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THE WOMEN OF TTN

Our members are the heart and soul of The Transition Network.  Our chapters are born, nurtured and grown through the vision and energy of these exceptional women. And they come to TTN with wonderful life stories of successful careers, diverse families, and plentiful life experiences to share.  

Browse through our Member Profiles to learn more about what brought our members to this point in their lives, what they are hoping to accomplish next and how they view their impact on the world.

Introducing TTN Featured Author: Susan Goldfein

It’s time to introduce the newest TTN Featured Author: Susan Goldfein. Susan Goldfein, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, “recharged an old interest in writing” after she retired. She currently maintains a popular blog An Unfiltered Wit, on which she writes “short witty essays,” and has completed her latest book, How Old Am I in Dog Years? Discover the journey of our latest Featured Author by reading the interview below, conducted by TTN PR Team Member, Marcia Smalley.
 

Wit and Wisdom From the Far Side of the Hill

By Marcia Smalley, TTN PR Team Member
 
I caught up recently with Susan Goldfein, the inspiring author of How Old Am I in Dog Years? This offering is as delightful and engaging as Susan herself.  Susan’s kicking things up a notch as she rebrands her very popular blog and dives into her newest iteration as a guest speaker as well as a popular author. The Palm Beach Post has picked up some of Susan’s essays, and the Delray Beach Public Library recently selected her as one of 12 honorees at their 2016 Authors Showcase.
 
MS: Susan, how did you learn about The Transition Network?
 
SG: I had contact with a colleague in San Francisco around the time my work life was coming to an end. She had been retired for several years and wrote to me about how helpful TTN was when she was going though her transition. I joined as a national member then got an email from a woman in Florida, letting me know there was a Florida chapter in formation. Two years later, South Florida became a full chapter, and I became part of making that happen.
 
MS: How has your connection with TTN benefitted you?
 
SG: Sharing stories is a big thing. Sharing with other women who've made changes. No matter (when or how change occurs), it leaves you with a kind of void. Some of the TTN women had gone through that passage and made peace with it or completely reinvented themselves. That was the path I had started on. They were very encouraging, very supportive and continue to be helpful. I still find so much support from the other people in the chapter.
 
MS: What led you to take the first step toward writing?
 
SG: It was sort of a double whammy. I was abruptly severed from my work life, which had already been tapering down. But having some of the work still to do gave me excuses to fly from Florida back to New York. When that ended, I felt very desperate.
 
I’d been trying to replicate in Florida the work I’d done in New York. That wasn’t working.  I had an aha moment: You've got to cut the cord. It's time for this to end.
 
So I had to reconcile myself with the word “retire” and figure out how to answer that question of “What do I do? OK, what do I like?”
 
Writing was on my mind. I did seek out a writing class. It was the best step I ever took. The teacher would give prompts for 2-3 page class assignments. I started seeing everything from a humorous angle. It came very natural to me. The teacher put a note on the top of one of my papers that said,“I think you've found your voice.”
 
This was very encouraging. I started writing humorous personal essays. I was hearing so much about blogs, so I thought I could do that!
 
My blog’s been up and running about 4 years. On An Unfiltered Wit I post essays  twice a month and self impose the pressure to meet deadlines, which has kept me writing. I first reached out to my personal contact list, now my readership has grown considerably.
 
Friends started encouraging me to write a book as they read my essays on line. I grabbed up all of Nora Ephron's essays (to refer to as examples) and organized my essays into sections. After many futile attempts to find an agent, I self published the book because I wanted to give birth to it before I became an octogenarian.  
 
MS: What are your readers telling you about what you write?
 
SG: How relatable it is. I write from the perspective of a woman of a certain age with basically my take on everyday things.
 
I write about whatever happens to you after you get out of bed in the morning, where your day is going to take you, what you'll encounter. I write about silly little experiences that happen, like going to the supermarket and being completely overwhelmed about all the detergent you can buy.
 
For example, I once ordered a product so I could make iced coffee, and it came from Japan. When it arrived, I opened it,and all the directions were in Japanese. I couldn't get over that! It struck me as being so utterly strange.How could you neglect to provide English instructions for a product you're marketing in the US?!
 
MS: How has the notion that everything is a possible story caused a shift in you?
 
SG: Maybe this is the way I've always been, but I’ve never always been aware of it. I may have commented on something just to myself. I've probably been doing this for most of my adult life...seeing things with my head slightly tilted to one side.
 
When I was asked to put something down on paper, it shouldn't have surprised me so much that this (humorous take) is what I generated. I'd never had a reason to come out with it before because I was too busy with other things. 
 
MS: And so has the way you’re “coming out with it” come as a surprise to you?
 
SG: Yes. A few years ago I got very curious about the art of writing comedy. I've always had the ability to make people laugh in the moment. I noticed there were a lot of women stand-up comics around.
 
I took a comedy class one summer where I had to write my own material. I did 7 minutes of stand-up as graduation exercise. It was terrifying, but I had been wondering if I could do it. And I did! And people laughed! It was very satisfying, but I wouldn't make a life of it. Once was enough for me.
 
MS: Could you have written this book 25 years ago?
 
SG: No, I don't think I could have. I think I lacked the confidence back then. First of all, it wouldn't have occurred to me to do it.
 
As I’ve gotten older, I've become a more confident person. I’m realistic about what’s possible. I’ll never be a professional golfer, for instance, and that’s OK. I don't know that I'm the biggest risk taker, not as in “life and limb.” But ego risk, risk of falling flat, I'm willing to take those risks. I know my ego can take some battering, and I will still be OK.
 
I’m grateful to be where I am and feeling the way I do. I just turned 75, and I’m still working towards a future, a new career in what has come to be called a third stage of life. 
 
MS: At 25, 45 or 75, yours is an energy born of promise, a lightness of being …and that's ageless. Bringing that through in your writing is a gift for all of us. What do you hope the TTN community will take away from your book?
 
SG: My readership is women around my age, but I do have younger women and a male readers. My readers are women a little more educated, certainly with a sense of humor, and who are tuned in to cultural references. The TTN audience is my perfect audience. What I write about speaks to the TTN membership.
 
MS: And now you’re fully committed to seeing this journey through, seeing where it leads.
 
SG: If you've had a work life, a career, it has demanded something of you. You develop in certain ways, and you bring that with you in whatever your next step is. I brought to writing a certain discipline I didn't have when I was younger.
 
I guess I’ve been a late bloomer. It took me a long time to discover things about myself, to learn really who I am and what I’m capable of, what I’m good at. I think later on in life I developed this energy for what I was doing, an enjoyment and a sense of fulfillment. It’s a subtle process. You just sort of do it. And because of who you are, you're drawn to certain things.
 
MS: Happily for the rest of us, Susan, you are sharing your gifts at exactly the right time. Thank you for that!
 
You can find Susan Goldfein at An Unfiltered Wit,
http://www.unfilteredwitmedia.com where she regularly shares her observations about everyday life and leaves her readers with a smile.
 
Learn more about Susan Goldfein's book on the TTN Author's Page.