Embracing Chaos…How I Am Handling the Pandemic…
It is 80 degrees but an ocean breeze makes it feel like an even more comfortable mid-70s. I am sitting on the rooftop level of a Del Mar Village shopping area on a patio with a gorgeous view of the mighty Pacific. I’m on a cushioned chair at an umbrella table with two of my “Millennial Queens” and using the Wi-Fi of the shopping complex housing several of my favorite bistros that I frequent.
We are the only people on the patio…it’s prior to the pending lunch hour when several of the nearby restaurants around me will start filling up…yet it will still remain peaceful here because Del Mar is just a quiet little place and I love it. It’s so funny as I reflect that I’ve been “self-quarantining” for years and by choice. I simply don’t care for crowds and I cherish my privacy. I live in a small one-bedroom cottage, three blocks from the water. I simply do not need the large mansions of my past and the entanglement of having “too much stuff.” Life is simple and I am going to keep it that way.
Like us all, I’ve been hurt financially due to COVID. My thriving travel business is shut down for the foreseeable future (www.aviatravelservices.com) and a multi-million dollar investment in the COVID-ravaged demographic of my unique vertical in the eldercare housing field in Arizona is shuttered until the COVID threat is eliminated or stable enough not to literally kill my clientele (www.luxurygrouphomes.com, http://boutiquegrouphomes.com). Yet, like all seasoned entrepreneurs, I’m busy “re-inventing” myself and creating fun and hopefully profitable new ventures like https://medium.com/@peterjburnsiii/what-would-an-entrepreneur-do-exotic-car-rentals-with-peter-j-burns-iii-58707a9f5a67 and https://medium.com/@PeterBurnsIII/peter-j-burns-iii-sees-millennial-queenmaker-program-as-his-legacy-project-5c15a8281ac5.
I’m even taking a shot at “shark-attack proofing” beaches so I can actually enjoy the water myself and potentially save the lives of other swimmers and surfers…https://peterjburnsiii.com/orca-project
I am from a very successful family of businesspeople. I can recount HUGE success in the world of business back to my own grandfather, “Peter I.” My younger brothers are veritable “Titans” in the industries of entertainment and finance and my younger sister is married to a very successful financial fella. Everyone in my immediate family did it “by the book” …successful matriculations from secondary school to university and then grad school and/or entering into various professions. They each acquired suitable mates had beautiful families and achieved the “American Dream” of so-called balanced lives.
I, on the other hand, barely squeaked by graduating from high school and was “invited” to join the US Army at the tender age of 17 where I was subject to a rather rude awakening to the “real world” from my former “Country-Club” lifestyle. I did manage to navigate my military days into a rather remarkable series of events…a Secretary of the Army Appointment to West Point, attendance at USMAPS, and then winning a 4 Year ROTC Scholarship to my dream school, the University of Virginia. I took a 4th Year class entitled “Entrepreneurship” as a first-year student, created a business plan that I parlayed into making my first fortune (https://medium.com/@PeterBurnsIII/peter-j-burns-iii-the-moped-rental-king-197ca204ef9) starting the summer after my first year at UVa. I dropped out of UVa. but ended up lecturing to students in my former “Entrepreneurship” class for ten years and even managed to get into Harvard Business School’s OPM Program.
For the last 45 years (and counting) I’ve been “living the dream” of entrepreneurial freedom and now find myself writing this blog while I take in the beauty of my adopted home of Southern California.
Of course, this journey has certainly not been without its share of pain and loss and the challenges of life. I’ve made and lost at least two fortunes (of approximately $6 million each) which includes a devastating divorce some 25 years ago. I can count my divorce as the first one in the Burns Dynasty as well as the only Burns to have the distinction of going broke…and two times at that! lol Meanwhile my younger siblings all thrived in life and fortune, just as they were expected to do….until lately.
COVID set back my younger brother in the entertainment business: he’s the Vice Chairman of an NYSE behemoth…the largest independent movie company in the world. Guess what(?) no one is going to the movies…because there aren’t any movie theaters anymore. Along the way, his second, much younger wife…filed for divorce. In California, that means his former $28 million in income goes to exactly half…if COVID hasn’t crushed that future opportunity forever. My other younger brother’s $5 billion in his private wealth management coffers lost $2 billion in value in two weeks. To add insult to injury, this brother lives in Connecticut…while his wife lives in their beautiful home in Montecito…3,000 miles away from each other. Even my younger sister’s uber-conservative financial planner husband managed to “lose” 50% of the value of some money I gave to my daughters and my former wife insisted I place it with him.
My younger sister called me amidst the “COVID Chaos” about two months ago with her opening line…”Well, brother…you have the last laugh.” She went on to explain that although each of my siblings did everything they were supposed to do and managed to avoid all of the unorthodox travails of my life history…much of their own “perfect” lives simply weren’t and the ensuing adjustments to each of their lives were causing an uproar. I, on the other hand, seemed very happy with my life in Southern California, going to the beat of my own drum and doing exactly what I loved to do. In short, I was happy…and they all were not.
I love my family and know they will be fine. After all, none of them are going to miss their next meal. lol In the meantime, I am enjoying a simple life of business start-ups and living my life of personal freedom. In the end, the #1 benefit of being an entrepreneur is their FREEDOM! So…I’m not ignoring the awful realities that the “COVID Crises” has wrought on our country and indeed the rest of the world…but I will be damned if I just sit back and whine about it.
This world has had a life-altering and damn near “extinction event” in COVID. It should be a major wake up call to us all. Change your perspectives and your lives. Embrace the chaos and figure out how to find your happiness. In our hearts, we all must realize that things are NEVER going back to where they were. Life is all about change and if you don’t change too…you’re just going to be sitting by the side of the road as the ones that do embrace change and move forward… pass you by.
Follow serial start-up entrepreneur Peter J. Burns III and his “(Ad)Ventures in Capitalism” at www.peterjburns3.com.