For years I have been wanting the things that are in my heart to also be how I earned income. The things that I have done run the gamut from writing, dancing, stage managing, producing, directing, teaching, coaching and more! I do these things because they are my AVOCATION. But they have never been the things I do for my VOCATION. My vocation includes all the administrative, executive and paper-pushing business functions that you can imagine.
I went to graduate school to get a degree that certified my combination of these unique business skills with my artistic sensibilities but came home to a recession that dashed my hopes of ever combining the two. So I went back to work in an office and played 'producer' by night and on the weekends.
I feel like I have spent all of my life with one foot in each of these areas, in spite of my newly acquired (well, I'll say 'recently' acquired since it's been almost a decade!) degree in Arts Administration. Often, I share with my friends that idea that some cities are ripe for some skills, talents and activities, yet some are not. Las Vegas, for example, has no real business infrastructure. The casinos are and will always be, the number one employer of the city. Timeshares run a close second. Without an interest in casino work or timeshares, the rest of the town are tons and tons of small businesses with few workers and a plethora of minimum wage jobs.
I have recently been inspired to yet ANOTHER opportunity, and it’s all because of an event that I went to in October, 2014 in Tempe, Arizona. The event was hosted by Encore.org who are “building a movement to tap the skills and experience of those in midlife and beyond to improve communities and the world.”
Through conversation, presentations and videos I was deeply inspired and motivated to participate in a local movement of the Baby Boomer generation in Las Vegas. We have lots of retirees, at least as many as Arizona. I was thinking surely there were lots of organizations here already that I could join to support this movement of re-purposing the lives of folks that retired from one thing and ready to do another. Individuals that I was sure would be interested in giving back to their communities in Clark County.
As it turns out, there are almost no organizations that support elder Americans in pursuit of alternatives to retirement here in Las Vegas. There are age-restricted communities that have activities inside their walls, but no organizations that support training or retraining individuals, that support Manager or Mentor programs for companies, or even true volunteer opportunities because, like I said, beyond Casinos, there’s not much else going on.
So I started ‘Your Next Option’ as an organization that supports elder Americans with an option for ‘UN-Retirement.’ That is, individuals who are 55 years of age or older who are not interested in retiring from the workforce, but retiring from what they’re doing NOW to perhaps do something that they’ve always dreamed of. We started with a meetup. Once a month we meet to get together and address personal challenges, use a questionnaire for talking points, brainstorm issues and eat a few snacks.
In January, I’m adding an education component to address financial issues for people over 50, palliative care, alternative housing options, and other critical issues vital to an aging population.
I will give it my best shot. I’ll keep you posted.