#15 – What does it mean that i love this coffee?

Front Range Coffee – located in Kansas City (or one of it’s “boroughs” or whatever, it’s all the same).

That’s the setting, a corner coffee store in what looks to be an up-and-coming area of boujee-ness.

The signs inside are carved wood with painted letters, like what you see in a national park. The seating is comfy. Med students and middle-aged account execs populate the joint. I prefer the med students – much quieter. I’ve never understood how putting in an airpod magically gives someone license to speak at greater-than-full-volume.

I was testing out a theory, one that seems to have some actual backing. Working remote is a struggle because staying focused is difficult. Staying focus in an office is easy b/c you actually only work about 45 minutes per day. There’s useless weekly zoom meetings to attend which could be emails, useless weekly in-person meetings which could also be emails, and the time spent digesting all this info which could be an email but in all actually probably was just a waste of time. Throw in a few customer calls, a dozen “drop-ins” from co-workers, lunch, coffee breaks, the sanctuary of peace and quiet in the bathroom, and you’ve got a full day. Send three emails, make four calls, fill out this form, etc. Get paid.

Working for yourself is different in that all those little things get skipped because you’re trying to hit some high-impact activity, the thing that advances you forward quickly. I struggle to find those asymmetries of effort, mainly because I’m doing something absolutely entirely unknown – learning software engineering. Slowly. About as slowly as I can, it seems. Often, it feels as though I’m going backward!

So I try different things to seek environments of productivity. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I think that says more about my mindset and ability to focus than anything else, but for now its fun to change scenery.

I found myself in a quandary. Stuck between a part of identity and reality, in a place they disagree.

Here’s the problem: I bought a coffee.

A coffee that cost seven dollars and forty-one cents, topped with cold foam lovingly poured by a human with a haircut that could go either way, a nose ring, and a trucker hat. In a joint where all the dudes have totally non-ironic mustaches and wear shorts that wouldn’t even be knee-length on ole three-eighths Gaedel displaying boldly tan & athletic legs. I watched mold-poured JoCo trophy wife, replete with knee-high boots, fashionably ripped jeans, a platinum blonde bombshell shimmering of diamonds, decorated with silicone, silk, and admittedly well-done botox – I watched her make her Tik-Tok/Reel.

It was a well-planned choreography of slow reveals and intriguing angles. I hope it was as well-received as it was well-done.

That’s not the type of place I typically find myself – my taste in coffee in less than mature. I lived in one of the most famous coffee regions in Colombia and still bought instant for the simple reason that it’s less to clean up. But that’s because I look at coffee as caffeine, and caffeine as a tool. I do enjoy the delivery mechanism – the slow sips of dark brown, the nostalgic scent, even the visual of the steam. But it appears I have no standards for the actual experience, and that’s interesting to me.

I have a friend who has taught me more about enjoying experiences than probably all other people combined. Sometimes we travel together, and it’s always a treat for me, because we do it at his pace, in his environment, and it’s just so wonderful to me. When I travel, I typically look for “what’s the cheapest thing that fills my minimum set of needs?”. When we travel, I’m exposed to his choices, which are more along the lines of “what’s the most awesome thing from among the set of choices?”.

People optimize based on different equations, and allowing yourself to be exposed to the way another person maximizes their happiness is a wonderful way to be exposed to something that will either expand your own definition of fulfillment or reaffirm the existing choices.

You can watch someone love their life, and it can alter your approach on what it means for you to love your own.

And it’s a question of “more” – how can I take something about the way you love your life and apply it to my own in a way that will add to my current experience?

For instance, I didn’t know what it meant to “love” traveling until I traveled with my friend.

For me, road trips are marathons, characterized by epic struggles against my own physiology and, often, best interest. Twenty-hour straight solo rides with only enough stops to get get fuel were my standard. I just wanted to get there.

But with this guy – holy shit, it’s easy. We drive a reasonable number of miles, making regular stops to take it easy, eating nice meals in nice places, staying in nice hotels.

My typical road trip begins once I’m completely packed. I drive to the grocery store and get enough for about five meals plus snacks, place it in a cooler on the passenger side, and i’m off.

I don’t stop to eat, and I’ll play a game of chicken against my bladder and bowels until the low-fuel light comes on.

It’s made me wonder.

In my instance, the destination is so exciting that the journey is blasted through. In other words, I can’t wait to get where I’m going and run the trip at max capacity.

Alternatively – everything is relaxed. There is no competition, either against others or myself. If there is any competition, it’s contained to being “smooth”. Easy in, easy out. No fuss.

Taking that approach and tying it to my own has been a great addition. I’m not quite so hard on myself about the end result, but certainly more focused on the moment. Enjoying the moment.

What moments of your every day could you better enjoy?

It’s a fun question to ask – how could I make the things I do more enjoyable? Mostly, for me, it comes down to planning, organizing, and cleaning. It’s amazing how a clean desk inspires work, how a packed gym bag gets me more excited to lift, how laying out a rehearsal schedule makes band practice go more smoothly. I fail more often than not, but not as much as I used to! Take the time to think about what can make your life smoother. It’s just better!


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