I hadn’t run into any people living the Tapas Life in the regular course of my life. Yet I found it hard to believe that I am the first to choose to live life in this fashion — lots of bite-sized activities and engagements.
In the course of working on our book, Tapas Life, my co-author suggested that it would be good to include the experiences of other 50- or 60-somethings. So I took on finding 24 people to interview about their views on what they imagined life would be like after their long career (if they were still in that career); or what life had been like after they long career (if it had already been brought to a close).
This was not hard. My list of interview candidates quickly grew to over 70 people.
I started in on the interviews and was gratified to learn that there are indeed some folks out there living the Tapas Life. In fact some 70-somethings have been living the Tapas Life for 15+ years! These pioneers have created a new form of post-career life out of whole cloth with no role models. They are courageous to look at friends and family and essentially say, “No, we aren’t going to live this stage of our lives like everyone else has forever — we’re going to do something completely new and different.”
Not surprisingly, these pioneers love their lives, just like I love my Tapas Life. To a person (or a couple), they say that they are incredibly lucky and living the best possible life. Some are quite well off, and others have more modest means (after all, as Martin Seligman points out in Authentic Happiness, there’s little correlation between happiness and wealth past a moderate point). All are living beyond their expectations.
In our book, my co-author and I will share some of this group’s experience. It is truly inspirational to hear their stories.
Not everybody’s living a Tapas Life, of course. Some are “retired” in the traditional sense of the word, playing golf or tennis and traveling, volunteering, enjoying hobbies. Some are in a second or third very active career. Whenever you connect with two dozen people/couples, diversity abounds.
A common thread for any who have grandchildren is the delight those little ones provide. No surprises there!
Now a request: everyone on my list so far has been in the Western half of the U.S. If you know a 50- or 60-something in the Eastern half of the U.S. who is still working and willing to talk with me about their thoughts on the years ahead after their long career; or somebody who has already concluded their long career who is willing to talk with me about their experiences (regardless of the type of life they are leading), please let me know at email@example.com. Thanks! Please note that I’m specifically not looking for any sort of story or situation — just people willing to give me 45-60 minutes of their time for an interview. They can love their lives, hate their lives, be lukewarm, and be doing anything at all. Again, thanks.
The main message that keeps smacking me in the middle of the forehead is that you can absolutely design the life you want! All it takes is envisioning it, laying out some first steps (such as just doing things you like, as I’ve talked about in earlier posts), and then getting started down the path. Talk with others about what you are seeking, and doors will open that facilitate your journey. Amazing. And wonderful.