The number of conversations I’ve had with people about the Tapas Life in recent weeks blows me away. I keep running into folks who are contemplating what to do with their next 2-3 decades of life. I find it heartening that a goodly number of them realize that they will be living into their late 80s or early 90s — and that poses the obvious challenge of “what to do.” This is much better than the folks who are still a number of years from ending their long career and figure “they’ll play golf and travel,” without realizing what that really means when placed against the backdrop of their life expectancy.
Meanwhile, this time I’m writing about Family. It’s the end of the school year, and that marks the progression of a certain cadence in our family. It means that my wife, Carole, is wrapping up another year of teaching, submitting quarter-end grades (after reading and providing feedback on a zillion pages of papers), having meetings with a bunch of students and alums who want to connect with her, and preparing for Graduation ceremonies. She was once again invited to do a so-called Last Lecture this year, and hers is a fine one, indeed. And then we’re into summer. Aaaaaah. To be sure, she’s teaching a goodly chunk of Exec Education sessions/courses, and that will have her busy for a bit, but the pace is calmer, and it feels like summer.
At the same time, we have the treat of our son, who just completed his first year at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, having moved home for the summer today. He’ll be working in the area this summer and he and his roommates for next year sublet their house for the summer (several will be out of the area), so he’s home until Fall quarter (not counting his vacation time). After he lived in DC for 7 years, it is really great to have him here. He is a good guy, fun to have around, and an excellent customer at dinnertime!
So one of my Tapas over the last couple of months has been the latest stage of updating the house after 20-odd years, as I’d mentioned. Just in time, we finished getting the new “Guest Bedroom” ready this week for his arrival. It’s painted, has new bed/bedclothes, new furniture, new art, new lighting, and some space liberated in the closet. Since it’s such a treat to have him home, we wanted to make sure he’d be comfortable. And, of course, same for actual guests, once he’s back in school. It’s been a fun project and the room looks great.
As it happens, my Life Coaching Tapa has been in a bit of a coma lately, and that made some time available for the project. I have one client who’s got a fair amount of turmoil in his life at the moment, and so he’s gone radio silent. Another with a sick elderly father who’s caught up in caregiving and also radio silent. Anew one who said she’d be starting and then pursued some career counseling instead. Another with whom I’d completed a coaching engagement and who came back to start another round and then got swept up in her life and went radio silent. I’ve got broad enough shoulders and good enough client feedback to know that it’s not me, but it is frustrating to have this very meaningful Tapa in hibernation. Well, at least I interviewed a new client last week and he will hopefully choose to get started. Even though he was ready to get started, I encouraged him to talk to one or two other coaches to be sure he had the best fit for himself.
Continuing on the Family front, the other fun thing I’m really happy to have time for is a new shared interest with our son: Golf. I’ve been working to bring my game back to life after giving up my 11 handicap (if you’re not a golfer, know that that’s passably decent) to raise kids. And while I’d taken him to the driving range a number of times over the years to hit some balls, now that he’s in business school, the bug has really bit him hard. He told me today that he’s hit 150 balls a day for the last 10 days — and that’s a serious case of golfitis.
Today was something I’ve waited 60 years for: we played 18 holes of golf together. I’ve been giving Nick some lessons and he is a natural athlete, so he’s picked the stuff up in a hurry. And you probably know the end of this story: he cleaned my clock on the back nine!!! When else in life can you lose miserably to a newbie and love it??
When exactly, one wonders, would this happen during my long career? Had no time, no energy. Was all squeezed out like an orange at breakfast during those years. So it’s a precious part of life to now be able to experience the Family Tapa to its fullest.
It’s also been my pleasure to be available to our daughter Molly to help with some DMV
bullshit paperwork. And resumé editing. And fun conversations and outings. And to provide good champagne for her roommate/landlord’s company’s acquisition celebration. And to share our unusually warped senses of humor and the language.
Fine times with a fine family. This is the Family Tapa, and there’s no better!