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Friends

Move forward

After a long weekend of celebrating, all I want is my journal and a cup of coffee.

It was so much fun spending time with friends, both old and new, but I'm finally ready to settle back in and move forward.

Move forward with my work by getting started on a new client project while also updating my portfolio of case studies.

Move forward with my writing by finishing and launch my guide to getting started on Medium while also wrapping up the first draft of my book.

Move forward with my health by creating a realistic workout schedule while also changing my diet.

Move forward with my relationships by setting up more one-on-one time with friends over coffee.

The only way to move forward is to make conscious decisions.

Otherwise, you're probably moving backward.


My first hangover in my thirties

Hangovers in your thirties are no joke.

After celebrating my birthday last night, I feel pretty useless.

I can tell today is one of those days where I will be confined to a couch for the foreseeable future.

Usually, I would be pretty hard on myself, but today, I'm giving myself one free pass. After all, this is no longer the rule - it's the exception.

I've always been the type of person to go out, stay up late, and not really think ahead.

However, in my wise old age of 30, I'm learning how to look a little further ahead and turn my ambitions into tangible steps. Hangovers are becoming rarer and instead of headaches and moaning, my mornings are filled with coffee and writing.

For now, I'll embrace my cushy couch confinement and start my long road to recovery.


Change your environment

I hate work-life balance.

In my ideal world, my work informs my life and vice versa.

In fact, I desperately seek work that fulfills me each day and I love the feeling that comes with getting lost in something you care about.

The thing is, I don't get the chance to talk about these things with most of my friends. The conversations are usually limited to food, sports, music, and other group interests.

Don't get me wrong - I love sharing experiences with others and, at my age, many of these experiences happen in bars and other hangouts.

Yesterday, I met up with one of my best friends over lunch and our conversation drifted into this territory.

My friend has known me since seventh grade, which means he has seen all of the ups and downs that I've encountered while stumbling down my unconventional path. He knows how much pressure I put on myself and he is usually able to keep me in check when my ambition gets the best of me.

I mentioned how I wish our friends could share more of their work lives with each other and, as always, he dropped a little nugget of truth:

"If you want those types of conversations, maybe you should consider creating those types of environments."

I'm stubborn, but I couldn't deny how right he was.

The conversation I want doesn't usually happen at bars or while playing beer pong - it happens in a more intimate setting like coffee shops or at home.

Our environments really do impact our lives and the time we spent with others.

If you're looking for a change, try changing your environment first.


When worlds collide

There is no better feeling than when old friends meet new friends.

I love it when these worlds collide, the feeling you experience when the world shrinks just a little bit.

In fact, I wish it happened more often.

Unfortunately, work and other responsibilities get in the way.

Despite this inconvenience, I want to make more of an effort to facilitate these types of experiences, both for myself and others.

I wonder what type of format would work best. Dinner? Drinks? Some sort of shared activity or interest? These all work, but there are already plenty of options like these out there.

Personally, I would like to connect people using shared ideas and/or creative projects. This would give others the chance to flex their creative muscles a little more while meeting others at the same time.

As someone who values shared experiences, I always look for ways to include others as much as possible, even if I don't know a group of people.

After all, strangers are just friends you haven't made yet.


Quality time

I value quality time with others.

It's only Saturday, and I've already had quality time with several close friends.

From kitchen conversations to walks in the park, I've had the chance to check in with people I care about.

I realize I don't do this often enough. Unfortunately, it's far-too-easy to get stuck in our own little worlds and forget that our friends and family members have problems, too.

Whether you agree or not, there is a certain expectation you put in place when you call someone a "friend." It doesn't mean you're available 24/7 to talk whenever they need it, but it does mean that you care about their hopes, dreams, fears, goals, and ambitions.

These are things we all have but don't often get the chance to share.

Instead of waiting for your turn to talk, try giving someone you care about the chance to voice what matters to them.

Sometimes listening is the easiest way to turn regular time into quality time.


Wedding weekend

I had an amazing weekend filled with love, laughter, and late nights.

I was lucky enough to see two friends get married and, as always, the wedding was made even better thanks to reuniting with friends from college.

The weekend reminded me how important it is to share experiences with people you care about (as well as drinking plenty of water before you go to bed).

We all have big milestones and it can be easy to forget that our friends, families, and loved ones make them even more special.

If we don't slow down enough to invite them, we can miss out on incredible moments.

That's why it's important to stop and celebrate, no matter how crazy things get.


The small things

I'm in Kansas City for a wedding and I can't help but notice the small things.

Sure, this city is filled with great food, colorful art, and more hipsters than you can imagine, but there is so much more than meets the eye.

Whether it's the perfect lines of the street murals or the finishing touches to every dish, you can tell this city cares about the details.

Somehow, it embraces the different cultures of each neighborhood while also rallying behind a united front.

From the grassroots efforts of the people to the institutional traditions, this city knows how to connect the dots in a way that St. Louis doesn't.

We could learn a thing or two from our neighbors to the west.

But not beer or baseball - We've already got that covered.