A few days ago, I met with a couple other guys in my age range (I’m 60) for a conversation about the Tapas Life.
This came about because one of the fellows and I had lunch to talk about life in general a few months back and he was really intrigued by the Tapas Life. Apparently, he’s been chewing on the concept ever since. And he made the acquaintance of another gentleman who is at the stage where it could be of interest to him, as well. So, a meeting was arranged for the three of us to get together and talk Tapas Life — supposedly over coffee, but turned out to be over Pellegrino.
The man I met with months ago is an investor, and we’ll call him A. The third man is a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist, and we’ll call him B. This is a courtesy to protect their privacy.
A is at a juncture in his life that is full of decision. He can re-up in his industry, making some changes to how he’s going about it. Or he can pursue more of a Tapas Life. Or some combinations of the two (re-up at reduced capacity, to provide room for some juicy Tapas). It feels to me as though he’ll pursue the combination. He’s already doing a bit of Tapas and is really liking that. And he does well with emerging situations that he can jump into and add value — which sounds like Tapas-shopping to me. Planning a path is not so much his deal, and that really plays to selecting Tapas as they appear. He’s full of energy, and so will no doubt continue to sprinkle good in the world for decades to come. I’m betting that he’ll do that in an ever-expanding array of places/circumstances. And he’ll probably be most comfortable keeping a foot in his erstwhile full-time world.
B is a planner. He’s always laid out a big goal and then pursued it relentlessly. He played the questioning skeptic in our get-together. How can one make good progress without a big goal to go after? How can one be focused without a big goal to go after? I noted that one can have areas in which one has big goals to go after, but they can have a ring-fence drawn around them that limits the portion of one’s waking hours that are dedicated to them. I also talked about how I had set life goals in 1983/1984 that I then stayed ultra-focused on until the last was achieved, in 2000; and I talked about how much of life was lost to me during those years since I was so focused on my goals, and couldn’t see much else. Softening one’s focus makes space for unexpected/unforeseen/unimagined gems to pop into view. In 2002, I decided not to make new goals; but since then, I did create a Piano goal for myself: 10,000 hours by age 65, because I really like the piano and want to be decent at it, as I enjoy it even more that way. But I limit myself to 2 hours/day of practice (OK, sometimes I go overboard, but not often), so there’s plenty of room for other Tapas.
Another question was raised by B: How can one operate without the organization that structure provides? I noted that one can have as much or as little structure as one wishes to put in place. I can envision a highly-structured Tapas Life, if that’s what one desires — it merely has time slots provided for each Tapa, and probably some open time slots, as well. My Tapas Life is a lot less structured because that’s how I like it. But even my Tapas Life has some structure to it: Monday lunch business meeting, Wednesday morning Leadership group call, Sunday night computer back-up, riding my bike out in the afternoon to buy fresh ingredients and making dinner in the evening, and so on.
It was a really interesting discussion. The thing I loved about it, was that A and B were in such a place of contemplation, entertaining what to do in the next phase of their lives. They’ve each been very successful and are aware of the fact that they’ve got another whole adult life (25-30 years) ahead. And they are each full of the drive and life energy that got them to where they are. They’ll no doubt continue to consider their options and may choose a path forward in several steps. Or may try something and then make changes. The great thing is that they have stepped off the path of their last few decades to have a look around at the terrain, to see where they’ve been, and to survey where they might go. It’s a time pregnant with possibility.
I felt honored to get to connect with two such powerhouse guys to savor the Tapas Life opportunity. What an excellent way to enjoy a couple hours. And my own Tapas Life made room for that, comfortably.
What will you do with your one wonderful life once you end your long career?