Tuesday, December 31, 2013


To make people laugh and learn through clear, concise writing that is entertaining, engaging, intelligent and informative.

Given that this Virtual Tapas Bar (“VTB”) blog—neglected as it has been over the past five years—is my life’s second most proud creation, it seemed prudent that I should post something before the end of 2013.

Prudent for two reasons.  First, to convince myself that I can still string together a series of coherent sentences after months of embarrassing, literary sloth.  And second, to prevent Blogger from deeming my account “abandoned” and sending in the Dalek’s to EX-TER-MIN-ATE the VTB before the twelfth chime of New Year’s Eve.

So today I’ve decided to write a wee bit about…self-discovery.

My own journey into self-discovery has been brewing for years.  Or, more accurately…my initial preliminary thoughts about possibly someday considering making a good-faith effort to motivate myself to perhaps take the first step toward exerting some of the time and energy required for starting the process of a journey of self-discovery.

Prior to last month, I’d gotten no further than “preliminary thoughts.”

But in 2013, things changed for two reasons.  First, I realized that the grey chest hair in my bathroom mirror was attached to a body that had just turned 46.  And second, Acme Low Carb Tongue Depressors, Inc.—the company for which I’ve worked the past seventeen years as a successful yet somewhat uninspired transactional attorney—was acquired by a private equity firm.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, (a) I’m in pretty good shape for an old dude, and (b) I’m not 100% certain that my job is in jeopardy.  But I’ve never been one to waste a good opportunity for hysterics.  So I logged onto Amazon.com and bought a Kindle copy of “What Color is Your Parachute” in order to figure out how I might make the second half of my life a bit more satisfying than the first.

“Parachute” (as we in the mid-life crisis business like to call it) is a self-help classic that has sold millions of copies and helped generations of confused, career wanderers figure their shit out.  Its original copyright dates back to 12 B.C., and it is well-documented in my imagination that the book was instrumental in convincing the Apostle Paul to ditch his career as a tax attorney for a higher calling as VIP wine taster. 

I was given a copy of Parachute when I first graduated college in 1989, and proudly displayed it on my bookshelf for years thereafter.  The problem, however, is that I never actually read it.  I mean…it’s a really thick book.

But when I downloaded my new Kindle version of Parachute from the cloud last month, I plowed through it without hesitation.  That was easy, because you can’t tell how thick a book is when it’s downloaded into a Kindle.

The heart, soul and genius of Parachute’s methodology is a series of seven, precisely-structured exercises designed to make the reader think—really think!—about who he is and what he wants out of life and career.  These are not simple exercises that you’d start and finish while watching an episode of Duck Dynasty.  No…some of them involve multiple steps and require page after page of list-making and brain-dumping. 

Each of the seven exercises focuses on one important aspect of self-discovery:  1) your fields of interest; 2) the kinds of people you prefer to work with; 3) your favorite transferrable skills; 4) your favorite working conditions; 5) your required salary range; 6) your preferred place to live; and 7) your mission in life.

I limited myself to just one exercise per day, in order to keep the mind sharp and boredom at bay.  And although each exercise was bloody hard work, each—without fail—yielded a golden nugget of self-discovery that was self-evident yet surprising at the same time. 

But it was the seventh and final exercise—the “mission in life” exercise—that made me sit-up straight and say, “Fucking hell.  There it is!”

So…what is my mission in life?

To make people laugh and learn through clear, concise writing that is entertaining, engaging, intelligent and informative.

And that, my friends, is the roadmap for the second half of my life.  A roadmap that I wouldn’t have in hand without the assistance of What Color is Your Parachute?

Where’s your roadmap?