Written by Nancy Stampahar
Retirement Life Coach Nancy
for Village Neighbors Magazine
Village of Sanibel resident, Nancy Stampahar, claims she was born into inspiration. In 1963, when she was two years old, her mother decided to divorce her abusive husband after five years of marriage. In retaliation for this courageous act, her mother, her four-year-old intellectually disabled brother, and herself were locked out of their Pittsburgh low-income row house, with some of their belongings scattered over the lawn. That day, the lives of her family were changed forever.
Nancy’s inspirational mother shamefully went on welfare to provide a one-bedroom apartment for her family where they lived until Nancy was eight. When Nancy’s mother landed a job as a secretary, they moved into a 3-bedroom half-house rental. A true survivor, Nancy’s mother wanted to provide more for herself and children and persevered through nine years of night school while working full time. Nancy’s grandmother, Nanny, eventually moved in to help take care of Nancy and her brother, Jeff. As Nanny aged and developed what is known today as Alzheimer’s Disease, Nancy had to grow up fast and become the family’s caregiver for her dementia ridden grandmother and special needs bother. Nancy learned early about other people’s struggles and how tough life can be for many. Her compassion for others and respect towards all have been instilled within her since she was a child. At an early age, Nancy wanted to be a teacher and help people. This is why Nancy has a long history of volunteering and professions serving people.
While Nancy’s circumstances taught wonderful lessons about compassion, kindness, and respect, the pain and burdens she carried were too great for her to handle. As her childhood evolved, she had a very difficult time feeling good about life, and more importantly, feeling good about herself. She felt damaged and thought that she was not worthy of having a good life. Without much parenting or guidance, Nancy could not cope with her hardships of being poor and living in a single-parent house with a “different” and limited sibling as well as a senile grandmother. Consequently, when she was in my thirteen, she escaped her stress and pain drugs and alcohol. First, Nancy dropped out of life. Then, Nancy dropped out of high school.
As her young adult life evolved into adulthood, she did the deep work to evolve into a great place of happiness and fulfillment. Over the decades, the steps Nancy took represented the choices she made; some were wise, and some were not. Nancy eventually earned her college degree in human resource management and evolved into a personal and professional coach, trainer, and speaker. She loves her life’s work and is passionate about empowering people to live their best life. She learned firsthand how to go from nowhere to somewhere by watching her family’s ability to triumph over tough circumstances. Nancy is still actively using her skills and stories to help seniors enjoy their golden years as a Retirement Life Coach and local speaker. She knows the power of choice and believes happiness and fulfillment are choices, regardless of circumstance or age. Nancy’s signature phrase is, “It’s never too late to get happy.”
Along with Nancy’s inspirational back story, is a colorful back story. Even when Nancy was going through tough times, Nancy always knew how to have fun. “Live a little, have some fun.” is another phrase Nancy holds tight in her enthusiastic spirit. She realizes life is short and highly values enjoying it.
Let the good times roll! Nancy had a couple unique and fun jobs in her twenties. When she was 19, she worked two summers as a Games Hostess for Cedar Point and The State Fair of Texas. “25 cents to play, 25 cents to win! Come on in!” Nancy claims she was a darn good carny. She also talks about how much fun she had and that being a carny was the 1st activity that cracked her hydraulic shell. Nancy empowered her voice, and her healing journey began.
Her next destination was Vail, Colorado. With a love for the outdoors, Nancy recalls saying to herself that she will go to Colorado someday. Like many things Nancy says she is going to do, Nancy resided in Colorado. At first, Nancy landed a super fun job driving The Town of Vail ski bus. She so enjoyed the hospitality aspect of the job being of service to the vacationers and locals. She also learned about having a healthy lifestyle and began transforming her activities and taste for good food. Living in Vail was truly Nancy’s most enjoyable life stage.
But then in the back of her mind through observing her mother’s ambition, Nancy realized she couldn’t be a carny or ski bus driver for the rest of her life. Nancy went back to her hometown Pittsburgh and became certified in Travel and Tourism at a local business school. Nancy evolved from not liking school to loving learning. Nancy enjoyed the travel and tourism industry working for American Airlines and Hertz Rental Car. While Nancy was evolving into a professional, she stayed true to her values of service and fun.
In Nancy’s thirties, she decided it was time to earn her college degree. Nancy chose Human Resource Management to serve people and stay true to her childhood desire to be a teacher. Nancy’s profession focused on the non-traditional components of HR. With over 20 years’ experience as a professional and personal development coach, trainer, and speaker in diverse industries and demographics, Nancy has helped thousands of individuals achieve positive results.
Nancy still enjoys working with seniors and speaking for The Villages Enrichment Academy and many clubs. But her greatest work now is happening in The Villages caregiving for her 84-year-old mother. Funny, how life comes full circle. Nancy is grateful for this time with her mother. Her mother had a tough life. As you read, her mother is survivor.
With her instilled values of compassion and respect for all, Nancy feels honored to be her mother’s caregiver in The Villages. It’s time for both Nancy and her mother to enjoy peace and laughter. A ton of laughter. It’s never too late to get happy.
Village of Sanibel resident, Nancy Stampahar, is a life coach for seniors and an instructor for The Enrichment Academy. Nancy helps pre-retirees or retirees plan for smooth retirement transitions and get reoriented after experiencing retirement challenges. Visit: www.RetirementLifeCoachNancy.com