This week I was inspired to share a personal story with you guys - my relationship with coffee. It was really interesting to write this one, because it's given me a lot of perspective on where I was and where I am now. I'm so grateful to be sharing this with you :-)
We met when I was 15 years old. Every morning I would wake up and pour myself a huge mug of coffee - usually with heaps of Hershey's Chocolate Syrup and milk. It was like a heavenly adult-hot-chocolate on a cold (or not) and rainy (or not) Rochester morning.
I was HOOKED. I subsisted on my mug through lunch time, and then would swap my hot caffeine for a Pepsi, (or later Diet Pepsi) until school ended, and then I would have ANOTHER COFFEE (or two or three).
I specifically remember one class in college that was scheduled at 8am. First off, let's take a moment to agree that for anyone it's hard to be creative at 8am (#theatermajor) when you're 19 years old - whether or not you're taking care of yourself. Luckily, my professor of that particular class seemed to agree and automatically pushed the start time to 8:30am.
Man, that 8:30am was usually when I was pouring my mug of coffee while running to my Ford Taurus and driving to school, often covered in coffee up to my elbow thanks to leaky mugs. I would show up to class, inevitably 10-20 minutes late, as my friends so lovingly put it: "In my sunglasses, hating the world, and daring someone to call me out on it." They all "knew not to talk to me until I'd had my coffee."
I WAS A GRUMP! A DOWNRIGHT ASSHOLE GRUMP! At least until I got my first fix of the day.
Fast forward a few years and I move to New York City on August 1st. I have never - EVER - experienced heat and humidity like a New York City summer. That's when I finally picked up a mug of water and my body was like "OMG WHAT IS THIS GREAT STUFF??? MORE MORE MORE!!!!"
I had been somehow subsisting in a constant state of dehydration - but not feeling thirst. My body had gotten so used to conserving the liquid in it, that it didn't even know what it was missing until it had it again.
Now I was in a state of juggling between caffeine and water during the day and then heading to my bartending gig at night, where I'd continue on the coffee train until about 2am. Then I'd swap out for alcohol so my overexcited system could finally get a little rest - even if it was just a complete collapse.
About 2 1/2 years ago, I switched to a mostly day job. I still had a few late nights but I started spending most of my day at a computer. I would get up, grab my coffee - now with almond milk - and typitty type away. I got it down to one cup, and man, WAS I PROUD OR WHAT? After a decade of doing the caffeine dance, I was finally getting somewhere.
Then, I had a moment earlier this year. I realized I was buying coffees on my way to work at $3.50 a pop, and not drinking more than a few sips. I was back in school getting my coaching certification and experimenting a lot with what I was eating and drinking....and the fact was I just simply didn't like the taste of coffee anymore the way I used to, and I noticed it. I asked myself "then why are you buying it, Kelsey?"
The answer was: habit. I was someone who identified myself as a coffee drinker. I was someone who identified "normal" as getting a coffee on the way to work. It wasn't the drink anymore, but it was the routine around drinking it. So, I could swap whatever I wanted into it's place, and basically nothing changed.
It was a really cool moment - to realize that I had the power to identify myself as whatever and whoever I want and that my habits could adjust to fit that. But on the flip side, to realize that our subconscious mind has that much control over us. Sometimes there are ways we think of ourselves and things that we do, that are not because we WANT to do them anymore, but rather because we are used to doing them.
"Coffee Drinker" was the identity that I used to excuse and perpetuate my exhausted, stressed out, overworked and under-slept self. It was the thing that allowed me to accept the circumstances of being in that state.
I don't miss it.
Yeah, we still see each other every few months - when there's a really good single origin blend at my local gourmet coffee shop and I'm in the mood, but I still keep it short and simple. A few sips, black.
Are you a coffee drinker? Check out these - Shakti-Shots - add it to your coffee to support your body against the extreme effects (stomach irritation, dehyrdration) of coffee!
Are you living with a habit you're ready to toss out? I want to hear from you - leave a comment below!