A Long Story Short

Long Story Short
Rich Razgaitis and Jon Lewis with a little Coffee

There are many great things that I loved about undergrad and grad school; I loved the education and friendships, the challenges and opportunities, the personal development and the learnings, and particularly graduation with an exciting departure to go to Kolkata for a month followed by a new job at Johnson and Johnson.

Yet I also loved the beginnings.

Every semester represented, to some degree, a “do over.” Another way to start again. New classes, often new professors, a mix of new peers, new books, new assignments. A new beginning. If you aced the last semester (academically, relationally, or otherwise) then you had another challenge of doing it again–and better. And if you screwed it up, you got another shot at getting it right.

When I talk with people about their lives, one of the things that I realize is that so many people crave a new beginning. A lot of people can’t see beyond today, ultimately it happens to everybody. But some get more stuck there than others. In fact, so much so, that sadly some people get so engulfed in feelings of  hopelessness and despair, of a finite set of moments that feels infinite, of possibilities that seem impossible, obstacles that are insurmountable, and of accomplishments that seem unattainable, that tragedy strikes in such big ways it’s difficult to fully understand.

And for others, it can simply lead to a paralysis or a life left not fully lived. And a constant longing for a new beginning. For that reason alone, I love stories of “reckless abandon”, where you hear an example of someone that pursued their life’s dream, their purpose, and their heart. Even when they felt few choices existed before them.

A friend of mine from undergrad was a roommate of mine for two years and one of my best friends for many years beyond those days. Without question, he was one of the smartest guys in our University. And he was academically and intellectually DESTINED to be a doctor. No question, everybody knew it. And if I recall, he was considering Neurology specifically. Aced the MCAT’s, had the perfect grades, everybody loved him, perfect bedside manner. Was going to be an absolutely brilliant doctor. Make us all proud.

Yet, at an intersection of his life he took a drastically different turn, which must have required some significant courage. And he pursued his passion. Broke free, and found his calling.


He has made a life of coffee, and because it’s a passion of his he’s found his calling. Perhaps his academic and intellectual destiny didn’t intersect with that of his heart, or perhaps he was simply destined to use his intellect in ways never known in the world of coffee. Fortunately for him, despite going through years of biology and chemistry, he still found the way to make a courageous decision and to follow his heart.

So, tonight, here’s to following your heart, to opportunities that exist before you that you might not fully see, in industries you might not fully expect, and to my friend who has given the gift of his example to me and many others.

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2 Replies to “A Long Story Short”

  1. I am always intrigued by people who follow their passion. With the emphasis on material success in our culture, this can be hard to do when one path clearly leads to success and the other is uncertain. Kudos to your friend who is not only smart but courageous and independent–an example for us all. And for me in particular 🙂

  2. Jon is a recent friend of mine and fellow coffee professional.
    Amen to all that was said!
    Jon, is certainly a great example to all in the coffee circle.

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