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Monday, February 11, 2019

Don't Let the Old Man In

So... it’s rough growing into your 60s if you work in radio. Especially if you are air talent. Trust me. I know. Two times within five years, I was given my walking papers.

My departures did not come because my talent diminished. Nor did it happen because of laziness or a lack of commitment. There were no performance issues cited. Just…we need to make a change. And, goodbye.

Unlike being in your 30s, 40s, or even 50s, the opportunities for real radio work seem to be sliding away. Slip slidin’ away, as Paul Simon might say. Of course, my age is not the only factor. Radio as a medium has its own share of challenges. Especially AM radio.

I have been blessed to have other talents. Organizing and developing two leadership events—one in Pittsburgh and one in Chicago—has given me a degree of credibility with game changers. I have received recognition for my writing and creative abilities. I helped move a men’s ministry that had flatlined to a point of raving success. There are two books to my credit. And…I have had success in sales as well.

Here’s the thing. None of those talents have weakened with my age. In fact, experience has given me insight and wisdom in my fields of capability that I did not have in my younger years.

You’d think that those of us with a sustained gray matter would easily reveal that our gray matters! As aging seniors, we can still make a difference. There are contributions yet to be made. But the world does not necessarily see it that way.

Please do not take this message the wrong way. I am not sitting in my recliner each day complaining. Nor am I resting on laurels of days gone by. Nonetheless, more than one well-meaning friend has suggested I simply “retire.” And then what?

Instead, even without pay, I continue to work. I’m up early each day and do my exercise and have a time of spiritual preparation. Next, I am mapping out ways to continue to use what I’ve been given to help others at some level.

My biggest challenge is simply to determine where to focus at this point in life to help others most—and monetize that sufficiently to keep the home fires burning. There is no lack of opportunity. That's what is great about our country.

So there is no “pity party” going on in our household. There is daily gratefulness for all we have enjoyed in life and some extra time now to spend with grandkids. And there remains hope for the future—which is what the soul needs to thrive. Hope.

One of the interesting parables of Jesus is the Parable of the Talents. We find it in Matthew 25:14–30 and also in Luke 19:11–27. Simply stated, a man plans a trip away. Before he departs, he entrusts money to his workforce. One person gets five talents, another two talents. A third receives only a single talent.

In the story, two of the workers double the investment and show a profit upon their master’s return. The third chap buried his talent, taking no risk—and offering no real return when the master comes back. The master honors the first two workers, but is critical of the third’s actions. After a reprimand, this worker is cast out into the darkness.

Some theologians disagree over the meaning of this parable. 

In the Western church, interpretation of The Talents parable has typically been about properly investing. It appears Jesus was urging His followers to use their abilities and gifts to serve God without reservation, despite any risks.

I’m applying a variation on the theme. There is no plan to “bury” my talents in retirement mode. For me, it’s still game on.

Recently, my wife and I watched the latest Clint Eastwood film, The Mule. So now I know what NOT to do. I mean…who wants to drive that much? *insert snicker here* Want to hear the finishing touch of that movie that didn't leave a dry eye in the place?

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