What to do next ?

Posted by Tom LarsenJun 16, 2016 Making Choices 0 Comment

Many of you know that we sold the majority of our Company (my wife Debbie and I) a few years ago and the final piece this past year. After the majority sale I was retained in my capacity as “President” of the Brand and my wife as VP of the Operation of a number of brands. As happens with founders and new ownership, my relationship lasted a few years and Debbie’s lasted until earlier this year. As of March we were both jobless. So what to do next?

Deb and I have a reputation, you might say, independent and collective histories of decision making that runs outside the norm. For both of us, we have always surveyed opportunity and looked at possibilities with a “why not” mindset, informed by the current circumstances of what is available and what we are willing or would like to do. When we were young making those decisions, we simply were “trying something to see what it would be like”. That concept we both had before we met, has evolved into a rather disciplined approach to being deliberate about how we address our life and what we think we want the next chapter to look like.

With both of us jobless at the same time, we found an opportunity to hit the “reset” button of what we do, where we live, how we spend our time and much more. The process was exciting to set aside the circumstances in which we currently live and consider other options that could conceivably give us a path to a new destination. At the core, we both are hungry to grow and learn and what better time than when we are BOTH jobless.

The long story short, through Deb’s brilliant research she gravitated toward the Retirement “industry” as a possibility. The number of people over 65 will double in 20 years. She found a very rare company that hires couples to manage Independent Living Retirement Communities. Since very few couples looking for jobs have over 20 years of experience in management, together, we quickly became great candidates and were offered a position to manage a community in Napa, California.

Three ironies appeared for us as we came to this choice. For many years through our travels or living in the Bay Area, we always took particular note of how wonderful grape growing regions must be to live in, since grapes have a rather narrow band of temps and extremes in which they will thrive.

Secondly, before we started TD, we had entertained opening a Bed & Breakfast. We set it aside at the time, largely because it sounded like “settling down”, which we were not prepared to do (and still are not).

The third irony is that our house has been on the market for a few months and our new employer provides an apartment on site at the community at no charge.

Now we will be managing an apartment building (sort of), with a food service component (think of it like college dorms for adults) for a community of retirees – our new friends – but, we don’t own it. We have the strength of a billion dollar company with us in our efforts to maintain the promise of a happy retirement for the residents of the community.

Our focus and awarenesses will change as we look and work in the retirement world instead of the consumer world. We won’t change, but, what we see, experience and create insight about will change. Fundamentally through the process of our role-finding experience, we have come to realize and own that life is about destabilizing and restabilizing. Sometimes we create instability ourselves, sometimes it is created for us and sometimes we are confronted by it. Deb and I now know that we see instability as opportunities to grow and reconsider all the status quos. We respond to the circumstances that make life feel off balance differently than most. We have now created a new location to continue this conversation indefinitely at our website LifeOffBalance.com.


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