We get a lot of great email from our readers. They connect with the stories about next-stage lives. This story comes from Charles Garrett in New Hill, NC.
I love the vision of Next For Me! As a 72 year old, last year I was given an amazing opportunity, a challenge like no other in my already rather colorful life was laid out before me. With zero experience, a friend asked me to manage his warehouses, including 72 warehouse employees, which support his thriving food product business. “They need leadership, and you’re the guy to bring it to them” he said. “You’ll learn, take all the time you need, I won’t interfere.”
That was just over one year ago. I now know all 72 employees by name. We moved into a brand new 500,000 sf warehouse, and combined with the other two, I manage about 1,000,000 sf of warehouse space for his company. It has been an extraordinary experience! I was driving a Freightliner with sleeper cab, hauling over sized yachts all over the eastern United States for a yacht brokerage, when he approached me with this job.
Prior to that, I had driven one of his trucks for him! Before that, I had a 35 year career as an airline pilot, with over 21,000 safely flown hours. I lost most of my airline retirement when Eastern Airlines went bankrupt, that, coupled with some rather poor financial decisions, has placed me in the group you talk about: in my 70’s with less than $50K in savings (but that is improving!). The truck driving comes from the fact that I only have a high school education, and after mandatory age 60 (airline) retirement, I couldn’t find a good job without a degree (plus being “old”.) I went to truck driving school, was the oldest person there. Yes, in 1966, you didn’t need a college degree (though most pilots had one) to fly for the airlines.
So, in a nutshell, that’s my story, but here is how it relates to Next For Me:
– I’m not afraid to try new things.
– Networking is what it’s all about. Even my first airline job for Eastern Airlines at age 21 was because I knew Eastern pilots at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club in Miami.
– I met the owner of my current company through sailing. He’s in his 50’s and wasn’t afraid to hire a 72 year old to fill a key position. Bravo!
– I have been married 50 years to an amazing, supportive lady.
– We eat right and exercise.
– I take no meds except a minimal statin..
– I am having the time of my life!
– I don’t see slowing down anytime soon.
– Despite the lack of formal education, I am very curious and reasonably self-educated.
Our daughter and her husband invited us to build a cottage on their property and become part of a wonderful extended family, watching our granddaughters grow (and save our money). Our children are successful and supportive, all involved in tech fields.
I would love to encourage others to embrace life’s journey and go for it!
I would like to encourage businesses and business owners to take advantage of the wealth of wisdom, experience and yes, energy that so many possess, but are denied because of their age.
There are a million reasons why I identify and support and can talk about Next For Me. I’m living it! Maybe Next For Me is next!