Greg Gerber with his daughters, from left: Kristin, Elizabeth and Rebecca, in fall of 2020
Meet Greg Gerber
A message from our founder:
Forward From 50 is a website 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.
I remember feeling that way a few years ago. I had been a journalist covering the recreation vehicle industry since 2000 and started my own online publication months before my 49th birthday.
I loved the people and the companies involved in the RV industry. I had many wonderful friends who either owned companies or worked for firms. Major industry events were like giant homecoming parties where everyone connected with each other. I envisioned working as a self-employed journalist long into “retirement.”
Then I made a big mistake. When I was 54, I actually bought an RV and intended to live in it full time as I traveled around the country interviewing people and writing stories. I would be the first journalist to cover the industry while living and working from an RV. However, the experience opened my eyes to some ugly truths about the industry’s products and the services provided.
When I wrote a series of editorials outlining the very obvious, but often ignored flaws, the messages resonated with RV owners who viewed the editorials more than 250,000 times. However, some very powerful people in the industry were offended by what I wrote and intimidated my advertisers to withdraw their support of me and my publication. I tried selling the business and wound up shutting down the website a few years later.
Am I too old to start over?
That began a very dark period in my life. I had little enthusiasm for anything. I lost close to 70 pounds, which was good, but suffered a mild stroke as well. Fortunately, I retained all my mental functions and never lost my ability to write very well. Yet, I developed a love for guacamole and a tolerance for jalapeño peppers which I didn’t have before the stroke.
I made a living by writing freelance stories. However, without a driving purpose for my life, it was a challenge to get out of bed every morning. I spent an inordinate amount of time watching movies, reading online news and consuming social media. All that did was make me angry and more depressed. Because I had been traveling full time for several years, I no longer had any roots or even a home to which I could return. I felt hopeless and alone.
Then COVID arrived and ushered in several years of forced isolation. To be honest, I contemplated just walking into the desert to the point of no return. The only thing that kept me going was my faith in God and the men’s group at the church I started attending as soon as restrictions on in-person gatherings were lifted in Arizona.
Still my funk continued and, as I entered my 61st year, I wondered if this type of life was my new normal and whether I was too old to start over.
The magic of mentors
Several years earlier, when I was still working as a journalist and contemplating becoming an author, I had joined two groups that made a big difference in my life. The first was the Igniting Souls Tribe of thousands of fired-up and creative people who were writing books or had already published them. Being connected to that community of enthusiastic people gave me a glimmer of hope.
The second was a group of committed business owners who were part of the Total Life Freedom organization. They were working toward money freedom, time freedom and location freedom.
I had plenty of time and could live anywhere by “mooch-docking” with my daughters, friends and other relatives. It’s an RVing term similar to boondocking, where you can camp without being being connected to power, but mooch electricity and water off someone else’s home. But my money was running out.
One of my mentors, Vincent Pugliese, the founder of Total Life Freedom, sensed I was in a dangerous place emotionally and offered to have a conversation to discuss options. In the course of one hour, we talked about things I was skilled in doing, my self-imposed limitations and what I wanted to do with my remaining years.
Vincent helped me realize that I was not alone. Many people over the age of 50 struggle with identifying a purpose for their lives and the hopelessness that entails. He encouraged me to turn my pain into purpose. I knew what he meant. Living at a relative’s home in Sun City, Ariz., I saw many people who were living without a sense of purpose.
The joy they were expecting to find in retirement had evaporated. Playing golf and focusing on “self” all day wasn’t all the imagined it to be. The research I conducted showed that, without purpose, many men often die a few years into retirement.
I firmly believe, without question, that the “purpose” of our lives is often not fully revealed until after our 50th birthday. Until then, we take the training, get the experience and develop the “why” behind our true purpose.
What can I 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 that lack of meaningful activity often leaves us wondering, “Is there more to life than this?”
The answer is a resounding YES!
You were created for a specific purpose and instilled with unique traits to help you accomplish that purpose. 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.
But, even if you’re unsure about the direction you should go or what you want to do with your life going forward, we’re going to 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.
You were created for a specific purpose!
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 go for 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.
Founder of Forward From 50