As a woman in my early 70s, I’m one of the first of the baby boomers, and I’m trying to figure out how to live for what science predicts will be another 20 years of a healthy life. With no role models for such an extended lifespan, I’m mostly winging it. I believe that women aged 70+ are more alike than we are different. Our life expectancy is projected to be well into our 90s. I’d like to join hands with other baby boomer women to explore what it takes to live creatively and consciously (and attractively) for longer, healthier lives than any women before us.
On new adventures at any age
I moved alone from Austin to Florence, Italy, when I was in my 60s and lived there for three years. Becoming a full-time resident required not only setting up a home there, but also getting an Italian visa and going through myriad (nearly impossible) processes and documents (all in Italian) to get permission to live in Tuscany and in Florence.
On doing that one thing
I taught high school and college English for more than 30 years. I chose that profession because I love to read. I guess loving to read leads to loving to write? ONe day, I put down a mystery I’d just finished reading, and I thought to myself, “I can write mysteries. HOw hard can it be?” My answer, after several years working (on and off) on my own book: IT IS VERY HARD. But I finished it, and I feel great about it. I’m almost ready to start another one!
On living fearlessly
Travel helps me learn about myself, especially when I travel alone. Sitting down in a restaurant in a foreign country where you know absolutely no one takes courage and self-awareness, but it also takes a bit of lunacy and an ability to laugh at yourself. I’ve been afraid only a handful of times in foreign countries, but every time I managed my fear, I felt stronger for having done so.
Since I retired, I’ve lived abroad, traveled alone, and written a book. I’m not really sure what’s next, but I’m excited and ready.
Susan Toalson is an author living in Austin, TX. As a professional educator, Susan taught high school and college English for more than 30 years. Her tenacity and strong work ethic led her to oversee the development of the first accredited online high school in the state at the University of Texas. She is an active member of several organizations, including The Writers’ League of Texas, Sisters in Crime, American Contract Bridge League, and Mystery Writers of America. Susan holds an MA in English with a focus on American literature. As a retiree, Susan has been committed to fearless living and continues to pursue learning passionately. Inspired by her love for fiction and authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, T.C. Boyle, flannery O’Connor, and Agatha Christie, she has recently completed her first book, a mystery set in Austin, TX.