Greg Gerber with his daughters, from left: Kristin, Elizabeth and Rebecca, in fall of 2020
About Forward From 50
Forward From 50 is a website founded by Greg Gerber and dedicated to helping men and women over the age of 50 to live purposeful lives by pursuing things they are truly passionate about doing.
There is something about our culture today that wants to nudge people out the door or to the sidelines once they reach the half-century mark. But, that’s such a waste of the wisdom and experience people have accumulated throughout their entire lives.
When Greg had to close his business in 2019, that began a very dark period in his life. He had little enthusiasm for anything, lost close to 70 pounds, and suffered a mild stroke as well.
Without a driving purpose for his life, it was a challenge to get out of bed every morning. He spent an inordinate amount of time watching movies, reading online news and consuming social media. All that did was make him angry and more depressed.
After COVID ushered in several years of forced isolation, the funk continued as Greg entered his 61st year. He wondered if this type of life was his new normal and whether he was too old to start over.
The magic of mentors
Fortunately, he had joined the Total Life Freedom group several years earlier. One of his mentors, Vincent Pugliese, the group’s founder, sensed Greg was in a dangerous place emotionally and offered to have a conversation to discuss options.
In the course of one hour, they talked about things Greg was skilled in doing, his self-imposed limitations and what he wanted to do with his remaining years.
Vincent helped Greg realize he was not alone. Many people over the age of 50 struggle with identifying a purpose for their lives and the hopelessness that entails.
Vincent encouraged Greg to turn his pain into purpose to assist others who were living without a sense of purpose themselves. Forward From 50 was born.
What can people do later in life?
Many times, we abandoned things in our youth that really fired us up and gave us a sense of purpose just to embrace more practical jobs out of a sense of duty or necessity when raising a family. Still, that passion still burns within us — even if it’s just a smoldering wick.
Now is the ideal time to rekindle that fire!
As “seasoned citizens,” we’ve done our jobs in raising children, and we’ve played the corporate game of hustling and striving for little reward or appreciation. Let’s face it, we are tired to being on the hamster wheel of life.
We want our lives to count for something and to know with certainty that our brief time on earth really mattered.
We know in our hearts that we still have lots of life left to live. In our spirits, we are still as young as the day we left the security of home to take on a big, bold world.
Unfortunately, when we step off that hamster wheel, we are often unprepared for the next chapter in our lives. Golfing and fishing all day may be relaxing, and so is meeting friends for lunch.
But the lack of meaningful activity often leaves us wondering, “Is there more to life than this?”
The answer is a resounding YES!
Created for a specific purpose
You were created for a specific purpose and instilled with unique traits to help you accomplish it.
The challenges that forged your character, the experiences that pushed you to embrace new opportunities, the people who came into and out of your life — everything you’ve endured so far — has prepared you for this moment.
Even if you’re unsure about the direction you should go or what you want to do with your life at this point, Forward From 50 will help you identify a unique calling that will fill your heart with joy and give you even more reason to jump out of bed every morning.
We will introduce you to many people who have already found success or fulfillment by following their dreams, even when the world was encouraging them to slow down and take it easy.
How to live life to the full
Approaching life from a faith-based perspective, Forward From 50 will provide resources and encouragement to help you step out of your comfort zone to pursue those dreams you’ve been suppressing for many years. Perhaps you want to:
- Build a business of your own rather than work for others.
- Take up a new hobby with the extra time you seem to have.
- Use your skill, talent or ability to help others in areas where you sense a need.
- Invest your resources in a way that leaves a living legacy.
- Do something new that stretches your mind to keep you sharp and captures your imagination.
Whatever it is, Forward From 50 will help you lead a fulfilling life by encouraging you to identify your unique purpose for this stage in your journey — and help you achieve it.
If you’re looking for ways to get the most out of your Netflix subscription or suggestions on places to get a good deal with a senior discount, this website probably isn’t for you.
However, if you want to enjoy life to the full, feel as young as you did the day you graduated from high school and open the door to new experiences, then welcome home! Age won’t slow you down. You’re moving Forward From 50.
Random facts about Greg
- I’ve been surrounded by females most of my life. After my folks divorced, I lived with my mother and sister. When my father remarried, I inherited three step-sisters. Every family holiday involved four female cousins. The neighborhood I grew up in had 13 girls and the closest boy was several years older or younger than me. After getting married, we had three daughters. Even the dog was female.
- I have spent at least one night in every state except Hawaii.
- For my first solo vacation as a 20-year-old, I took the Amtrak Empire Builder from Columbus, Wis., to Seattle and fell in love with train travel.
- I was on the debate team as a freshman in high school with a record of 0 wins and 16 losses. My teammates called me the masterdebater.
- I was fired from my first job working at an ice cream shop after having a disagreement with the boss’ son’s fiance’s brother about whether to open another case of ice cream cones.
- My next job was at McDonald’s where I learned to work every station and even do the books. Because I opened and closed the store, I had my own key as a 17-year-old.
- I was the only male at LaFollette High School to take three semesters of typing.
- Being a Wisconsin native, I know how to pronounce names like Ashwaubenon, Oconomowoc, Trempealeau, Waunakee and Weyauwega.
- The first Green Bay Packers game I attended was on Dec. 26, 1993, when the temperature was -1 and the windchill was -15 — ideal weather for sitting outdoors on a metal bleacher. I remember buying a soda, but it was frozen solid when I returned to my seat.
- A writer for more than 50 years, the only award I received outside of college was a 2nd place certificate from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association for excellence in farm reporting.
- The first movie I ever saw was Bambi at the Oshkosh, Wis., theater when I was age 4.
- I own more than 450 movie DVDs. My favorites are Star Wars IV (the original), Patton, The Patriot, Murphy’s Romance, War Room, Courageous, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Caddyshack, On Golden Pond, Dead Poet’s Society, Rudy, Les Miserables, My Cousin Vinny, Contact, The Shack, The Founder, I Can Only Imagine, Jurassic Park, Trading Places, The Greatest Showman and just about anything starring Tom Hanks.
- My favorite TV shows are The Chosen, M*A*S*H, The Andy Griffith Show, Master Chef Junior, Star Trek, Hogan’s Heroes, Seinfeld, Married With Children, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Adam 12, Dragnet, All in the Family, Little House on the Prairie, and Leave it to Beaver.
- When my youngest daughter stopped needing diapers, I took the diaper bag into the back yard, doused it with gasoline, flicked a match and sent it back to God.
- After getting my first degree in police science, I ranked No. 1 out of 3,600 people taking the Wisconsin police officer civil service exam. But, I still couldn’t get a job without experience.
- Between the time I was 8 and 17, I had moved six times, which included three duplexes on the same two-block street.
- My most embarrassing moment was when I was serving as a newspaper editor in the U.S. Air Force. I was photographing a non-commissioned officers school graduation ceremony, but had to change film in the middle of the presentations. I snapped a picture, stooped to the ground, opened the back of the camera and pulled out the film — whizzzz — without rewinding it. I did this in front of the brigadier general who was presenting the certificates.
- I am an Eagle Scout.
- I was a volunteer emergency medical technician for many years and even drove the ambulance.
- I have been to the very top of the Wisconsin State Capitol building and even touched the base of Miss Forward from the inside.
- I was the first Little Brother in the history of the Dane County Big Brothers Big Sisters program to become a Big Brother himself.
- I lost my keys in the water at Slide Rock State Park in Arizona after slipping on a wet rock, falling back and hitting my head. A service truck had to come down from Flagstaff to make a new set.
- Pizza is my all-time favorite food. Supreme is my all-time favorite combination.
- I was fired from the same job as a magazine editor twice in one day by the company president after it was discovered I was the person behind a satirical newsletter distributed earlier that morning. So many people went to bat for me that he finally relented and I kept my job.
- When I play golf, if you double the par and add 7, you will come +/- two strokes of my final score. Every time.