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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Push and Pull

  “Most of us have two lives. The life that we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”  Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.

Do you believe that everything happens for a reason? Are all of our life experiences woven perfectly together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle? There are times when I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason, that whether good or bad, our experiences are part of a grand, specifically tailored life design. At other times, I believe that the bulk of our everyday experiences are as random as the balls that pop up out of lottery machines. Presently, I am going through a mini “everything happens for a reason” phase. Propelling this recent phase is the discovery of a fantastic book by Steven Pressfield called “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.” During one of my You Tube video subscription watching sprees, I clicked on one of the recommended videos You Tube generates based on videos you have previously viewed. The video that I clicked on was one by Marie Forleo whom is described on her website as a “best-selling author, speaker, online-entrepreneur, Nike Athlete and Master Trainer, fitness personality, and dancer/choreographer, Marie has defied conventional wisdom and achieved phenomenal success across multiple industries.” Based on what I have been viewing lately on You Tube, I’m not quite sure why one of Marie Forleo’s videos was recommended for me, but I’ll forgive You Tube’s sometimes inexact science of recommending videos since it ultimately led me to Steven Pressfield’s book. So, there I was watching one of Marie Forleo’s informative, entertaining, and engaging videos when I glanced over to the right- hand side of my computer screen and read the title to another one of her videos, “The Must read book for Anyone who wants to create Anything.” Well, this lover of books was not about to pass up finding out about the book behind this video title. Almost immediately, I moved my cursor over the video title, clicked on the link, and thus began my journey into learning about Resistance.

Pressfield defines Resistance as the force that fights like hell to keep any creative ambition within us from shining through. Resistance is not always obvious, preferring to mask its intention to squash our creativity via thoughts and activities that on their face seem reasonable and justified. Resistance strongest ally is every fear- based and negative thought that has ever successfully trampled our minds and our spirits. If there is something that your soul is stirring to create, chances are Resistance has already unleashed every weapon in its arsenal to steer you away from that creative endeavor. As I make my way through this book, the role Resistance has played in dissuading me from pursuing the creative longings of my soul is becoming clearer. I can see now how Resistance has consistently fought to keep every negative and self- sabotaging thought and action in my life alive. In its latest bid to squash yet another creative aspiration, Resistance is working overtime to convince me to let go of the idea of taking an introduction to magazine writing class. The class I am looking into taking sounds like an ideal course for individuals who are interested in learning how the world of online and print magazine writing works. Resistance, being the formidable and stubborn opponent that it is, pounced immediately on some of the key aspects of the class, among which include producing two polished articles. In its mantra like way of crushing ones creative ambition, Resistance keeps chanting the following to me:

1. How in the hell are you going to come up with 4 to 6 ideas for stories you’d like to write when you can’t even imagine to find a niche for your blog?

2. Assuming you are able to come up with any suitable writing topics, do you really think anyone would seriously consider publishing anything you write?

3. When are you going to have the time to come up with story ideas, let alone write?

4. Are you really going to spend the money and the time this class requires, money and time you cannot afford to spend?

5. Do you really want to discover how foolish and pathetic this whole writing professionally thing is for you?

Resistance certainly isn’t pulling any punches. Like a stealth aircraft, Resistance forcefully went to the task of killing any desire in me to register for this class by strategically hitting all of my fear- based and negative zones. Is there any truth behind Resistance assertion that taking this class would stretch my budget and my time? Yes, that is true, but as Steven Pressfield says of Resistance, “the more important a project is to your soul’s evolution, the more resistance you’ll feel towards it.” Writing is one of the things that is central to my soul, it is my refuge. With each pen stroke and/or keyboard tap on my computer, I feel as if I am growing as a human being. Resistance is no stranger to the growth that writing offers to my souls evolution and it does not like it one bit. Accordingly, Resistance will use every weapon in its arsenal to stop my soul’s evolution dead in its tracks.

While I haven’t decided whether or not I will register for this class, I am resolved to struggle through the grip that Resistance is fighting to hold onto in my life. Honestly, I don’t know if I have what it takes to market myself in the world of freelance magazine writing, and at the end of the day, I may discover that freelance magazine writing is not for me. In order to discover where I truly stand with respect to this field, I have to be willing to expose myself to every facet of this industry. No doubt, Resistance will be there at every turn, ready for battle. I must suit up and fight like no tomorrow to win the battle against Resistance, knowing that each battle won will make me stronger to endure the war Resistance is intent on raging against my soul’s evolution.

Early Birds

I marvel at the people who get up at 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning to hit the gym. The mental acuity and dexterity that I would need to muster to be functional at the gym at that time is almost too much for me to calculate. Similarly, I cannot relate to the people who get up at just before the crack of dawn to partake in what has become a national pastime, Black Friday. Black Friday is the one day of the year retailers promise to deliver consumers jaw- dropping deals worthy of camping out in line outside of retail stores. Much to the delight of retailers, consumers have responded favorably to the Black Friday call, braving rain, snow, and sleet to secure their opportunity to buy the deal of the year. The tsunami- like wave of people rushing their way past the doors of “X” and “Y” retail store isn’t an image one is soon likely to forget. Stories of Black Friday shoppers getting pushed and elbowed on their way into the stores are as common as the stories of the physical altercations that break out between shoppers and employees over merchandise. Sadly, for one Walmart employee in New York a few years back Black Friday turned deadly when he was trampled to death by shoppers rushing to get a hold of limited merchandise. This year at a Los Angeles based Walmart store, Black Friday shoppers were greeted not only by an unruly bargain seeking crowd but also one determined pepper spray packing shopper. It is alleged that a woman whom police say was trying to get a leg up over shoppers vying for the same Black Friday deals as her sprayed pepper spray at the crowd of people surrounding her, a crowd which also included children. A Black Friday shopper whom alleges she was standing behind the woman in question for 2 hours prior to the store opening says that she heard the woman say “I got pepper spray.”  Twenty people were treated for minor injuries related to this incident that police have called an example of “Competitive shopping.”

Is this pepper spray infused incident simply a case of “Competitive shopping” rum amuck, or is there something deeper going on here? Were the deeply discounted Black Friday items enough of a catalyst to get this woman out of her home, pepper spray in tow? In part, yes, the hope of getting her hands on a discounted item or two steered this woman in the direction of the store, but I submit that the euphoria of victory and the chance to stand out are what drove the decision to pepper spray fellow shoppers. Before, and after, Black Friday sales, reporters clamor to interview Black Friday shoppers about their shopping experience and conquest. Like Vikings whom have returned from a triumphant night of pillaging, successful Black Friday shoppers seem all too eager to display the fruits of their victory. Gleefully, these shoppers parade their Black Friday acquisitions in front of the camera. The 65% off flat screen TV, this years coveted toy or electronic gadget, clothes, shoes, kitchen appliances, for the victorious Black Friday shopper no conquest is too big or small to tauntingly parade in front of the TV camera. But it is not only in front of the TV camera where the Black Friday shopper shines, it is anywhere the Black Friday shopper can share their heroic tale of shopping victory. There is no denying that some of the deals many Black Friday shoppers snag are impressive, quite impressive, which adds to the almost folklore nature of the Black Friday shopper. And while many of us would never dream of staying out practically all night nearly risking life and limb to get such impressive deals, for others the Black Friday shopper is a hero of sorts, an individual who stands apart from the pack, accomplishing something that only a targeted group of individuals can boast to have achieved. Perhaps the desire to be part of this folkloric group is what pushed this woman beyond simply standing in line for her chance to grab one of the coveted Black Friday goodies to spraying a group of individuals with a temporarily blinding chemical compound.

For the hardcore deal tracker, nothing quite beats the satisfaction of obtaining the crème de la crème in shopping deals that is Black Friday. In these hard- pressed economic times, a day like Black Friday is especially significant for those trying to save their pennies. And while I personally cannot see myself camping outside any retail store overnight in hopes of obtaining 75% off of this or that, I am not going to bash the individuals who choose to participate in Black Friday. The task of digging out the motivation for purchasing material goods, whether on Black Friday or any other day is an individual exercise that only that specific person can answer for themselves. Pronouncing that someone is a soul-less, materialistic person simply because they decide to camp out for Black Friday sales is, in my opinion, not only presumptuous but arrogant. In writing about the pepper spraying incident at Walmart, I am only guessing at what could have potentially led this person to take such drastic action. It is society’s skewed  and destructive thirst for material goods, coupled with the need for attention at any cost that I take issue with, not individuals whom for whatever reason other than the aforementioned reasons decide to participate in Black Friday. Hopefully, what is gleaned from this incident is not another opportunity to bash or deify Black Friday shoppers, but rather an opportunity to examine our own individual drives and motives. At least for now, it appears that what drives and motivates many Black Friday shoppers are discounts, not pepper spray.

Grateful for….

I have been wracking my brain trying to decide whether or not I should write a blog post about how grateful I am for stuff like caffeine and the ability to breathe without the aid of tubes, or if I should just lay it all out there and be honest in stating that I don’t necessarily feel all that grateful for where I am today. Let me preface what may appear to be a rant by an ungrateful and blind to the blessings around them blog post by saying that I am grateful that I have a roof over my head, food in the refrigerator, the mental capacity to form and make decisions, along with enough energy and health to be able to run on the treadmill at the gym. I am cognizant of the fact that there are million of Americans who do not have jobs, who are homeless, don’t know where their next meal is coming from, are mentally ill and have poor health and zero energy. I try not to take for granted, although I am sure that I do on occasions, that I have these things in my life. But if life were just simply about having a job that pays (or barely pays) the bills, refrigerators stocked with food, an I.Q. of sorts, and a gym membership, none of us would ever feel compelled to achieve anything beyond these amenities. Certainly, the green-eyed monster of envy wouldn’t exists in our lives, nor would we feel a sense of failure, regret, frustration, sadness and/or despair at being at a place in our lives where perhaps professionally and personally we feel completely unsatisfied and stuck. It is hard to go on and on about how grateful one is for the life that they are leading when virtually everything in their life has fallen apart or is getting there quick.

Not one to look the other way, I have no qualms admitting that the bulk of what leads to this ungrateful place is flawed decision-making. Every action or inaction serves a purpose and delivers a consequence.  A steady stream of actions and inaction, coupled with flawed decision-making is sure to create an undesirable environment that at times feels as if is choking the life out of our bodies. For this, one has only themselves to examine, curbing the impulse to blame external factors and people. Refusing to participate in the blame game is not a denial of the destructive forces that play a role in shaping our environments (i.e. racisim, sexism, etc.), it is a declaration that one will not be swallowed up by these forces or lean on them like a crutch. Of course, this is a much more palatable goal to achieve in the U.S. then say Iran or China. I can’t even begin to comprehend what it must be like to live in such a subversive environment where everything you are given access to is heavily censored, especially the Internet. Residing in the U.S., I have the freedom to be able to surf the Internet at will and to write freely in a blog, which is a BIG thing I do not hesitate being grateful for in my life. With that back- drop in view, I need to utilize the freedom that is available to me to craft a more grateful professional and personal space. The reality is that my childhood was not ideal, my family is dysfunctional, both of my parents have recently died in horrific ways that have most definitely scarred me, professionally I am not in a healthy and fulfilling space, and there is no prospect for romance in my immediate or near future (although I don’t think I’d like to delve into a relationship right now). Hmm, quite a mouthful to share at the Thanksgiving table, right.

Presently, my life is an all around mess, a big part due thanks to me. Sure, the dysfunctional family and parents dying horrific deaths are things that were not due to any sort of decision I made. Some may say that these events are due to karma, or God, bad luck, bad genes, or a whole host of other things. Whatever the catalyst, it is what it is. I can either chose to be enveloped by the messiness that is my life right now, or I can fight like hell to carve out some semblance of a happy and satisfying professional and personal life. I chose the latter. I haven’t worked out all of the kinks involved in this battle, but that I am going to fight, I am going to fight, I have to. I don’t know if any of my battle strategies will be successful, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified, but enough is enough. Life is simply too short and I am not getting any younger. Quite frankly, it is now or never and I prefer now. I am choosing to use my current lackluster sense of gratitude to push me forward, along the way hopefully not blinding myself to the reality of all that which I have to be grateful for in my life.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to share some of the things I am grateful for, acknowledging that I indeed have much to celebrate and be grateful for in my life.

1. Having been born and raised in one of the most beautiful and inspiring cities in the world, New York City! I am grateful to call this beautiful city my home.

2. I am grateful for the means, space, and requisite health and energy to be able to physically workout.

3. I am grateful for friends who are willing to hear me laugh and rant, sometimes in the same breath.

4. I am grateful to anyone who has ever said that they enjoy my writing, this means so much to me!

5. I am grateful to everyone who reads this blog.

6. I am grateful to be an American.

7. I am grateful to have a source of income.

8. I am grateful to have a roof over my head.

9. I am grateful for the kindness of friends, acquaintances, and strangers.

10. I am grateful for my eyesight and the ability to hear and walk.

What are you grateful for in your life? It is easy to place the forest before the trees and believe that what presently plagues you should overshadow all that which you should give thanks for in your life (guilty as charged). Take a minute today to examine all that which you have to be grateful for in your life. Chances are, you may discover that you have more to be thankful for than you knew.

I hope everyone has a magnificent Thanksgiving day that is filled with lots of gratitude, love, laughter, and turkey if you are so inclined 🙂

Trying to find a niche in a haystack

 
 
In the blogosphere, there are a few commandments that all bloggers are admonished to follow, key among these commandments is to structure ones blog around a niche. For the blogger, the niche serves as a guide along what should be a clearly laid out and identifiable path through which the blogger writes and his or her audience reads. Consequently, a primary function of the niche is to structure the bloggers thoughts and ideas around a targeted topic in a way that will appeal to the audience enveloped in that niche. Ostensibly, the niche should be something the blogger can competently and enthusiastically write about. Fundamentally, the niche is the “what” the blog is all about as well as the “why” people should read the content on the blog.
 
For every niche, there is a blog. Fashion, gossip, tech, food, sports, politics, knitting, headbands, whatever the niche, there is mostly likely a blog dedicated to it. Then, there is my blog, the blog with no niche. The fact that my blog lacks any sort of discernible niche is not breaking news. Unlike the blogs that wax poetic about fashion or gadgets, my blog is essentially an outpouring of whatever is bouncing around inside my head. While at times entertaining, my random musings about life are not exactly a niche in the making. Are there any niche- worthy strands to be discovered in any of my random musings and/or life? Although I am tempted to answer in the negative, the truth is we all have a niche inside of us, that thing or two that sets us apart from some, while unites us with others. Typically, unearthing our niche requires that we engage in some internal heavy- lifting that may push some of us beyond our comfort zone, a place where resistance stands at the ready to stop us dead in our tracks. Resistance has definitely reared its ugly head along my niche discovery path thus far and with each appearance I’ve given it the power to drive me further away from the task of not only assigning a niche for my blog, but also accepting that there is a niche inside of me.
 
So, what is this blogger with no niche and a hefty volume of resistance supposed to do? The first step is to acknowledge and accept that somewhere inside of me lies a niche. This is a tough first step for me because I honestly cannot fathom what type of insight I possess that is not only suitable to be called a niche but that is also plausible enough for me to center my blog around. Fervently hoping that my random chatter will materialize into something resembling a niche is not cutting it in terms of blog development or piece of mind. The good news is once I push past resistance and hone in on a niche to explore in this blog I believe I will be better able to structure, organize, and build up a sturdy foundation from which this blog can grow. For me, growth isn’t tied to the number of views my blog generates, but rather growth in terms of developing the strength to push past resistance while strengthening my writing muscles. I want to be able to stand square in the path of resistance, stare it down, and empty it of all of the fuel I’ve fed it. If an added bonus of this exercise is an increase in readers and interaction on this blog, then wonderful, bring it on 🙂

Can you hear me now?

While I’m sure that Facebook has methodically catalogued my every move since since signing up for their service, I have no recollection of when or why I joined Facebook. I vaguely recall toggling between Myspace (back when I had a Myspace account) and Facebook for a bit, but I am at a loss in terms of pinpointing exactly when Facebook came up on top in terms of my personal usage. I’ve posted everything from pictures, videos, news stories and quotes on my Facebook page. And yes, back when I was a Facebook novice, I used to send people requests to feed my virtual Facebook fish and water my long since dead Facebook garden. Facebook has enabled me to find friends I haven’t spoken to in years, along with develop friendships with people whom I share interests with. Even though the pace of my Facebook interaction has slowed down considerably, I still manage to post an occasional quote and “like” a friend’s picture and/or profile status.

One thing that has never changed on my Facebook page is my relationship status. From whatever date I first signed onto to Facebook and now, my relationship status has always been single. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to change from “single” to “in a relationship” on Facebook. Would the change in my relationship status garner some “likes,” comments and/or Facebook inbox messages, or would it just be another blip on the Facebook news feed? How serious of a relationship would it have to be for me to change my relationship status to “single” to “in a relationship” on Facebook? Is the change in relationship status something to be discussed with my significant other prior to clicking on save? Is sharing a change in relationship status something that I would feel comfortable sharing with the majority of my Facebook community, not to mention all of the 3rd party apps that have access to my profile? While I pour over the potential ramifications of going from “single” to “in a relationship” on Facebook, others seemingly have no issue going from “in a relationship” to “single” on Facebook with an added bonus of breaking up with their boyfriend or girlfriend on Facebook. In a CNET article written by Chris Matyszczyk, http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-57323837-71/one-third-have-broken-up-by-facebook-text-or-e-mail-survey/, Matyszczyk reports on a study conducted by market researchers at Lab 42 which found that 33% of the people surveyed have broken up with someone via text, e-mail, or Facebook. 52% of people who have changed their status to “in a relationship” to “single” record that status change immediately, while only 38% of those surveyed changed their status to “in a relationship” when, as Matyszczyk writes, they have found someone “fresh, new, and willing.” Additionally, among the 45% of the people surveyed who identify themselves as being in happy relationships say that they primarily communicate via Facebook message.

Depending upon the circumstance, breaking up with someone is generally a gut- wrenching exercise most would rather avoid, not advertise. Fear of hurting your significant others feelings, mixed in with the sad reality that your relationship is over, is what typically makes breaking up with someone undesirable. I couldn’t imagine logging onto my Facebook account, writing a pithy “It’s over” on my boyfriend’s wall, then moving onto the business of sifting through friends pictures and profile status updates, all the while periodically getting updates on how many people have liked, commented and/or shared my wall post. I suppose someone could argue that if the relationship that is being ended was not a particularly serious one, then leaving such a wall post is fine to which I would strongly disagree. Courtesy, civility, and respect are not contingent on the length of time two people have been dating, nor are they contingent upon the perceived nature of the relationship.

In an era where the number of Facebook friends and status updates one shares is esteemed above all else, courtesy, civility and respect seem to have gone the way of dial- up. The willingness and ability to communicate face to face with one another is being lost in a sea of texts, e-mails, tweets, and Facebook messages. Truthfully, in many regards, it is more comfortable and efficient to deal with an electronic method of communication rather than a face to face interaction. Personally, I often find text messaging to be a more efficient and fluid means of communication. But no matter how tempting it may be to limit the bulk of my conversations to text messaging, I know that to do so would lead to the loss of that part of my soul that is able to empathize with others. I don’t want to sacrifice the ability and privilege to love, laugh, cry, and hurt with friends, family, and future boyfriends to a text message, and I certainly never want to find myself in a place where I would ever even consider breaking up with someone via Facebook.

Can you hear me now?

While I’m sure that Facebook has methodically catalogued my every move since since signing up for their service, I have no recollection of when or why I joined Facebook. I vaguely recall toggling between Myspace (back when I had a Myspace account) and Facebook for a bit, but I am at a loss in terms of pinpointing exactly when Facebook came up on top in terms of my personal usage. I’ve posted everything from pictures, videos, news stories and quotes on my Facebook page. And yes, back when I was a Facebook novice, I used to send people requests to feed my virtual Facebook fish and water my long since dead Facebook garden. Facebook has enabled me to find friends I haven’t spoken to in years, along with develop friendships with people whom I share interests with. Even though the pace of my Facebook interaction has slowed down considerably, I still manage to post an occasional quote and “like” a friend’s picture and/or profile status.

One thing that has never changed on my Facebook page is my relationship status. From whatever date I first signed onto to Facebook and now, my relationship status has always been single. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to change from “single” to “in a relationship” on Facebook. Would the change in my relationship status garner some “likes,” comments and/or Facebook inbox messages, or would it just be another blip on the Facebook news feed? How serious of a relationship would it have to be for me to change my relationship status to “single” to “in a relationship” on Facebook? Is the change in relationship status something to be discussed with my significant other prior to clicking on save? Is sharing a change in relationship status something that I would feel comfortable sharing with the majority of my Facebook community, not to mention all of the 3rd party apps that have access to my profile? While I pour over the potential ramifications of going from “single” to “in a relationship” on Facebook, others seemingly have no issue going from “in a relationship” to “single” on Facebook with an added bonus of breaking up with their boyfriend or girlfriend on Facebook. In a CNET article written by Chris Matyszczyk, http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-57323837-71/one-third-have-broken-up-by-facebook-text-or-e-mail-survey/, Matyszczyk reports on a study conducted by market researchers at Lab 42 which found that 33% of the people surveyed have broken up with someone via text, e-mail, or Facebook. 52% of people who have changed their status to “in a relationship” to “single” record that status change immediately, while only 38% of those surveyed changed their status to “in a relationship” when, as Matyszczyk writes, they have found someone “fresh, new, and willing.” Additionally, among the 45% of the people surveyed who identify themselves as being in happy relationships say that they primarily communicate via Facebook message.

Depending upon the circumstance, breaking up with someone is generally a gut- wrenching exercise most would rather avoid, not advertise. Fear of hurting your significant others feelings, mixed in with the sad reality that your relationship is over, is what typically makes breaking up with someone undesirable. I couldn’t imagine logging onto my Facebook account, writing a pithy “It’s over” on my boyfriend’s wall, then moving onto the business of sifting through friends pictures and profile status updates, all the while periodically getting updates on how many people have liked, commented and/or shared my wall post. I suppose someone could argue that if the relationship that is being ended was not a particularly serious one, then leaving such a wall post is fine to which I would strongly disagree. Courtesy, civility, and respect are not contingent on the length of time two people have been dating, nor are they contingent upon the perceived nature of the relationship.

In an era where the number of Facebook friends and status updates one shares is esteemed above all else, courtesy, civility and respect seem to have gone the way of dial- up. The willingness and ability to communicate face to face with one another is being lost in a sea of texts, e-mails, tweets, and Facebook messages. Truthfully, in many regards, it is more comfortable and efficient to deal with an electronic method of communication rather than a face to face interaction. Personally, I often find text messaging to be a more efficient and fluid means of communication. But no matter how tempting it may be to limit the bulk of my conversations to text messaging, I know that to do so would lead to the loss of that part of my soul that is able to empathize with others. I don’t want to sacrifice the ability and privilege to love, laugh, cry, and hurt with friends, family, and future boyfriends to a text message, and I certainly never want to find myself in a place where I would ever even consider breaking up with someone via Facebook.

Reconnecting

What is your vice? Be honest, we all have a vice. Not all vices are illegal, threaten to shorten our life span’s, or increase our probability of serving jail time. My vice is caffeine, it is the one thing that I cannot go a day without consuming. As soon as I get out of bed in the morning, my quest for a hot cup of caffeine begins. My preferred method of ingesting caffeine is in the form of espresso, but in a pinch I will drink regular coffee to ease my caffeine craving. From the little about caffeine that I have shared this far, it may appear that I have only a dysfunctional relationship with caffeine, but there is more to my relationship with caffeine than merely an “itch” that needs to be scratched. Caffeine is sometimes the catalyst that motivates me to shoot off an e-mail, text, or tweet to someone I haven’t seen in ages, marrying my love for caffeine with my desire to reconnect with a friend. Without fail, the meet- up for coffee generally elicits a positive response, second only to the meet up for drinks.
Sitting next to or across from a friend who is enjoying caffeine along with me is akin to the times as a kid when I’d meet with a friend or two to enjoy an ice cream cone in the summer. Although I have drastically reduced my intake of the milky and sugary sweetness that is ice cream, as an adult, the anticipation of meeting up for a rich and robust cup of espresso parallels the thrill the ice cream meet- up once held in my life. Yet, the most exciting aspect of these meet- up’s were not the ice cream or the espresso but rather the chance to slow down and connect with beloved friends. Recently, I had the opportunity to reconnect with someone over caffeine. Connecting over caffeine is something this person and I did all the time when we worked together. One of the things that I knew I would miss desperately when she left work to start law school was our mid- afternoon caffeine jaunts. The aroma of coffee beans brewing and milk steaming was the back- drop to many a laugh, a gripe, and sometimes a tear. Whatever our particular mood was when we met- up for caffeine, by the end of our meeting, our spirits were lifted by the conversation and our batteries re-charged by the caffeine.

Assuming your vice isn’t something that would net you a prison term or a trip to the emergency room, I’d encourage you to find ways to incorporate your vice into your life in a way that includes time spent with friends and/or family. Personally, I can say that some of the best times I have spent with friends has been over caffeine, with caffeine ultimately taking a backseat to the love, laughter, tears, and joy shared with friends.