Welcome to Episode 025 of the Forward From 50 podcast where we interview people over 50 who are pursuing new direction for their lives. It’s an opportunity for men and women to tell their stories, their way, in their own words. I’m Greg Gerber, the founder of Forward From 50 and your host for today’s show.
David Steen was an engineer for a large company who used computer-aided drafting to develop new designs. However, he had a burning desire to do more writing. But, even after switching to a marketing role with the same firm in order to write magazine articles and blogs, David desired more. He wasn’t nearly as passionate about writing material for the company as he was writing about things that truly interested him.
After celebrating his 50th birthday and once his nine children started lives of their own, David found more time to pursue his own dream of writing a book. An idea had been percolating in his mind for several years, and he wanted to share it with the world.
He thought too many people were trapped in an unproductive rat race pursuing what they thought was the American Dream. They were singularly focused on finding a good job, getting married, raising a family, building a house and fortifying it as a castle so everyone could live happily ever after.
By themselves, those are are were admirable things to pursue. Yet, doing so often leaves people isolated from the rest of the community around them. David felt the American Dream ideal needed to change so people could create a successful life without shutting out everyone around them.
A new American Dream was needed in which people worked to create a community where they could help others, while others helped them so everyone could thrive together.
To convey his ideas about redefining the American Dream around family and purposeful living to serve God, he wrote a book titled “Almost Home: Setting Our Sights Toward Heaven.” It describes David’s journey through life and his 24-year marriage as well as the challenges of forming a step-family and how it caused him to grow. He also describes his family’s work to build their dream house.
David is a visionary who saw a flaw in the way people were living their lives, and developed a mission to help them alter their trajectory to enjoy happier, more fulfilling lives by helping others around them.
When his family built their dream home on a 10-acre farm, they could easily have done what so many other people do every day while leading lives of quiet desperation. Rather than adults spending most of their days in offices, and children locked inside of classrooms, David and his wife envisioned a different future for their family.
It involved creating new schedules and new priorities as they developed a new type of homestead. It meant homeschooling their children and giving them responsibilities to care for the farm and help with the house. The children were encouraged to invest their own time, money and sweat equity into growing crops, raising animals or whatever else inspired them.
The family had to declutter from years of accumulating things that brought short-term joy, but eventually just required more and more storage space.
Rather than giving up the best hours his day to an employer, David started investing his creative energy in developing a business of his own. That required him to turn off the news and other things that affected what he thought about and the way he saw the world around him. Doing so, opened his eyes to ways David and his family could make a difference in the lives of others.
He spent more time in relationship with God and with other people who were truly interested in helping him become a better person. More importantly, David and his wife realized they had decades of accumulated wisdom and experiences that could be put to better use by helping others improve themselves.
I found David’s story to be inspirational in that it opened new doors for him, but also showed him ways to inspire other people to improve their lives.
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 interesting 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.
If you order David’s book from one of the links above, Forward From 50 may earn a small commission.
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.