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On Life and Meaning

Jan 25, 2019

Stephen Valder is a pediatrician who practiced medicine for 24 years. He was a partner a Providence Pediatrics before retiring in 2016. He has since become interested in addressing the issue of affordable housing as an individual unaffiliated with a non-profit organziation. He is vice chair of the West Side Charlotte Community Land Trust, an owner of housing units that he rents to low-income residents, and an advocate for several affordable housing solutions. Stephen earned a Bachelor’s degree in biology at Duke University and an M.D. at Baylor College of Medicine.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in aptitudes and motivations, civic engagement, affordable housing, the obligations of privilege, and living one’s values. 


  • Stephen describes how his first day of practice as a pediatrician was like his last day of practice.
  • He shares what motivated him to retire from the practice of medicine.
  • He answers whether his colleagues felt similar dissatisfaction with their work.
  • He discusses applying multiple aptitudes on confined tasks.
  • Stephen talks about the factors he balanced when deciding to retire from medicine.
  • He addresses what was enough financially for him leaving medicine mid-career.
  • He answers how his colleagues and patients responded when he retired.
  • He reflects on whether he retired too young and going about engaging in community.
  • Stephen explains why he became interested in affordable housing and how he has gone about contributing to solutions.
  • He shares his experience of being a landlord and what he has learned.
  • He discusses whether renting out his properties are a business or a mission.
  • He answers whether he is more fulfilled in retirement.
  • Stephen considers the benefits and the obligations of privilege.
  • He talks about growing up in Charlotte and the influence and example of his parents.
  • He notes the one person he met at Duke University who has had the most impact on his life.
  • He shares how he came to practice pediatrics.
  • Stephen reveals what he wants his to have been about.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Leo Tolstoy and the Blues

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning