— Life —

Cannonballing Into My 60’s

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Today is my 60th birthday. As you read this, I may be laughing, or I may be crying. Hopefully the overwhelming emotion I’ve experienced as I approached the big 6-0 has given way to great expectations about the future. And hopefully I’ll have celebrated with some great champagne and chocolate.

The past few months have been an incredible time of reflection. I used to think 60 was really old. In my 30’s, I assumed that, at 60, I’d be like Aunt Bea or Grandma Walton, grey-haired and puttering around the kitchen in a white apron.

I do have the grey, although it’s well-covered to hide the alarming rate of “transformation.” (Cue Elaine’s article on products for covering roots) I have grandchildren, whom I love dearly, and often find myself in the kitchen, creating family dinners and memories, though handmade pie crust is no longer in my recipe file. There are some endearing qualities about those TV “seniors” I want to emulate. In other ways, I want to be more like Jane Goodall, Mother Teresa and Corrie Ten Boom, who kept going well beyond their 60’s, making a lasting difference in the lives of those they touched.

In my last post, I wrote about the exhilaration of “the first time,” trying new things and taking risks to keep the adventure in life. To truly make life count, even after 60–I shudder to write these words–we must never get complacent. We must keep growing, stretching our minds and infusing new joy into each day. We must have an unbridled sense gratitude, even for the tiniest of blessings. That’s why I’ve taken another giant leap out of my comfort zone to start a nonprofit, The Flourishing Life International Ministries.

I’ve been a life purpose coach for the past five years, working with women around the world to help them find new meaning as they ask, “Now what?” It’s been a great ride, but it’s time for me to step up my game and do something bigger than myself. Here’s the exhilarating—and scary—overview:

The vision of The Flourishing Life International Ministries is to awaken hope and significance in women who’ve been broken through abuse, addiction and exploitation. My mission is to support the restoration and renewal of marginalized women through faith-based coaching and training programs, retreats and workshops, outreach programs and educational resources for women around the world. By helping each woman overcome her negative beliefs, discover her unique gifts and skills, and create a future rooted in her God-designed purpose, we provide the “what’s next” step in her transition to a new way of life. We work closely with ministry partners who provide holistic care for women who’ve been rescued from sex trafficking, addiction, and poverty.

I have no idea where this is taking me, but I’m trusting God will, once again, use me to make a difference in the lives of women, looking for a second chance. Only this time, the women will be hungry for a new life, women who have hit rock bottom and need hope for a better future.

I have a trip to Uganda planned for February, 2017, and I’m working with an anti-sex trafficking ministry in China to provide resources for the women they rescue. The doors to new oppportunities are already opening wide.

So throw off the apron, dye those roots and tear up that AARP card! I’m cannonballing into my 60’s, unsure of where I’m headed, but knowing it will be life-changing, whatever it is.



  • Esther Zimmer November 8, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Firstly, Happy Birthday for yesterday, Susan! I hope you ended up having a day full of laughter, not tears. And wow, your next step sounds incredible! What an amazing thing to do and I wish you all the best, this is certainly an area that needs as much attention and help as it can get and it’s so inspiring to read what you have planned for this next chapter! Esther xx

    • Susan Tolles November 13, 2016 at 3:48 pm

      Thank you, Esther! Now that I am “past 60,” it doesn’t seem so bad. Life continues to whiz by, and I’m just hanging on for the ride!

  • Donna O'Klock November 11, 2016 at 11:31 am

    This brought tears to my eyes… tears of joy for your passion, compassion, vibrancy, and sense of complete surrender to your Higher Power! Rather than rest on your laurels, you are setting a great example for women of all ages to venture forward and embrace a “brave new world,” one not defined by a number! Happy Birthday, Susan.
    XO Donna

    • Susan Tolles November 13, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      Thank you, Donna! Like you, I want to live a rich, full life–wherever it takes me! No need to slow down for at least 20 more years!

  • Dot Moore November 13, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    I tried to sign up for this very interesting web site and it would not accept my email address.

  • beth djalali November 20, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    happy birthday, susan! love how you’re cannonballing into the next decade. and your words reflect your attitude – there’s no age limit on giant leaps of faith.
    wishing you all the best with your new ministry.

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