I have just concluded and now editing my very first video (coming soon, May 5th) interview with “Santa” Ed Taylor who is a fascinating character. Ed is my new neighbor as I have just moved to a new place. We got to talking one day just a few weeks ago and he told me that his new job was being a professional Santa Claus and let me just say, he really looks it! I smiled thinking “how fun, to play Santa and get paid too!”
I was at that very time looking for something new. I am a 54-year-old woman, retired law enforcement, I did 20 years in a maximum security facility for the criminally insane, shew! Glad that’s over. I retired at the age of 50 in 2010 and since then I have been, what feels like, floundering around for the past five years in this pile of goo. I had no idea how to act or who I was after my career ended. I can go into the details of that whole story maybe in another blog. But it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago and after these last five years of working on “Finding and understanding who Me is and what do I want” that some things became very clear to me.
I had these huge epiphanies, these weird understandings that came to me all of a sudden. It was out of the blue like a slap across the face and as your stunned complaining “Ouch, that hurt” trying to shake it off, there comes a realizing. It’s hard to describe in words when the “Downloads” of clear understanding comes in. But in that moment I knew, like I knew, like I knew, you know? It was not only my time but also my duty to step up, to stop hiding, stop using others to get needs met, to stop playing it safe and to gather the courage enough to let go of fears. The fears that kept me from expressing my true self to the world.
I want to do something that’s fun, something that doesn’t feel like work and something that could maybe give others some supportive information. Wanted to do so with a sense of humor attached. But what to do? So many bloggers and Youtubers, Tweeters, Facebookers etc. and why is my voice so important? For years I pondered this and allowed my fears of failure and what others may to think stop me, until now that is! So, I decided to face those fears and embrace my new epiphanies and set out in a completely new direction. I quit my part-time job to focus on this project and my new direction. Once I made that choice this project began to take shape, and then, I spoke with “Santa” Ed Taylor.
I next asked Ed “WHY” did he choose to become a professional Santa. He smiled just like Santa, he really looks like Santa, I’m telling you. He said he “Sort of” fell into it. For the first part of his life he was really into making money. He used to work as a media consultant and had a very lucrative business. He was highly paid and highly sought after. Then came an occasion to volunteer as a Santa one year but he hesitated thinking it was silly. Then he thought “Well, I have the right hair, the beard and the body type, why not?” His friend was sick and asked Ed to fill in, so he felt he was doing a nice thing for his friend. Ed said in an instant he knew, he absolutely fell in love with it. He loved seeing all the smiling kids’ faces and the parents too, the joy they got by watching their kids it brought him so much joy. It was a win, win, win for all. He told his friend he would fill in any time and after that he was volunteering all the time.
I asked Ed about how he started getting paid, how did that come about? Ed said that after about six years of volunteering and after his recent fifty something retirement, he wondered if he could actually get paid being Santa? To supplement his retirement. He wasn’t ready to just sit on the porch sipping lemonade, so he began to research. He found he needed an agent and he needed to make contacts in Hollywood. Well one thing led to another and last year he made $100,000 making TV commercials, performing for large corporate events for Facebook and other large companies as well as other gigs.
I was floored….”No Way” I said! “Wow, and that’s all you do now?” Ed smiling said “Yep”. I briefly told him my story about how I was moving in a brand new direction too. I told him about my new production company MG Productions 4 Peace and the WHY project with all its particulars. I mentioned looking for my first interviewees and asked if he may be willing to do it? He was so encouraging and agreed to the interview telling me he had also written a book, he thought I might be interested as it addresses what I am attempting to do.
Now at this point it’s starting to feel real freaky, right. Because here I am having this interaction with my new neighbor about us fifty somethings wanting to serve in some way but doing so by offering services we love or feel passionate about and I just happen to have a neighbor, who has just done that and wrote a book about it too and has agreed to an interview, by me? What are the chances? Coincidence maybe? I don’t believe in coincidences anymore! I told him I would love to look at his book, he said it was only 60 pages. “What’s the title?” I asked.
“How to become an Encore Entrepreneur.”
I thought to myself “What does that even mean?” but shrugged it off while Ed told me he would get it to me in the next day or two. I told him that after I read it I would contact him for the interview. We both smiled and hugged, walking away I told him thank you and said “Good things happen when we feel good.”
I got the book and read it and couldn’t believe what I was reading. It’s a small practical guide for fifty somethings who are looking to continue contributing to self and society. He has three stories including his own about how they dropped their former lives to do something which gave them meaning. I couldn’t believe it because that is exactly what I am up too now and what are the chances that my new neighbor is willing to aid me. You see, I am learning that we can create what we need when the truth of our heart’s desire is honored!
I knew after finishing the book that I was to move fearlessly forward with this project. I conducted the interview and it was fun, light and informative. It’s a fourteen minute segment, talking about the book and a bit of Eds story. It’s a bit raw and rough as it’s the first one, the lighting is bad and the sound is scratchy from time to time but I had so much fun and will get better each time I put one together. Please enjoy the interview with Ed below:
I would like to thank “Santa” Ed Taylor for not only his kindness and service to others but for being available and willing to help guide and answer all my questions!