Susan, Age 72
Four years ago, my husband, and my miniature goldendoodle dog, Luca, got on the Queen Mary and sailed to a new country, and a new life Italy. It was the reverse trip that my grandparents made over 100 years ago. Sailing past the Statue of Liberty was an emotional farewell to a country I had loved and was prepared to leave.
We made the decision to retire in Italy after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am now more than 7 seven years cancer free, put the diagnosis was an impetus to face the facts of my own mortality.
My husband and I have no children, although we do have 2 nieces that we love very much. We are both former Human Resources executives from Silicon Valley. I continue to do executive coaching over Skype, while my husband is very happy and fulfilled being retired.
We initially came to a small town, about 14,000 people, in Umbria. We were charmed by the country side and people whom we found open, and curious about us. This past year we also have rented an apartment in Florence so we now split our time between the two places.
I find Italy to be a much less youth focused culture than that of California. Older people here are integrated into the families, and are treated with respect and care.
Living in Italy is not all Under the Tuscan Sun kind of experience. It is not for everyone, but for me, I love this country, its food and wine and above all, its people. I seem far less conscious of my age here than when I am in the US. Here my identity is first as the American, then a woman, then on someone who doesn’t cook and way down the list is someone who is over 70.