I love coffee. Really really really love. I love the taste (cream and a little sugar), the warmth, the camaraderie with others when sharing a cup, and the ritual around the whole thing. I love pushing that little power button on the Keurig each morning, knowing that in five minutes I can have a perfectly brewed cup of coffee sitting on my desk while I answer morning emails. Sometimes it takes me two hours to drink it – I get easily distracted – but I love knowing it’s THERE.
I have given coffee up twice. The first was for lent, and I just wanted to see how my body would respond. To be honest, I didn’t notice much difference, so I went back to drinking it on the 41st day thankyouverymuch. The second time was when I was pregnant. During those 40 weeks, when I gave up not only coffee but WINE, I came to the shocking realization that, if I ever had to give up only one of these things in my life, I would chose wine and keep the coffee. That tells you how much I love coffee.
Each time I gave up coffee, I tried desperately to find something to replace it. I tried every tea on the market – even the ones that say they taste just like coffee and DON’T – and just couldn’t get on board. I want to like tea – I really do – but I just kind of don’t. I guess every time I have drank tea in the past I would wonder why I wasn’t drinking coffee instead, so it ends up in second place every time.
When I gave birth 18 months ago, I immediately went back to one cup of coffee every morning. I would occasionally make a coffee in the afternoon, but not every day. I saved the afternoon coffees as “treats” when my daughter would wake up from her nap and we’d take a family trip to the coffee shop. Or the days she skipped napping all together and I would directly insert the coffee into my veins. For some reason, over the past six months, the afternoon coffee has become a daily ritual. Around 4:00, while I’m finishing up my work for the day and before my daughter wakes up from her nap, I make a coffee. We have a Starbucks next door, so sometimes my husband will walk and grab us one and we can share it together and talk about the day. Sometimes it helps my afternoon lull and gives me energy for the night ahead. Either way, it wasn’t a “treat” so much as an expected part of the day.
One day last week I went downstairs to make my afternoon cup. I turned the Keurig on and paused. I didn’t really know if I actually wanted a cup of coffee or if I just wanted to make something. I wanted some ritual to break up the afternoon, but coffee actually didn’t sound good. WHAT?! Ok, let’s rethink. I think I had actually bought some black tea at Whole Foods a few months ago for this very occasion, making sure I chose the one with the highest caffeine content. Instead of making coffee, I simply brewed hot water and put in the tea bag. Then I waited. Then I took a sip. Huh, not bad. Not good necessarily, but not bad. It was hot, it was buzzy and it served the purpose of keeping me company at my desk while finishing my work. Interesting… So I tried it the next day. This was a MUCH bigger test because my daughter woke up early from her nap and was ready for afternoon adventures. I made my tea and we hit the road. I didn’t miss having coffee. Did you hear that? I didn’t miss having coffee?!
I did this three days in a row, and each day was the same. I actually didn’t miss my afternoon coffee. If I had, I would have made it. But I didn’t. That is what this post is about. It’s not about coffee vs tea and what’s healthier or what you should drink. It’s about WHY you are drinking or eating or doing or saying or thinking or whatever-ing. I broke a habit that was simply a habit, and I’m actually really really proud of myself! I have another option for the afternoon that makes me just as happy – almost as happy – as coffee. Now, when we get on a flight with our toddler tomorrow afternoon, I will absolutely have a coffee at the airport and I will LOVE IT. But I’m choosing to do it and it will be like a treat! Well, the coffee part, not the traveling with a toddler part.
Your habits are your habits and your choices are your choices, but don’t ever think the things around you control you. You control what you do or don’t do. Don’t get stuck in rules of “you should” or “you shouldn’t”. Just ask yourself “WHY am I doing this?” If there is a clear answer, a clear purpose and intention, you are probably good. If the answer is “I don’t know” or “Because I’ve always done it”, then maybe you should re-evaluate. Just play around with your choices, and see if maybe you surprise yourself! Cheers to you all!