July Coffee Date
Hey there. It’s been a while since we’ve chatted. How are you?
One of my favorite things ever is getting a coffee date with a friend.
Yesterday afternoon, I actually met up with a friend for the first time since COVID started and it was perfect. We went to a cute coffee shop that was the epitome of Portland: it was a quaint little shop, literally built into and hidden within a residential neighborhood and had a variety of housemade syrups, local treats, and ample outdoor seating. We sat outside, sipping on iced tea and soaking up the sun and clear blue skies. We sat there for two hours, catching up in the way that feels like no time has passed, even though we hadn’t seen each other in over a year. It made me realize how much I missed having chats like this, and it inspired me to bring a monthly one to you here.
Before we dive into catching up, let’s order a coffee or tea first.
This week, I chose to give up all caffeine, even decaf, so I’ve been making a soy chai latte using an herbal chai blend that I ordered from a couple whose videos I watch on YouTube. Admittedly, I was skeptical at first because, as we know, some influencers’ products aren’t the best. But this brand, Chaiwala, is honestly delicious and is one of my favorite rooibos chai mixes that I’ve had. Even though it ships from Canada, which means higher shipping costs, I would re-order in a heartbeat.
Once our drinks are served and we’re settled into our table, I’d ask how things are going before sharing what’s happening in my world. I’d jokingly say “same old, same old” before clarifying that, honestly, this month — scratch that, the last year and a half — has been one heck of a rollercoaster.
It would take me a few minutes to get up the courage to tell you about my new book. I know I mentioned it last time we talked, but it’s really starting to come to fruition and I’m starting to feel more nervous, hesitant, and anxious than excited about seeing it come to life. The final copy is with the printer now, so all we have to do is wait.
You might ask why I’m hesitant to talk about it and put it out there in the world, and the reason is that I don’t really know. I could use the easy way out and say that it’s because it’s such a personal story about some really taboo topics, but I don’t think that’s it. I also don’t think it’s because it’s in print and can’t be changed. Same thing with poetry — I’ve never called myself a poet, so I’m not sure if the poems are considered “good” or not by industry standards, but I honestly don’t care.
As we dive a little deeper, I start to realize that maybe it’s because I’m afraid to be judged. At least to me, there’s this stigma that people who experience depression are negative, or people who have dark thoughts are unstable, so I guess I’m worried that people will think that about me, when I feel like it’s not true.
I would start feeling a little overwhelmed and start telling you about this book writing class right now where you write a manuscript and then, if it gets green-lit to published, move into the publishing phase. We’d laugh because it’s so Lauren to have not just one book in the works, but two.
I would say something like “okay, that’s a lot… let’s talk about something else,” and completely switch gears to tell you about this new meditation app that I’m obsessed with.
Back in January, I accidentally started meditating every day. I was using the Peloton app, which I loved, but I realized part of me was meditating more to get the little blue dot that says you completed a class for the day than I was for the benefits of meditation. Inspired by a conversation with my mother-in-law who raved about a meditation app she uses every day, I chose to try the Ten Percent Happier app and use the Peloton app solely for workouts.
I’m just finishing the week-long free trial and would recommend it so far. I like it because, unlike Peloton, you can pick different lengths of the same meditation based on how much time you have. For example, they have a coffee meditation, and you can either pick whether you want to do a 3, 5, 10, or 15-minute version. My only wish is that they had more wind-down meditations rather than sleep meditations, but maybe I just haven’t found those yet.
I would ask if/how you’ve been taking care of yourself recently. Maybe you’d say something along the lines of, “Things at work have been really hectic so I haven’t been working out or taking as much time for myself as I normally do,” and I would tell you that I completely understand. I’d say, “that’s okay,” and “don’t worry about it,” and laugh when I realize I don’t give myself grace in the same way.
I’d tell you that I’ve been moving on a regular basis, but I’ve been struggling with the idea that workouts don’t have to be long or sweaty or intense to “count.” I’ve been really into short, low-impact classes on the bike and have to constantly remind myself that it’s not about the length of the class or the number of calories burned; it’s about the fact that I’m moving. I’d take a deep sigh, saying that sometimes just taking care of ourselves can feel daunting and overwhelming, but I guess that’s life.
I’d look at the clock and realize I have to run in a few minutes, so we would start to wrap up our conversation and say our goodbyes and promising to get together again next month. Before heading our separate ways, we’d share one last hug, commenting about how much we missed this, and say one last time that we can’t wait to see each other again soon.
With that, thank you for indulging me with this coffee date. Wherever you are, I hope you have a peaceful day ahead.