Barbara Guedel, 72, a retired nurse, works as a part-time nurse in a home for individuals requiring special care. She walks around the balcony during her job in the house of a man she works at in Biel, Switzerland on July 12, 2023.
Barbara Guedel, 72, a retired nurse, works as a part-time nurse in a home for individuals requiring special care. She walks around the balcony during her job in the house of a man she works at in Biel, Switzerland on July 12, 2023.

Barbara Guédel, 72, is a former nurse whose life has been marked by incredible challenges and journeys that have shaped her into the person she is today.

Barbara's story took a significant turn in September 2015 when she made the decision to end her 30-year marriage, marking the beginning of a new chapter in her life.

One of the most inspiring facets of Barbara's personality is her adventurous spirit. She has traveled to 10 countries for work, immersing herself in diverse cultures. Her first work-related trip was in 1985 when she served as a nurse in Mali. In 1988, while working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), she met her future husband in Angola. After these enriching experiences, Barbara returned to Switzerland and worked in a hospital in Biel until her retirement in 2014.

In 2019, Barbara started working as a professional freelance nurse, providing care to individuals in need. Besides her work, Barbara has a passion for art, sculpture, cinema, travel, writing, reading, painting, nurturing friendships and attending jazz concerts. Over the past three years, she has adopted a healthier lifestyle, quitting smoking and embracing a more nutritious approach to food.

Reaching her 70s has been a real transformation and rejuvenation for Barbara. She has an optimistic outlook on life, enthusiasm for adventures and her resilience is inspiring others. Barbara's life experience serves as a reminder that life is a little bit like an empty canvas, eagerly awaiting us to embellish it with qualities of resilience, joy and fulfillment. This all while fostering connections with those we hold dear like friends and family. This is of importance, before embarking on the ultimate journey.

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How does it feel to be 72?

"I feel well and I am happy and content with my life as it is right now. I like being with people."

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What do you look forward to?

"I take things day by day, I don’t plan much ahead but decide more spontaneously. I’m grateful that I’m healthy. I wish to be even more at peace with myself."

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What is your biggest concern?

"I hope to remain healthy and relaxed for as long as possible, maintaining my household and staying at home. I hope to continue nurturing strong connections with my friends and providing care for them. When the day comes, I hope to pass away peacefully, leaving behind no unresolved problems."

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Life expectancy 2023

84.38
years
Switzerland

About the photographer

Fatma Fahmy

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Fatma Fahmy is an Independent Visual Storyteller based in Cairo, Egypt. She earned her B.A. degree in Chemical Engineering from Cairo University in 2013. Her work focuses on environmental concerns and social issues affected. She is a contributor to Reuters.

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