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If you’re 55 and healthy in the U.S., it’s likely that you’ll live into your late 80s or longer.  If your adult life started at 25, then you’re now only at the halfway point!  And you also might be nearing the end of a long career.  What will you do next?

Time was that folks retired, had a few golden years, and died.  Now you’ve got another 30 years ahead of you (25 if you’re 60 or 20 if you’re 65).  You’re in good health, you’re energetic, you’ve got a mountain of knowledge and wisdom, and you’ve got your investments.  If you’ve been thinking that you’d travel, play golf, putter around in the garden and such — that’s good.  By all means decompress, rediscover life and yourself, let the stress melt away.  That will feel terrific for perhaps a year or two.  And then you’ll go stir crazy.  You’ll want to do something productive.  And you’ll realize you need to be doing something meaningful with the decades ahead.

I’m 60 and have reinvented my life over the past few years.  I’ve assembled what I call my Tapas Life — a bit of this and a bit of that, like the small plates of tasty food served all over Spain (and also pictured at the top of the page).  It took a lot of exploring, and was well worth the effort, as my Tapas Life is quite full, pleasurable, and meaningful.

This blog is me being of service (a meaningful activity) to the millions of people who are (primarily) in their 50s or 60s and who haven’t thought about their future much, or are just starting to, or have been puzzling and might benefit from a new perspective.  I’m sharing my journey to the Tapas Life in the hope that my experience will be useful to you, and that you, too, will find a second adult life you love.  After all, you’re part of the first generation to have the longevity to enjoy this opportunity — pursue it with gusto!

If you wish to read more, I suggest you click on this link Why the “Tapas Life” After Retirement? to start at the beginning, and when you’re done reading click on “Next” at the top of the page to progress from there.  Enjoy.

Cheers,

Andy

 

 

 

Precarious

You may know from reading these posts (Keep Learning post) that I do a lot of exercise — not to be a jock, rather to stay healthy.  It’s for cardio (biking everywhere) and nerve health (weight machines).  It doesn’t hurt that it helps me stay in my weight range (138-143 lbs;  I’m 5’8″, so this is close to “ideal,” whatever that means).

Two-and-a-half months ago, I was kicked in the thigh by a horse, just above the kneecap (thank goodness).  As a result, I was unable to bend my leg very well for 3 weeks, and therefore unable to ride my bike, use many of the weight machines, or do my evening stretches.  Awful.  Of course, much worse things happen to many people;  I’m merely noting that for me, this was awful.

I quickly started feeling logy, my energy level was diminished.  And I quickly gained a couple of pounds.  Moreover, I missed being on my bike zooming around in the fresh air, ringing my bell at passers-by.  I missed riding up to the gym for a workout.  And without my evening stretches, my whole body tightened up quite a bit (and I’m pretty tight in the first place).

After three weeks, I was gradually able to resume pedaling, and this was a relief.  Things started to improve, and then I had several trips during which I had no bike or gym access — walked a lot, but that’s all.  Fun trips, but didn’t help with getting back to “normal.”

The takeaway for me was the quick realization that one’s “normal” state of being, where everything works and is humming along, can disappear in an instant (how long it took the horse to kick me).  Just imagine the nightmare had the horse kicked me an inch higher and shattered my kneecap!!!

When you’re very young (say up until 40), health is often taken for granted.  Closing in on 62 (still young!), I’m keenly aware of how important health is and how fragile it is.  “Health is Everything” has been said by many — and they’re right:  it is the sine qua non, for sure.

Another instance came to mind that I’ve blogged about on these pages:  the time I hurt my wrist badly playing tennis (badly) and couldn’t play my beloved piano for six months (Enjoying the Arts — Now That There’s Time post).  This was the first occasion that the ephemeral nature of good health really hit me hard.

The message must be DO EVERYTHING WHILE YOU CAN, and take good care of your health so you can do it as long as possible!  Healthy food and exercise is where it’s at.

Oh, and 10 weeks after the horse kicked me, I was able to do a full squat this week, my weight’s back to normal, my bike is in constant use, and I’m back to being able to my full weight machine regimen.  Aaaaaah.

Efficiency

Here’s something I’d never really noticed very explicitly before:  I have a lot of little tasks or to-dos that accumulate and for which I often have no energy or interest.  And then, once in a while, I have a sudden need to get started on one.  And then I’m imbued with a powerful drive to keep doing, to clear the next task, to prosecute the stack of things needing attention on my desk, to water the flowerpots, and on and on.

Something has switched on in me and it feels as though I have superpowers.  And this may go on for half a day or up to several days.  I’m incredibly efficient, plowing through an accumulation of things that have needed attention and action.  Who knows what causes this, yet when it’s present, it’s presence is obvious and undeniable.

Most days when I’m not in this “charging up the middle” mode, I do have to complete certain items, of course.  These include basics like showering and getting dressed.  And also electives, like riding my bike to shop for groceries and making dinner (instead of punting and just driving the car to a restaurant).  And also mandatories, like paying the bills on time.  But there are also myriad items that aren’t time-sensitive (or which are time-sensitive but which won’t cause too much of an issue if they’re late) that can simply be allowed to sit and wait — sometimes for a looooong time…  Numbering among these is almost always a pile of papers on my desk;  they’d be easy to stay on top of if I just did a bit every day, handling everything only once, immediately, as some efficiency experts recommend.  Somehow, though, this ain’t happening.  So the pile grows, waiting for my superpowers to appear anew.

Stopwatch

I note that during my long career, I was ridiculously efficient.  At first, when I was single, I was in the “proving competence” phase of my life, and so I drove myself hard to do a mountain of work every single day, in order to get ahead, make a buck, be able to find a wife, buy a house, get a nice car.  Then I was married and had kids, and received the greater responsibility I’d sought at work, all at the same time.  This very simply demanded the height of efficiency from early every morning to late every night — for 15+ years!  I perceived there to be no choice at work, where the amount that needed doing was prodigious.  And there was always sooooo much to do at home with kids/family that there weren’t a lot of idle moments.  Throw in what at that time was around a week/month of travel and you get a further compression of the non-travel time, with the attendant pressure on greater efficiency.  Whew.  Glad to have both navigated and enjoyed those times.

This discussion about what efficiency was like at an earlier phase of my life and what it’s like now is meant to highlight yet another way in which life after one’s long career is indeed different.  Being mindful of this change and others I’ve written about in this blog helps with the transition that ensues after one’s long career has been completed.

And being mindful is always a good reminder.  I’m sheepishly surprised that I only just became truly mindful of this quite significant change in my efficiency.  This new mindfulness will give me a better shot at being of choice in how efficiently or inefficiently I do myself at any given moment.

This is also a good example of my observation that after one’s long career, one can focus a bit more on how one is being, and not just what one is doing.  With decades of life experience and quite a bit of perspective to draw on, there are many elements available in how one chooses to be.

Select mindfully.

 

TapasLife Talk — An Invitation

My goal here on TapasLife is to get the word out about the possibility of leading a rich, full,  and meaningful life after one’s long career — especially given the longevity that is giving many 2-3 decades of life after their long career.

This blog is one vehicle for communicating my message.  Through the 54 posts on this website, I’ve shared much of what I’ve learned while assembling and living my TapasLife.  As a result, you’ve likely noticed that I’ve lately been posting infrequently.  I’m grateful to any reader who passes a link to this blog along to others in their 50s and 60s who might benefit from reading about my experiences and gleanings.

In addition to this blog, the book that I’m working on with my co-author will (hopefully) one day be published and made widely available so many can consider a new post-long-career life that has been largely unavailable until now.

A third channel I’ve worked on for exposing people to the TapasLife option is talks.  I’ve done three of these, each for a different group of people at different venues.  I got feedback at all three and incorporated that feedback into the talk.  After the first presentation, I got the feedback that I should add other people’s experiences to my own.  so I included anecdotes from the 14 interviews done to date.  I also received feedback that there should be some interactive portions to the talk, and added a couple.  After the third talk, I received feedback that sharing my “random walk” approach in a chronological fashion wasn’t so easy to absorb, and that perhaps a more prescriptive, cookbook-like approach (apropos of Tapas…) would be better.  And that I might emphasize some portions of the talk more than others.  So I changed the talk accordingly.  And I added another couple interactive sections since these have been so well received.

At this point, the talk is about an hour.  It is a set of colorful, pictorial powerpoint slides (not a bunch of bullet-points/words/texty stuff), prettified with the help of a visuals specialist;  and includes four opportunities for the audience to have exploratory conversations in pairs amongst themselves (these have proven to be very high energy — and in fact are difficult to cut off!).  It happens that in my 28 years in the tech world, mostly in marketing, I got passingly good at talking in front of groups of all sizes (including 600+ at large meetings), and am very comfortable doing so.

I’m all dressed up, so to speak, and all that’s needed is somewhere to go!  THIS IS AN INVITATION to please invite me to speak with some group you are associated with that you believe would benefit from learning about the TapasLife.  I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and am happy to drive anywhere in the extended area in order to talk with your group.  I do not charge a speaker fee at all because this is part of my Meaningful Tapa — I’m just trying to be helpful to others as they complete their long career.  I am willing to travel outside the Bay Area if modest travel expenses are reimbursed.

Groups might include service organizations, church/temple/mosque-related groups, work groups, companies who offer services to their employees who are “retiring,” community organizations, groups of friends, businesses that serve people in their 50s and 60s (as a service to their clientele), and no doubt many others.

When you bring me in to talk with your group, you are helping people avoid the difficult wall that many run into when they complete their long career one Friday afternoon and have very little idea about the complex transition on which they’ve embarked.  And likely even less of a notion about how to live a rich, full, meaningful life for the ensuing 20-30 years.

Your assistance in putting me in front of groups who can benefit is greatly appreciated.  I can be emailed at Andy@TapasLife.com.  Thanks!

Planning for Future Decades

Of course, I could be dead tomorrow.  Hopefully this won’t happen.  I’m so hopeful, in fact, that I think about the future as though I’ll be around for 2-3 decades.  Imagine being around for another 20-30 years.  Wow.  What on earth will I do with that time, if I’m lucky enough that it materializes?  What would you do with that time if it were there for you?

Well, I currently have my Tapas Life, which you’ve read about in this blog.  It’s quite full with Family, Start-up, Exercise/Sports, Friends, Board, Piano, LifeCoaching, Volunteering, Home, Cooking, Finances, Wine, Travel, Learning, writing about the Tapas Life, and more.  And I periodically wonder whether it will be up to the challenge of keeping myself vital until near the end.  This is a combination of wishing to not be a burden to kids and of wishing to live an engaging life.

I find it fathomable that some of these Tapas will run out of gas over time, gradually diminishing.  I don’t imagine that my work at a start-up will continue more than another few years:  either it’ll be a success or it won’t, and that’ll be that.  I imagine that the amount of far-flung travel my wife and I have been enjoying will be more difficult to carry off over time:  will we still want to take 17-hour flights with 12-hour time changes, and then walk 10-12 miles/day at our destination — even when we’re in our 80s?  Probably not.  I’d like to think we’ll still be going to Paris for a few weeks or months now and then, but we might not find ourselves walking from the Luxembourg Gardens to the Bois de Boulogne and back like we do today.  Likewise, Board work and Volunteering (unless it takes some new form) are likely to decrease for me over the coming decade, as my interest in same is waning.

The rest of my Tapas Life, I hope will remain intact, especially the “anchor tenants” of Family, Friends, Exercise, and Learning.  And, for better of for worse, I’ll still be working on Finances every month, willy nilly.  Lest I starve or die of thirst, best to hang on to Cooking and Wine, as well!

I’ve been pondering what main activities might have the “legs” to last decades, along with the anchors.  In a sense, this is trying to foresee what my life might look like, or more to the point, what I want my life to look like over the next 2-3 decades.  Three main activities resonate for me.

First, piano.  I’ve gotten to the point where I can play the piano well enough that it is really a rewarding activity.  This is especially the case because I’m now able to play pretty difficult stuff — and this is music I love.  OK, I’m certainly not professional nor within a country mile.  But I’m good enough that now my drive to learn more is accelerating.  I’ve lately started to entertain the idea that I will seek out a way to earn a music/piano degree over the coming decade, maybe getting started in a couple years as some other Tapas dwindle.  I sure as hell don’t want to go back into Psych101 or Freshman English, so I’m hoping I can work something out (Stanford would be ideal, or perhaps the Conservatory in San Francisco) where I can just take all the music and piano courses:  Theory, Composition, Appreciation and the like.  Truthfully, I haven’t yet investigated what such a path would entail, but I know I want to get in deeper. I want to better understand what my favorite composers were doing within a given piece, so I can find the hidden fullness of the music and bring that out at the keyboard.

Second, LifeCoaching.  This meaningful Tapa of mine is one which benefits from experience.  It seems very likely that I can be doing this for at least another couple decades, assuming the universe continues to bring me clients as it so helpfully has.  Moreover, it is an activity that can be titrated in line with need:  one can have more or less clients as suits the circumstances of the moment.

Third, maybe French.  This is really Learning and Travel wrapped together.  My wife and I love Paris and hope to enjoy chunks of time there for many years.  So I’m contemplating getting serious about becoming reasonably fluent in French.  I can read it decently now, and speak enough to handle the quotidian basics, but can’t understand the spoken language much at all, and am a long way from speaking it well.  This, too, is an activity that can continue to be engaging and can continue yielding pleasure for decades.  My wife studied French for many years, and is surreptitiously fluent;  so my pursuing French fluency is something that we can work on together, which is fun.

Don’t know if these things will come to pass, but they inhabit my musings these days.

What’s your thinking about the decades that you’re rolling into???  If you lay it out, you can live it.  If you don’t, you can just experience life as it comes at you.

 

How Much is Enough?

This is my fourth post on finances — which means this is an important topic in my mind.

I live in an affluent community, and so finances, deals, stocks, IPOs and such can easily turn up in a conversation.  Much of this musing is just that, so be assured that I don’t receive brilliant stock tips every week, nor every year for that matter.  Would be nice, but tisn’t the case.  And I most assuredly don’t receive insider information, so please don’t send the Feds my way!

What does come up from time to time is a discussion of “how much is enough?”  This is generally amongst folks in their 50s or 60s, at or near the peak earning power of their long career.  And the question is over how long their (usually pretty consuming) effort will be needed in order to have enough to enjoy life (and perhaps a Tapas Life) after their long career without money problems.  The layer under this is a desire to not run out of money during one’s life and, especially, not to become a burden to one’s adult offspring.  This is quite understandable, to be sure.

It’s hard to know the answer to “how much is enough?”  You’re free to have a peek at some of my earlier finance-related posts or any of a host of websites attempting to help you with this question.  I won’t try to tackle that here.

What I do see, is that often, the goal line keeps moving.  At first, X is enough.  Then as that is approaching, 1.5X, maybe 2X.  Maybe 10X!  To be sure, for some this might merely be the result of an underestimation that became clearer over time.  On the other hand, it seems that, for some, this is a necessary goal to keep alive, a raison d’être, a tool for continuing one’s work identity indefinitely.  If one were to declare the goal met, that would be admitting that work was now for pleasure and enjoyment, and no longer a needed source of funds;  or because that is the only identity one has.  Or one might simply decide to end their long career.  But this brings with it an armload of uncertainty compared with the predictability of going to work every day — especially after having done that for 30-40 years.  This entire blog routinely talks about the many aspects of this post-long-career life, and how new and different they can be, how much thought, experimentation, and effort they may take;  as well as the terrific opportunities that abound.  It might be easier, for some, just to raise the “how much is enough” target.

Money, it turns out, is only especially gratifying up to the point where one is comfortable and free of worry.  After that, it doesn’t improve one’s happiness.  What improves one’s happiness beyond this point, is social connection (friends and family) and doing something meaningful.  Plain and simple.

Something to consider as the “how much is enough” vortex swirls.

 

 

A Reminder

Am back online after a month in Australia.

And I’m unfortunately reporting the sudden death of a good friend I’ve known for 35 years.  He was in his mid-50s and full of life.  He was an entrepreneur, earned a triple (!) PhD from a top university, taught, enjoyed a fine wife and kids, and was recently a couple years into a very successful new career buying, fixing up, and renting out vacation spots with his wife.  And he did his fair share of philanthropy, as well.  I will certainly miss him.

No warning, just keeled over suddenly.  I saw him a few months ago when he was in town visiting and he looked, sounded, and was terrific, full of enthusiasm.

This is the second friend I’ve lost in this same fashion, the other being my college roommate, who died in his late 50s a few years ago.  He was pretty athletic.  I guess it can happen to anybody.

So I take this as a reminder to get on a path you love and live it well!

If you need help to get it done, ask your family and friends, talk with them about it.  Maybe get a Life Coach (many out there, including me) who can work with you to put yourself in the life you want to be living.  You know what that life is and you know how to find it and put yourself there — it just takes some digging to pull that out of you, and a Coach can be a helpful partner in that effort.

Don’t wait to build and live the life you want, whether it’s a Tapas Life or any other variety.  Time’s a wastin’…

Myers-Briggs “E” or “I”

Let’s continue riffing on Myers-Briggs.  This time, we can explore the impact on “Introverts” and Extroverts” of transitioning beyond one’s long career.

The Myers-Briggs definition of an “E” (extrovert) is someone who is energized by being with other people.  By contrast, an “I” (introvert) is someone for whom being around other people depletes energy.

Now, you may have in your head that en extrovert is a life-of-the-party, glad-handing, loud person.  And you may have in your head that an introvert is somebody sitting at home with a book.  For our purposes here, I’m talking about the definitions noted in the prior paragraph, not such societal stereotypes as may exist.

People are surprised when they learn that I am an “I”.  This is because I’m gregarious, socially at ease, like to joke around, and so on.  And it’s true that that’s all fun for me.  It just uses up a lot of my energy.  So after a certain amount of that sort of socializing, I need to go be by myself to recharge.  I do this playing piano, riding my bike, eating lunch alone, going to museums, taking day trips, reading, and many other ways.  And all of them are solo, because I am recharging.

“E”s have much more capacity to be with others — because it’s actually a source of energy.  My wife is an “E” and it fascinates me that sometimes she’ll be tired and not wanting to do much, but then a friend calls, or a person stops by, or we run into someone we know.  There’s lots of interaction and magically she’s full of life again — because the interaction recharged her batteries, so to speak.

When your long career is over, if you are an “I”, there’s suddenly a ton of alone time.  It’s soooo refreshing.  In fact, there’s about as much alone time as one could wish for!  What a glorious change from interacting with people all day long.  You may find the transition to a Tapas Life pretty easy, from this particular standpoint.  Of course, you’ll still need to have enough social interaction, because being a hermit won’t likely be so good.  Happily, you’ll be able to have just as much as you want/need, and no more.

But if you’re an “E”, you may find that your are just as suddenly devoid of human interaction, and therefore in a big energy deficit.  For an “E”, action is needed to organize interaction.  Get together with friends or old workmates for lunch.  Join a volunteer organization and do some good while working with others.  See who else is done with their long career so you can do stuff together.  Put lots of social activity on the calendar.  If you don’t, you’ll likely find yourself feeling marooned in a lonely place, and very low on your personal energy.  Human interaction is something that during your long career almost surely happened automatically.  And now it may well require significant effort.

Along with the difference in how life beyond one’s long career can feel to a “P” or a “J” (which I talked about in the last post), whether one is an “I” or an “E” can also have a profound effect on this transition.  It’s a good idea to be mindful of these issues.

For completeness, I note that I won’t be talking about Myers-Briggs “N” vs “S” or “F” vs “T”, as it’s not obvious to me that these aspects will necessarily dictate any particular course of action for people completing their long career.

Myers-Briggs isn’t for everybody, perhaps, but I find it quite useful in our context.

 

Myers-Briggs “P” or “J”

The Myers-Briggs Type Inventory, aka, MBTI, is used broadly to help sort people by some of their traits.  Some regard the MBTI as gospel, and others as pop psychology or worse.  I personally don’t see it as the be-all and end-all, but have certainly found it useful over many years.

One of the continuums (sorry, Latin speakers) the MBTI measures is that between Judging and Perceiving.  For short these are called J and P.   The definition for our purposes is that people who are Js like to decide things, and people that are Ps like to leave options open.  (OK, now some MBTI humor:  If a person is a J, we refer to their “J-ness,” but if they’re a P we don’t refer to their …)

A “J” likes to gather whatever data they feel is absolutely needed, and then make a decision.  They like things to be settled and clear.  It can be downright difficult to let an issue continue as “open” without deciding on it ASAP.  For a J, making a decision is satisfying.  Meanwhile, a “P” gathers some data and that leads to more data to be gathered;  the decision is often put off as long as possible, sometimes past the deadline of interest.  For a P, making a decision can be agony.

This is a continuum, though.  While some people are all the way at one end of the span, others lie elsewhere along the line.  Some are right in the middle, and can make decisions easily enough, but can also leave things open easily enough.  You get the idea.

If you’re a Myers-Briggs P, you might find the transition to a Tapas Life to be very natural.  You roll along, opportunities appear, and you grab those that suit you when they suit you.  Your life can be very emergent.  In contrast to one’s long career, which often demands that decisions be made, the Tapas Life may feel liberating to a P.  Of course, as in all Tapas Life recipes, you can add as much or as little structure as you wish, so not everything need be wide open.

If you’re a Myers-Briggs J, you might find the transition to a Tapas Life to be more of a challenge.  In your long career, you might’ve found the structure that that world provides comfortable.  You’re perhaps used to goals and making decisions about how to achieve them.  You’re probably accustomed to deadlines and making decisions on how to meet them.  Most importantly, the issue of how to spend the bulk of your waking hours has been settled for decades by the rigors of your long career.  You may find the sudden arrival of the blank calendar that can come with the completion of your long career to be very daunting indeed.

To me, a classic example is that of a medical doctor.  Here’s a person who’s had a huge portion of their time scheduled over the past 30+ years.  All that time, they’ve been making decisions.  Their long career’s attributes have prescribed (sorry, non-punners) what their days have looked like.  If they retire from their long career one day, they suddenly entire uncharted waters where nothing is settled.  Of course, by and by they can get on with gathering data and making decisions about what they want their lives to look like and wind up very fulfilled and satisfied.  I’m merely noting the challenging nature of their transition — it’s a pretty major change!

Other Js may or may not have a similarly disorienting transition ahead of them, but they are likely to experience the arrival of a blank calendar as more of a hurdle than a P.

One other heads-up to Js:  you might experience life after your long career to be a lot less efficient.  But this is a topic for another post entirely.

I’m not a psychologist, pop or otherwise.  If you disagree with my two bits about MBTI Js and Ps, please chime in with your thoughts or experiences.

Meanwhile, whether you’re a P or a J, a Tapas Life can be assembled by anyone who wants one!

 

p.s.:  Full disclosure — I’m a J, and can act like a P with some effort when I need to…

 

Titrating

In the post “Some of Each” I talked about how at any given time some Tapas are doing well and others are a bit wanting.  In this post, the topic is the fact that at any given time some Tapas are very absorbing and others are less active.

If you’ve ever taken Physics, even way back in high school, you may remember something about waves.  When waves all overlap with each other in a random fashion, there’s a fairly steady level of energy or, in the case of sound, white noise.  When a couple of identical waves are perfectly out of sync (i.e., the peak of one is aligned with the trough of the other), they can more or less cancel each other out (like noise-cancelling headphones).  On the other hand, if peaks are aligned, the magnitude of the wave can get much higher (likewise, the converse).

In the Tapas Life, sometimes the random activity/intensity/engagement attached to the collection of Tapas is such that everything fits very comfortably.  There might be some challenging moments here and there;  and some very slow times, as well.  Often, everything magically fits.

When multiple or all Tapas slow down at the same time, that shows up for me as a chance to catch up on some to-do’s that haven’t quite risen to the top of the list.  Or it can be a time of emergent activity — a day trip, a spontaneous invitation.

When multiple Tapas all go crazy at the same time, life gets hectic!  In my personal version of the Tapas Life, this has shown up in recent weeks as tax work, copyright work, patent work, Board work, prep for a piano recital, several dinners at our house, prep for my annual golf outing with b-school friends, trying to book flights and digs for our winter vacation, a sudden confluence of active life coaching clients, my sister’s surprise b-day in Chicago, routine physical and dental visits, and the usual life maintenance and financial work.  Plus a few standing meetings (my tech start-up and the Tapas Life book effort) and a goodly dose of lunches (with Exotic Fish here in Palo Alto, down in Silicon Valley, and up in San Francisco).

This is a fine mix, and I love it.  It’s just that when everything starts hopping at once, things can get a little crazy.  This is exacerbated by travel, since many things get crowded together before departing and many things accumulate and need attention upon one’s return.  Well, what a first-world problem.  I’m covering it here simply to continue to give you a flavor for what the Tapas Life can be.

I have duties in life that aren’t my favorites, but I’m responsible and do them.  Sometimes, though, I avoid them for a while, and they stack up.  When they get stacked up and start needing attention (credit card bills, account statements, etc.), and then other Tapas go off like popcorn, that gets icky (if I may use that technical term).  The moral of the story is clearly to stay on top of one’s duties, and that’s somewhat easier said than at all times done.

The flip side of life bursting at the seams is that it’s exhilarating, and one can tell that one is truly alive.  Fortunately, these periods of being largely out of control don’t appear in my Tapas Life for more than a few weeks at a time, and then there’s time to catch up, regroup, and continue enjoying.  Not a bad thing, I suppose.  By contrast, when I was living my Porterhouse steak life (see the Why the “Tapas Life” post), it sometimes felt like careening on the edge for months at a time — but perhaps that was just that stage of life.

If you have a bunch of Tapas in your Tapas Life, it’s possible that it can routinely become too much.  Likewise, if you have too few, you might find yourself bored and listless.  The Tapas Life can be titrated simply by adding or eliminating Tapas:  it’s much more flexible that way than one’s long career.

With its overloaded times and its slack times, I wouldn’t trade the Tapas Life’s rich mix for much of anything.  And the best, with a little good luck, is yet to come.

 

 

Book Progress

This time am sharing progress towards the Tapas Life book.  As you’ve taken some interest in this topic, you actually have a hand in the book’s progress, as you shall see below.

As a refresher, the Tapas Life book is part of my Meaningful tapa:  I’m seeking to help the millions of Americans in their late 50s and 60s who haven’t yet realized that they’ve got several more decades of life, and that that additional, unplanned for chunk of time needs some thought, exploration, planning, and emergence.  A Tapas Life is one option for what to do with those years, or some of those years.

My co-author is a professional writer and a great guy.  He has ghost-written a lot of books and this time he’ll be on the cover with me.  We started out with him dragging lots of info out of my head over a period of quite a few hours in several sittings.  Then we worked together on a table of contents for the book, and continued with that until it felt about right (about write?).  I wrote a couple chapters he chose and an intro, so those would be available in my words and tone.  And I’ve been writing this blog for a year, seeking to get my thoughts and experiences written out in, at least, skeletal form.  This will also be material for my coauthor’s much more talented pen (or MacBook, as is actually the case).

Too, at my coauthor’s suggestion, I’ve been conducting 24 interviews of other people nearing the end of their long career or beyond their long career.  This is intended to supply many more perspectives than just my own, adding flesh to the book.  I’m currently halfway through these interviews, and we’ve recently reached the conclusion that we need to work to understand the next dozen interviewees values more deeply and that, as interviewer, I need to probe more into what’s really going on for these folks.

Seeking to draw more people to the blog, to learn more about the Tapas Life, I created a PowerPoint presentation about the Tapas Life, starting with the facts about longevity and continuing through the elements of a Tapas Life and how one can be assembled.  My wife then put me in touch with a wonderful lady who spiffed the prezo up and made it look more professional than I could.  I’ve now presented this to three different groups, apparently to a good reception.  At the latest one, the attendees got an evaluation form, and those forms are coming to me in a few days, so I’ll no doubt learn more.  A couple of people have been kind enough to offer very specific and useful feedback, and I addressing it actively.  Feedback, as my wife says, is a gift, and I receive it greedily.

If you know of a group that might benefit from hearing a Tapas Life presentation, please let me know, as I am keen to get the word out.  If in the San Francisco Bay Area, I do this for free.  I get paid in meaningfulness.  :-)

Next on the roster is to line up a couple of magazine articles to reach a broader audience and to bring more eyes to this blog.

And one day, with plenty of blog traffic, some published magazine articles, a scrubbed table of contents, an intro and a couple of chapters written by my professional coauthor, and a stab at a marketing plan, it’ll be time to go seek a publisher with a book proposal in hand.  The object of all this is to reach lots of people who will potentially benefit from what they read, so we’ll need a publisher with a track record of getting to lots of people.

After that, I will hopefully get the chance to expand my speaking engagements to more audiences, to continue to educate.

As you can see, the Tapas Life book is a Tapa in my own Tapas Life!  I’m investing a lot of energy in this quest.  And I hope it works out, because I truly believe it’ll help many, many people have a better life after their long career.  If it works out well, then this Tapa will have legs and be with me for years.  But it may not.  In which case I will have failed gloriously and I’ll fold this Tapa up and find the next one to take it’s place.  That’s how the Tapas Life’s little dishes work!

As always, if you know someone who might benefit from learning about the Tapas Life, please lead them to this blog.  Your help is appreciated.