My wife and I returned recently from a 5-day trip to Maui sans-offspring. It was a glorious surf-filled vacation but I realized we made an epic mistake. Forgetting that we aren’t exactly 22-years-old anymore, I booked a red-eye back and we had scheduled ourselves to be at work the very next day. The lack of sleep plus jetlag was an enormous struggle but it brought some amazing things to light.
Our bodies are fine-tuned to habit. Our circadian rhythms are so completely in control. Our good habits (eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep) are at constant odds with our bad ones (sloth, gluttony) but we aren’t necessarily prone to just the bad ones. After my week off from running and resistance training my body started screaming for it. I craved salads instead of poke bowls. Just taking a break from normal routines was a good jolt in to figuring out what I was in control of and what might be controlling me.
This past lenten season I took part in a social media fast. This meant removing Facebook and Twitter from my phone’s home screen. And once this fast was over I realized I didn’t have much desire to go back to either of these things. A break from Facebook was a break from narcissism and hero worship and a break from Twitter meant renewed mental health as it meant not being bombarded with social injustice and Donald Trump. And while I’ve idley checked them from time to time I’ve only grown more disillusioned by them to the point of almost forgetting they exist. Our Hawaii trip only cemented these feelings and I feel like I can claim the habit has been kicked.
I hate cold brew coffee. I realized this a few years ago when Peet’s Coffee started serving cold brew instead of just iced coffee. I definitely went through the five stages of grief. Denial: I ordered cold brew for the next few weeks hoping that this was just an experiment and they might bring iced coffee back. I asked the store manager one day if they might start serving regular iced coffee again. The answer was not a good one. Anger: I was outraged. ! !!! Bargaining: I stopped going to Peet’s for a while and started pouring espresso shots over ice. I wrote their corporate office pleading them to stop serving this trash. Depression: Then I just got sad. Did no one understand what was going on here? Should I just stick to tea? I should just stick to tea. Maybe just sparkling water. Acceptance: When I started my new job I was presented with cold brew from a tap next to the barista. It was faster than ordering a drink when everyone else was waiting and it wasn’t QUITE as bad as the Peet’s stuff. And so it became a habit. And I poured myself a glass of cold brew every single morning until…
I returned from vacation. I took my first sip on what has been our longest vacation in a year and a half and it occured to me once again that I don’t actually like cold brew coffee. The stuff at work isn’t any good. I only drank two sips of the cold brew we got at Starbucks on vacation because I didn’t like it. I picked up one from the corner cafe after dropping off the kids to preschool. I. Didn’t. Like. It. Cold brew coffee is a scourge to society. It has no character. It tastes flat. There’s no bitterness. It packs zero punch. It. Must. Die.
Habit is simply what our simple animalistic nature craves to make brain processing and the every day go by easier. We all need a jolt now and then to figure out what defines a healthy habit. Change is good and here’s my commitment to exploring it. Screw you cold brew.