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.