We all have neighbors, but if you’re like me, you don’t know many of them at all. Today I will be speaking with a man from West Virginia who is making it his mission to remind people about the importance of being good neighbors.
Tony Slabaugh lives in the small town of Burnsville, W.V., where he manages a construction division for a modular home builder. Construction is something he has done for most of his life, starting when he and his wife lived in Florida.
But, even as young as 35, Tony realized he was on a treadmill just to get through life. So, he and his wife decided to move north to get away from hurricanes, lizards and fire ants. He continued his passion for gardening, but in an even bigger way with a much larger plot of land.
As Tony approached his 50th birthday, he knew he wanted to start giving back by sharing things he had learned over the years. So, he started a podcast that has nothing to do with his career or his gardening hobby. He has read or listened to so many self-improvement books, that Tony wanted to share his perspective about what he learned with others.
So, he started a podcast focused on building stronger relationships. He named it Hello, Good Neighbor in honor of a next door neighbor who would greet him that way whenever they met at the fence dividing their two properties.
Tony may share a theme from a self-help book, or discuss a Bible verse. He really wants to share stories about life, interacting with people you come home to, and what you do to unload and unwind.
Hello Good Neighbor is a soliloquy of one where Tony talks about whatever is on his mind. It could be a movie he just saw, as well as everyday things he encounters.
He is showing how people over 50 can make an impact on the world around them by simply sharing wisdom accumulated through a lifetime of learning and hard-earned lessons.
Many of the stories Tony describes in his shows are simply everyday situations that people encounter. The issues are so common that people often ask Tony if he was talking about them on his show. To which, Tony responds, “You and a half-dozen other people I know.”
He knows people are often struggling with some pain in their life, so he wants to reassure them that they are not alone and that others have already emerged from similar circumstances.
Many people have life-changing moments when they want to leave a career, a community or a relationship and simply start over. But, all of us can make choices every day that can have a profound impact on another person.
Tony recalls complimenting a client who had just turned 100 and marveling at the achievement. But the older man admitted he would rather be 70. It was a perspective that Tony has always remembered.
Many people would wish to go back in time to be 18 or even 24 when they graduated from college, but the centenarian wanted to relive the years from age 70 to 100. There was something in his life at that point, age 70, that he still thought he could achieve.
Tony was 52 at the time and realized he had half his life still ahead of him.
During the interview, Tony said, “Because I am human, I want to do better. I want to be a good neighbor. So I don’t believe in regrets. Life is too short to play solitaire or to entertain regrets. We just need to put ourselves out there to serve others. The more we do that, the better life is.”
I agree, which is why I liked his advice to just do an internet search for volunteer opportunities in your zip code if you’re trying to find a purpose for your life. Whether it’s two days, two weeks or a year later, you’re going to have a mind shift that will help propel you to the next stage of your life.
Tony encouraged people of any age, especially those over 50 to not sit at home and just watch TV or get lost in nothingness and busyness. Go out and serve in some way. That’s excellent advice.
He also noted that people over 50 often refer to their lives as being late summer or early fall. Yet, Tony reminded us that fall is a beautiful season and wintertime is very refreshing as well. So there is always hope for what’s to come.
To connect with Tony, visit www.hellogoodneighbor.com.
That’s all I have for this week’s show. If you’d like help in identifying a purpose for your life or to get help planning your next steps, I’m offering a complimentary brainstorming session to members of the Forward From 50 Facebook community. For details, connect with me on Facebook or visit www.forwardfrom50.com.
I’ll have another inspirational interview on the next episode of the Forward From 50 podcast. Thanks for listening. If you like this show, please consider leaving a review wherever you download the episodes.
After closing his business and enduring several painful years of uncertainty regarding what to do with his life, Greg founded Forward From 50 to help men and women over 50 to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. A Wisconsin native, Greg currently lives in Arizona.