week one: restart

summer 2018

As of right now, I have not had a cup of coffee in four days.

For a large number of people, this wouldn’t mean much. “Congrats, you’ve not had a cup of bitter dark brown liquid known for being caffeinated. Yay, you.” But I’ve been more or less addicted to coffee since the summer before my junior year when my grandmother gave me my first iced mocha (thanks Grandma!). Within a space of about two-and-a-half months, I went from drinking only the frilliest of coffee drinks to downing, without flinching, black coffee. The affair has continued without any real break ever since.

The advent of university life expanded my love of coffee. Especially in my little Northwestern university, coffee is a point of intersection for people. I can’t tell you how many little coffee dates or coffee-related interactions I’ve had with other people. It’s beautiful, really. My tiny little college town has four sit-down coffee shops, with another two or three kiosks–and that’s just within walking distance from campus.

Needless to say, I spend an obscene amount of money on coffee. If I was a small country, it would be my main import.

So, leaving home for the second year in a row to spend my summer working on my grandparents’ cattle ranch struck me as a good time to break, or at least temper, a few of my less pleasant habits/addictions. As a transitional period, the move and subsequent three-and-a-half months of labor would be a time for me to “get my act together”. It was already a time of change–why not make some other changes?

I have a few goals for myself. I’ve given up coffee for the summer, so tea is more my friend than ever (I write this with a cup of mint tea sitting to the right of my laptop). There have been some headaches because a cup of green tea in the morning doesn’t seem to pack the punch of a cup (or two) of coffee does. The mid-afternoon lull, usually combatted by a noon cup of coffee, is annoyingly present. And I miss the taste of coffee.

I’ve also challenged myself to give up sweets, excepting special occasions, such as the wedding I will attend or my birthday in a few weeks. Finals week sees the campus flooded with encouraging treats such as candy and doughnuts, which, while delicious, are not exactly healthy choices.

I also dumped almost all forms of social media–that is, Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr, my go-to pacifiers. Breaking the habit of opening my phone and checking Instagram has been surprisingly difficult. I had it in a folder of social media apps, and I reflexively open the folder often–before realizing that it isn’t there. (I did keep Snapchat because I like to keep in touch with my friends and, yes, I do care about my SnapStreaks. Sue me.)

The last real challenge for me is twofold. I want to write in my journal every night and I want to post to this blog once a week–each Saturday night, perhaps?–about my life and the struggles–and humor–of my existence. It’s really not bragging to say that I make more dumb mistakes on a regular basis than any other person I know. There’s plenty to mention and laugh about.

So as I attempt to make some positive changes in my life over the next few weeks, kind of restarting my habits as I adjust to a new schedule for my life, I hope these blogs make you laugh and nod and possibly bang your head against the table. (It’s a very valid response, and one I’ve nearly resorted to very often during the past few days. I really wonder if my brain is properly plugged into the rest of me. My actions don’t necessarily suggest it.) I also hope that I actually post regularly…

Please nag me if I slack. Yours, lacking caffeine.

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