Encore Career

We took a little mini-vacation to Las Vegas early this week.  I find that about about three days in Vegas about every three years is plenty.  The people watching, a show or two, a donation to the Willie Wonka slot machine and some pool time and I am good.  We find that using Lyft is a great and inexpensive way to get around.  We shared our time with some ‘very long time’ (54 year’s)  Pueblo friends. We summoned our Lyft ride to the airport.  His picture appeared in the app, it showed a man with ‘Vegas Hair’ (Wayne Newton style) in silver gray.  He showed up in no time and we loaded up in a beautiful Lexus.  I said “Your hair looks even better in person”.  He laughed and said “Not a wig or a dye job, pretty good for 75”.   I picked up a very strong British accent.  “So what part of Texas did you move here from”?  This repartee opened a very surprising conversation. 

“I moved here about two years ago.  I had lived in Florida for about 25 years.  My wife and I decided we had a enough of hurricanes and humidity so we decided to move here for many reasons that included the dryer climate in the variety of things to do and see. We had no longer arrived and my wife was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. She died very quickly and I went into hiding in my house. A little over year ago my son expressed concern for my emotional health.  I knew I needed something to do and I thought what the heck I’ll give Lyft a try”.

As he talked about Lyft he began to light up. He talked about how much  enjoys getting out and engaging with people. The two of us immediately had a whole lot in common. I told him “When I retired a little over three years ago after 2 1/2 months of a ‘dream’ trip I came home and realized that I was ready to jump off my balcony. However, it was only a 15 foot fall to the bottom and I would just mess up my body even worse. I started driving for Lyft in October of  2015”. We both agreed that it’s not the money but the social interaction. We commented about his beautiful Lexus he drives as a Lyft car. He laughed and said “I had 9000 miles on this 2012 car, what do I care if I put 30,000 miles a year on it having fun? Again it’s not about the money for me, But it gives me a reason to get up in the morning”.

We begin to compare notes on our best and worst rides and again there was common agreement that the vast majority of our rides are fun, with really interesting and diverse people. He then began to tell us the story of somebody he picked up last week who will remain anonymous in this story. Suffice to say it’s somebody that has been made famous, or should I say infamous by the #METOO movement.  It didn’t take long at all to get to the airport. He was truly a delightful man who found a new life driving strangers from here to there.

Today I worked with Habitat for Humanity on a project in Greeley. First Christian church supplied the lunch for the volunteers today. We sat on the porch of another house and had a great conversation with a bunch of twenty-something volunteers. One of them was talking about how hard his dad worked and all the resources he had accumulated, and how he couldn’t wait to go and just sit on the dock and fish. I said, “that’ll last about two months and then he’ll be ready to jump off the dock”.  That opened up a fascinating conversation with a young woman who is head of volunteer services for Weld County Habitat for Humanity. She said that she had learned that one of the fastest growing demographics in our culture is what they call encore careers.  We then talked about all the options that people have for meaningful engagement throughout their life. I certainly give thanks that I have not one but two encore careers. One—Driving my little red car ever so often giving total strangers a ride. Two—working in a congregation that is so willing to think outside of the box and find life and energy being led by a Geezer pastor.

Onward and Upward,

Mark

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