I G N E R  A N D  S O U N D  E N G I N E E R  -  3 7 Y E A R S  O L D

V A L E R I A  -  P A I N T E R  -  4 1 Y E A R S  O L D

Being a painter is something I've definitely struggled for over the years, I succeeded in the end, despite the difficulties, thanks to my perseverance and daily work. Today I am quite satisfied with my work, I have managed to have many collaborations with galleries and to obtain professional awards. This allows me to be able to live with painting and if I could go back I would not make different choices. Regarding my retirement, it almost makes me smile, but I'm not planning it at all, I just think about the here and now. I hope I can continue to do my job even when I am older, until the end. I think about the present and in my opinion this can be positive, it would make no sense to save money in the historical period in which we live. In any case, the work I do does not allow me to accumulate savings for a pension fund and I do not think the invoices I issue will be sufficient in order to receive a pension.
In 25 years I can still see myself working, maybe I will have a lot of white hair, maybe I will not paint such large canvases as the ones I currently make, but I will still be in the midst of working. When my parents were my age they were living a normal life, raising me and my sister and maybe somehow they were more adults, more stable than me.
I feel close to the Christian religion, I like the figure of Christ very much. I believe we all need to turn our gaze to something not immediately visible, to an intimate faith, to the spiritual side of ourselves. We are impermanent beings, which is why I believe it is important to rely on the eternal.

D A N I E L E  -  A R C H I T E C T  A N D  I L L U S T R A T O R  -  3 9 Y E A R S  O L D

B E N E D E T T A  -  Y O G A  T E A C H E R  -  3 9 Y E A R S  O L D

“Phenomenal generation” recited a song by the Stadio, a famous 90s Italian band. In those years, those like me who were born in between the 70s and the 80s, perhaps thought that they really were phenomenal. The economic boom that characterized those flourishing years had allowed our parents to pave the way for us. They owned houses, they had stable employment contracts, they got their bases covered. And we enjoyed it for years, having a good time exploring Europe with the Erasmus programme, having trips around the world or taking gap years thinking about what to do with our future. We were perhaps convinced that it was all there, within our reach. The real problem was choosing which path to take. Then we became adults. Like an earthquake, filling life with doubts. Air gasps. Some have become parents, perhaps bluffing and going ALL IN (autobiographically speaking); some others instead waiting for a permanent job to be able to buy an apartment with an extra room, were held up as those who do not want to "put their heads right". What then would have been the place where we should have put our head, they never told us.
Meanwhile, in Italy they invented new magic working tricks:, on-call contracts, occasional services, two months in and one at home and then back to work and then who knows, every time you are part of a show in which you never know what’s gonna happen next. And the years go by, social networks spread and when you show up with jeans on, Nike shoes and tattoos at a bank (new forties are kids, whether you accept it or not) they laugh at your request for a mortgage for a two-room apartment in the
suburbs. And after that they ask you for a guarantor. Someone that guarantees for you. Even if you are 40 years old, having a
profession (most of the time innovative) and maybe one or two children. As if you were still a sixteen - year - old in year 10,
who has to get the excuse note signed by mum and dad. How we are all still (or almost) inside the ark, trying to stay afloat in this stormy sea still strikes me, but some credit should be given to us. At least for creativity. That will be useful to us especially in about thirty years when we will not have retirement and we will have to work hard to find a safe harbor after so many years at the mercy of the waves. I am saving for the chiringuito on a tropical beach. It's never too late.

F A B R I Z I O  -  M U S I C  T E A C H E R  A N D  M U S I C I A N  -  3 8 Y E A R S  O L D

I am a musician, a music teacher and also an entrepreneur (they say) having opened a music school with two friends a few years ago. When I started to walk on the path of music I obviously had magnificent dreams in mind, tours around the world and so on. The reality was quite different but I don’t complain. I got some satisfaction from my job and teaching is something that I’ve learned to love over time. I will certainly not be able to have a pension like my parents who at my age already had a child and stable jobs. Sometimes I think with the "hindsight" that maybe I would have made other choices. Aging, you begin to appreciate the idea of a steady salary and a peaceful old age.
I think my generation was a little bit fooled by the idea that anyone could aspire to do whatever they wanted, maybe it worked out for our parents, but for us the reality was very different.
We all realized it a little too late, perhaps, after accumulating degrees and masters and (free) internships without being able
to earn that much (economically speaking).
I don’t know it for sure, but maybe my choices would have been the same. Who knows...

A L E S S A N D R A  -  N A T U R O P A T H  -  3 9 Y E A R S  O L D

I am a Naturopath, I have an Integrated Therapies study shared with two other partners. I am satisfied with my working situation today, especially from a personal point of view, while on an economic level I still can't live on that alone. The opening and start-up costs of the studio were covered by the rent of a home I own and from a second job. Having said that, going back I would do exactly the same thing. I don't have a private pension fund, but I consider home ownership as my future pension.
Job insecurity can have stimulating sides like all things that test you, but this has a bright side only for those who, like me,
have the privilege of owning a home or having a family backing them, for other people instead it is just a huge source of
In 25 years I still see myself at work. I believe in the power of meditation and I don't have a good relationship with religions.
At my age my parents were married, with a mortgage, a 5-year-old daughter and were employed with a stable working

A L E S S I O  -  T A I  C H I  C H U A N  T E A C H E R  -  4 1 Y E A R S  O L D

And then, at a certain point you simply say it’s enough. ‘Cause you see that in the end, now that you have grown up, the things that you told to yourself years ago, many years ago, weren't so untrue. In fact, nothing of what happened afterwards has been able to disprove them, and everything instead has been pushing more and more to the right place. And, as you grew up, those ideas did not go away, but they also grew with you. And what does it mean to become an adult then? What does it mean to grow up? And how many people around you are still in the midst of the river, and the more they are blocked there, the more they want you to stay there with them, without being able to go back and unable to move forward.
So, thanks to everyone, thanks to mum and dad, thanks to grandfather and grandmother, thanks to uncles, thanks to aunts, thanks to friends who love you, thanks to the world as it is, thanks to the professions, thanks to the government, thanks to history, thanks to the greats of the past (Mazzini, Garibaldi and Cavour first, but also King Vittorio Emanuele), thanks to the paved roads, thanks to the cars with air conditioning and a huge, immense thanks to the seat belts, but at the moment I decide to give it a pass. It seems to me that I am safer with my bare feet than the whole cosmos with its leather boots, and I sit here, small, without making noise and without disturbing anyone, playing with life, while it is there, as long as it lasts.

F R A N C E S C O  -  M U S I C I A N  A N D  P R O D U C E R  -  4 3 Y E A R S  O L D

I am a 43 - years - old musician and producer. I also deal with the musical direction in Italian language for several international franchises (Masha and the Bear and Thomas the Train among others). Despite the enormous difficulties that my working field is experiencing, I think I can consider myself lucky because I was not forced to fall back to another activity and I was able to concentrate on what is my passion and my profession. It is unlikely that an artist can ever be fully satisfied with his/her own production, but from a working point of view I am very happy with what I have been achieving in the last few years.
Thinking about the road that brought me here, I realize that everything (the little) I have obtained is the result of two simple
things: commitment and luck. I don't think I would change much of my past, not even the time it took to get a degree, which in fact I never used. I have recently made an important investment to set up my small production studio which I now consider my personal
pension fund. Unfortunately, I don't have the cash at the moment to pay an integrative pension, but I try to save as much as
possible, because the future is very uncertain.
A musician gets used to the concept of precariousness from a very young age. I don't know if it can be stimulating, but certainly I would not know how to manage repetitive office work and dealing with the red tape is always very tiring for me.
As long as I will be positively productive I will work. I do not want to express my view on faith, but I hope that in the future no religion will ever have the power to influence the political choices of a state and the lives of those who do not believe.
When my parents were my age my father was chief administrator of the orthopedics ward at the Anagni hospital and my mother retired very young.

E L I S A  -  W R I T E R  -  3 7 Y E A R S  O L D

“I am a writer " or " I do writing": I don't know which is the right way to say it. I grew up with the idea that the job was what my parents did - my father was a workman for forty years, my mother is an accountant - instead I found myself doing anything but what they did. A thousand different projects, discontinuous schedules, months and months without even a free weekend, irregular
payments, insecurities, VAT NUMBER (!).
But I couldn't have done anything else - and neither would I have wanted to.
As far as I'm concerned, precariousness does not only have to do with the generation to which I belong, it leads to being a writer (be a writer or write, whatever it is the best way of saying it).
I have a very organized and functional present, a tiring and contradictory past (I graduated in Mechanical Engineering, just
to say) and an uncertain future, very smoky, which I don't often think about.
Pension funds, contributions, money under the mattress: I don't care. And if this, on the one hand, especially now that I am verbalizing it, seems to me a great naivety, on the other hand, the idea of being able to untie the choice of who I am from the financial point of view gives me a great sense of freedom, of liberation from a system that does not include me.

G I U S E P P E  -  P H O T O G R A P H E R  -  4 3 Y E A R S  O L D

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