My work schedule has been incredibly prohibitive for having any sort of social life. As a result, most of my free time is spent preparing to go to work, winding down from a long day of work, and going to the gym late at night because it’s really the only thing I can do for self-care since most things are closed by the time I get off from work. It has been incredibly depressing, especially for an overwhelmingly depressing year so far.
One of the last times that I actually got to go out for a day was a day spent with my wife, and we stopped by a good friend’s coffee shop. At the time, he’d had a lot of irons in the fire. He was getting a lot of press as he was named one of Portland’s Rising Stars in the food industry, a well-deserved accomplishment. He was also on the precipice of opening a second shop location. Even in this brief visit, he was juggling a lot of his daily tasks. In the hour we spent at the shop, I swear that he’d been in-and-out every 15-or-so minutes taking care of business needs. During one of his brief departures, he’d told me about a particular phenomenon that happens during the coffee bean roasting process: the turn.
Sometimes it’s called “the turning point”, but “the turn” sounds neater.
In a nutshell, the turn is what happens when you’ve got your room temperature beans in the roaster. Ultimately, you want the temperature to climb upward—but there’s a point when those beans are absorbing the cool steel in the roaster, and the temperature actually drops. Shit might seem a little dire and you’re not getting the roast that you want. Maybe your beans are getting ruined, but there’s a specific point when the temperature takes a turn and you get to see the roast finally come to fruition. From what I understood, it was one of the most exciting parts of the roasting process.
I probably got some of that wrong, but it’s what I took away from the brief exchange.
For my friend, he was going through a personal turning point. His coffee shop and roaster was finally getting the recognition it deserved, but there was a delicate balance to be maintained between daily operations and taking the time to enjoy the accomplishments of his business.
For me, going through a year of radical change, immense stress, and some form of depression, I can’t help but feel like I’m finding some space to recognize my own turn. It has been increasingly difficult to maintain a form of optimism, but like any good batch of coffee beans, it doesn’t become enriched unless we get to a decent turning point.
Like I said, I don’t get to spend a lot of time, if any time, with my friends. I feel like I can only watch my social life at a distance these days. But it’s these little things like the turn that I keep with me—I keep a lot of good things from the ones I love with me to get through the day.
My wife and I live together, love together, and struggle together. We share common dreams of re-establishing a home-life back home in California.
I’ve got a sommelier friend in New York who has long been my beacon to stay creative and never stop fighting for a life that I feel worth living.
I’ve got a bachelor friend in San Diego who reminds me to stay young and try to find fun in my own life.
I’ve got a big brother friend in California who reminds me of the value of loyalty and unconditional friendship.
Despite losing a handful of friendships out here in Portland, my friends in the radio industry, the artists and poets, the creative partners, all inspire me to keep pushing my creative limits.
I’ve felt lonely quite a bit, but I’m never alone. It’s been harder to be with my friends, but I guess my friends are always with me somehow. I’m willing to bet that they’re all watching for the turn.