I’m pushing 72; I’ve spent over 40 years as a clinical psychologist, traveling the rocky, existential highways of dilemma, doubt, and despair, interspersed with profound moments of transformation, depth, and forgiveness.
I was built for this, or more precisely, I was prepared for this – at 12, I was hypnotically directing my parents toward a blissful marriage, and, at 16, I was an up-and-coming teenage Ann Landers, counseling my broken-hearted friends through the unbearable pain of lost first loves.
Oliver Sacks, the neurologist, naturalist, and author, a man whose life work was dedicated to illustrating how the brain “is the most incredible thing in the universe” said the following about the nature of memory – a quote, I might add, which is especially relevant to how we more seasoned folks reconstruct retrospective memory, “…every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination.”
So, if memory serves me correctly, what I imagine I must have said or what I imagine I wished I had said, was something proverbial like, “This too shall pass.” Probably a bit too profound for a suburban teenager but sounds good nevertheless. Truth is my parents’ conflict did pass and my friends did rebound from their despair.
So why, with this kind of emotional intensity and focus, would I consider a “superficial” venture peddling groovy shit, or to put it more elegantly, to offer unique products and services to the hip, Premium market?
A Link to My Past
First of all, fond memory has a lot to do with it. At 16, I wasn’t just into repairing broken hearts – which I did for free – but I was also shoveling snow, washing cars, delivering newspapers, mowing lawns, and selling off my baseball card collection for the sole purpose of being the kid with the coolest clothes. (Who remembers pants tapered to 12 inches, pink socks, black shirts, and very trendy hats with feathers?)
Once a month, I’d bicycle five miles to the Miracle Mile in Manhasset to my favorite hangout, a store that catered to young fashion fanatics like me. What I remember about that experience has less to do with imagination and more like opening a file of captivating, visceral memories filled with feelings of libidinal pleasure, the delights of positive self- obsession, and an overinflated sense that I was the It Boy of Nassau County, New York.
A Link to My (and Our) Future
The second reason for peddling groovy shit is to scratch my own itch (and hopefully yours as well). I wanted to build something for me and you – active, curious, very-young-at-heart Premiums who are into style, ideas, and sweat. One thing is for sure, I’m not alone. We connoisseurs of experience are more and more abundant. I’m meeting you on the trekking paths of Nepal and India, in Parisian cafes, the coffee shops of Amsterdam, and in the online classes run by Harvard and MIT.
One of the perks of being a Premium is that for many of us we have time, money, and a paid-our-dues-and-it’s-time-to-cash in attitude.
Free from the have-to’s of child rearing (let’s face it, grandparenting for many of us is mostly pleasure with limited responsibilities), we’ve reached a time in our lives where we can explore, learn, and purchase, directed by our unencumbered, inner compass, our uniquely personal preferences, and our healthy desire to indulge our passions. After all, who doesn’t have a bucket list?
Ok, so true confession: one of my bucket list items has been to open up a high-end men’s clothing store, where I’d use my psychological skills to help men express themselves through their choice of apparel. No big surprise considering my life-long passion for style. You want to be an alpha and out-negotiate your competitor? Then choose the precise costume that disarms the guy on the other side of the table.
Or, if being flexible and cooperative is your outcome of choice, then knowing which color and style subliminally expresses those sentiments would ensure that your message is being heard. Marshall McLuhan, a name that many of us Premiums remember, said it brilliantly, “The medium is the message.”
So, “it’s never too late to become the person you’re meant to be.” I am a psychologist, a guide, a facilitator, a person blessed to help people find their voice, their unique style, that illusive “It” that distinguishes us as clearly as the lines of our palm and the singular patterns of our iris.
For me personally, as the Tobin half of Gurfein & Tobin, my mission is to help you to express your unique It, your mojo, your idiosyncratic Premium style.
How are we going to do that?
First of all, by being a one-of-a-kind Premium Lifestyle Brand that actually gets to know you, with your interests, your passions, and pleasures.
If you’re an active grandparent, we’ll provide you with an array of high-end educational toys, games, and books carefully chosen with the aim of helping you to bond with your grandchildren.
If you’re an adventure traveler, we’re going to research and recommend the most mind-blowing places to visit and the most reliable companies to work with.
If you’re into clothes, I can tell you this, we’re not competing with Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and Brooks Brothers. But what we will do is offer you hard-to-find styles, quality, and taste that as groovy Premiums we think other cool Premiums will love as well.
Our plan is to blow your mind, to get you to smile, and most importantly to challenge you to think about what it means to be a player in the Third Act of Your Life. While we’re advising you on the best pet products or presenting you with the kind of specialized beauty aids that keep your skin glowing, we’re also going to offer you dynamic content on the Premium experience, like how to deal with the inevitable thorny issues between you and your adult children or what it means to age and “ache in places we use to play.”
So Gurfein & Tobin is the “itch I want to scratch” and another iteration of a truth that says, “It’s never too late to become the person you’re meant to be.” My deepest desire is that we share a common itch and that Gurfein & Tobin, in some small way, will help you, as well, to become the person you were always meant to be.