In every coming-of-age story behind a man, there are moments – often in the beginning of the journey – where times are much more difficult and trying than they appear to be later on in that mans journey of life. for the first time in awhile, it appears that a portion of these tribulations have passed and i’ve been able to move on towards other trying elements of life. In thinking about it, I’d much rather have horrific financial difficulty than the stresses that have come with faith explorations as I’ve tried to find answers and reason to this thing called ‘life’.

Recently, I went out with a group of friends who I’ve known for quite some time. When we arrived at the bar, the first thing one of them did was buy a round of shots for the group. I couldn’t help but laugh because it was only a short while ago where we sat across the table at Cup O’ Joe and shared the meager number in our bank accounts – on the days where it happened to be a positive balance. “We’re on the other side of the fence, man.” “Yeah buddy!”  and the shots went down.

Looking back, I can’t help but marvel at the number of things that have happened over the course of the past few years and endless cups of “large flavored” at Cup O’ Joe. As I prepare to journey back to Columbus, Ohio for a few weeks, I look forward to the moment were I can sit on the couch, in front of the fireplace, and reflect on the many hours spent. I saw many dreams go up in the proverbial fireplace smoke (Proverbial, because it’s a gas fireplace) but also many hard times and painful memories. It was a place of healing and development for me, helping to forge me into the man I now am.

I shared many great moments with my friend, Michael Cappetta. Both of us on our MacBooks/iPads, talking about the stresses and joys of being self-employed, full-time students who were stupid enough to chase our visions and dreams of a better life. We’d talk about our joys, painful moments, and path of becoming a man. We’d laugh over brutal client stories, sharing the most colorful client stories we’d recently encountered.

Lots of happy moments were spent with my friend, Neethi Johnson. As we navigated our way through undergraduate school, she was (and is) a rock of encouragement that constantly pushed me to better myself and step up to the call of excellence. Neethi’s the primary reason/motivator for my return to finish my undergraduate degree, after taking just over 3 years off of school to pursue a few projects.

I met one of my best friends at Cup O’ Joe, Stephanie Rodgers. While the circumstances of our first meeting are, in my opinion, hilarious, the resulting friendship is one that I have come to appreciate very much. Stephanie is one of the people who enjoyed Cup O’ Joe as much as I do. Along with her passion for Ayn Rand, cheeky startup ideas, and a rolling commentary on the journey of life (which often felt like an eternal roll of back luck for her) Steph was one of the people who pushed me to be a little less uptight/conservative, and a little more human.

As the coffee gets cold, life warms up. I’ve learned to appreciate the times and places of life that have been instrumental in molding us into the people that we become over the years. When you learn to find meaning and significance in even the little things, life becomes much more colorful and animated; the space between the lines is no longer empty, but provides depth and detail to even the smallest moments.

When I go back to Columbus, there are a lot of times/places that Id’ be much more comfortable forgetting. However, as I stand and look back on the moments, times, and people that have been pivotal points of definition in my life, I’m reminded of just how beautiful the picture of life is turning out to be.

As the moments stop becoming individual chapters or points, They begin to blur into one picture that is something I’ve not always been proud of, but a picture that I’m realizing is hardly complete or finished; an eternal work in progress where every day, moment, and person adds another dab of color, texture, and meaning to the canvas.

Life, even in its moments of crisis, remains a beautiful, complex journey that I appreciate more with every passing day.

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