The Tapas Life®

This guest post is reprinted with permission of Andy Robin. The Tapas Life is a registered trademark of Andy Robin. This article  Copyright © 2019 Andy Robin.

Most people think that after their Long Career, they’ll enjoy some golden years – travel, tennis, golf, family, friends – and then they’ll die in their late 70s or early 80s.  Most men don’t realize that if they make it to 65 in good health, eat healthy, never smoked, aren’t obese, and do some exercise, they’ll live into their late 80s or early 90s, and women perhaps 5 years longer than that.  Which means that their golden years are likely to last 25 years or more.  That’s a long time to be traveling and playing golf, without losing one’s mind!

Perhaps you’re familiar with Tapas, the Spanish food comprised of a variety of little dishes, rather than a large main course.  Over the four years after I turned 55, I gradually assembled a life of a variety of little dishes, rather than the big job and family life that had occupied all my time and attention for decades.  This turned out to be terrific.

So I decided to write about how to assemble a rich and rewarding life after one’s Long Career – a Tapas Life.  It’s of course not for everyone.  Some will want to keep working until they can’t.  Some will indeed happily (or unhappily) do nothing until they fade away.  Some will take up a second Long Career or consuming hobby.  Yet I’ve been finding that the Tapas Life appeals to a lot of folks (like our mutual friend Charlie Rothschild who assembled his own after we talked about it).  It’s meaningful work to me to share what I’ve learned with others, for their potential benefit.  So this work is part of my meaningful Tapa (along with Life Coaching, which I trained for at 59 and have been doing ever since;  and my 6 years on the Board and Executive Committee of Beth Am;  and the Williams Foundation which I currently serve).  It’s meant to do some good, not as a money-maker.

I’ve blogged about aspects of the Tapas Life at, in no particular order, done Powerpoint presentations for an array of groups, and am currently writing a how-to book.  The book walks the reader step by step through how to assemble a Tapas Life of their own:  put in some structure, do something you love, catch up, create a template for picking Tapas, add Tapas, social connection, use your business brain, give back, redesign relationship with spouse, do something meaningful, self-actualize.

As an example, my family Tapa includes doing anything and everything I can for my immediate family and keeping in touch with other family members outside our home area;  work Tapas included part-time tech startup CEO for 6 years until last March (still on the Board), executive coaching (ongoing), a trial stint in solar energy, hedge fund Board member (ongoing);  meaningful Tapa is life coaching, Wms Foundation, my Tapas Life work, and 6 years of service to Beth Am;  friends Tapa includes social scheduling for myself and my wife;  artistic Tapa includes playing a couple hours of classical piano daily and studying music theory, and taking in all sorts of art stuff at Stanford and in the City;  exercise Tapa includes working out on the machines 2x/week, some golf, and riding my bike everywhere;  food Tapa includes cooking for my wife and myself and for dinners with family or friends;  wine Tapa includes provisioning and enjoying our wine cellar;  household Tapa is keeping the place in working order and tidy;  financial Tapa includes managing all planning, investing, budget, and tax matters for my wife and myself and her LLC;  travel Tapa has seen us all over the world, which I organize, sometimes my wife and myself, sometimes the whole family;  and so on.  Rich and rewarding!  Not boring!


About Andy Robin 1 Article
Andy Robin was born in Chicago and raised in Mexico City. He holds a BA in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from Harvard University. He has been happily married to Carole for 33 years, and they have two fine kids, Nick (31) and Molly (29). Andy was an entrepreneur with his dad in the computer industry in the early ‘70s in Mexico. He was in the semiconductor industry for 22 years, mostly in marketing, but also as a general manager, and most recently as VP of Marketing. He was a housedad from 2002 to 2007 until Carole and Andy’s youngest went off to college. Today he retains the duties of shopping/cooking, household maintenance, and finances. He also plays a lot of classical piano, enjoyed 6 years on the Board and Executive Committee of his large synagogue, where he was also co-chair of raising an endowment, was part-time CEO of a promising tech start-up for 6 years (and remains on the Board), is an Executive Coach and Life Coach, serves on the Board of a foundation in Palo Alto and a NYC hedge fund, and enjoys day-trips, lectures, and concerts around the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley.

1 Comment

  1. Andy, thanks so much for your insightful comments. You raise important points, which remind me of Laura Carstenson’s quote, “There isn’t anything in psychology literature that suggests that its good for people to go on vacation for decades.” The tapas image is a good way to communicate one way of a new beginning, of re-imagining our lives. One omission in your above article that jumps out at me is your narrow emphasis on ” doing something meaningful with the decades ahead.” At this point in history, it is crucial to emphasize that we are human beings, not human doings. Let’s embrace our last third of life using new standards – thinking outside the box of adulthood. Let’s be aware that HOW we live is key to WHAT we are doing. Our consciousness matters. Of course, no one article can ever include every single important point, but I think raising awareness about the role of consciousness would add important balance to your comments. Thank you again.

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