April 1st — a day for All Fools — will mark the first anniversary of Young Isaac's move into People To My Site.

Throughout the past year, friends have asked me, "So what are you doing?"

The First Answer
Through the end of last summer, the initial answer was four basic items:

  • the transition of my employees and clients from an independent Young Isaac into the Young Isaac division of a larger enterprise. (It was — and continues to be — an enormous relief and delight to see everyone taken care of, in one way or another.)
  • ensuring that every contractual obligation of (old) Young Isaac was fully fulfilled and paid. Every creditor's dream: "100 cents on the dollar."
  • my independent exploration of ideas for what's next for me.
  • my first summer vacation since 1981. I had unprecedented time with our kids and — when they were at summer camp — with myself and my bike and a glass of lemonade.

Friends kept asking. Perhaps you asked. What are you doing?

What About A New Job?
When the kids went back to school last autumn, I started to wonder, "What will I do?" I'd talked to a big company about a job. My name was being considered by a variety of nearby college deans for teaching positions.

It seemed like a full-time job would be a responsible next step.

At the same time, however, my wife — who had just received her nursing degree and been appointed a Nurse Practitioner at a great employer — read my mind. (She does that. It's a hobby for her.)

"Don't get a job," she said, quite out of the blue. (Or so it seemed to me.)

"What?" I asked.

"Don't get a job," she repeated. "I have a job now. I have health insurance coverage for the family. You have had a job for decades. Now it's my turn."

"Really?" I asked.

"Plus," she explained, "you aren't meant to have a job. You're meant to have a variety of projects, a lot of balls in the air. So don't get a job."

I've had a lot of reasons to love Mrs. Isaac. Now you know one I can describe to you.

The Second Six Months
Obeying Mrs. Isaac, and with the kids back at school and the Young Isaac transition becoming clearer, I caught my breath. Here's what I did:

  • I became very reactive. Ambition always required me to be pro-active, to search and pursue. But — at this stage of my life — a lot of people know me. And they know what I'm capable of. (And what not!) So, by becoming reactive, I made myself open to others who might say, "Artie, this would be right for you." (I didn't recognize that I had adopted this strategy until afterward, when my friend Karen S. described this as her strategy.)
  • I had lunch out and afternoon tea at home most days. Always with a different person. To hear other perspectives, from other people trying to figure out what they might do next.
  • I spent time alone. I've always avoided that. But I have now grown to enjoy my solitude.

This led to my current situation.

Now, On The First Anniversary
Here's what I'm doing, in order of what most wakes me up in the middle of the night:

  • The Odd Couple. We will stage this funny, classic, heartwarming story of friends-in-need and friends-indeed on May 7-10, here in Columbus.
  • Public speaking on topics of creativity, ethics, and the democratization of public speaking.
  • Marketing consulting for beloved Young Isaac clients.
  • Teaching. I'm currently at CCAD teaching consumer behavior. Later this month I will return to teach creativity and innovation at Fisher College at The Ohio State University (this time in the undergraduate program).
  • Writing Net Cotton Content. (Thank you.)
  • And I've recently joined the ensemble at ImprovEdge, where I help companies increase productivity and teamwork (without employee turnover) through strategic improvisational theatre training.

More on all those later, of course.

Sorry it took me a year to answer your question.
I guess it's a complex answer. A lot of balls in the air. But they seem to be the right balls.

What are you doing?