Please welcome today’s guest writer, Bethany Cooper (’18). Bethany graduated with her Bachelor’s in religion and lives in her hometown, Evanston, IL. In the past year, she has served lots of food to lots of bougie people but is moving on to work with youth. She enjoys spending her time with “messy” people, running by the lake and eating peanut butter (“Smuckers All Natural,” an important distinction). 

After little consideration, I decided to give up coffee for the month of October. BUT, let’s be clear, I didn’t exactly volunteer myself for this. My friend/new nemesis Randy claimed that I was/am addicted. Whether this is or is not true, I didn’t care enough for this assertion to ignite me with the desire to quit coffee.

I drink two to three cups of coffee a day. So what? Other than peanut butter, I think coffee and I are soulmates. Coffee has what I want in a partner. Coffee smells good, makes me feel like myself, and is rich. The relationship is mutual; I can give coffee true, unadulterated love.

This is because “Single and loving it!” is the badge I wear around town nowadays as a personal revolt to Calvin’s dating culture. Coffee and I have gotten really close from it. We’re always meeting up for one-on-one dates at the local cafe. It gets pretty steamy.

So….why give up coffee? WHY? Truly, my highly irritable, caffeine free self is wondering right now too, even though I know the answer.

It was all in the name of a free Trader Joe’s shopping spree. Seems worth it, right? Regardless, I’m assuming your answer is “yes” because I need some way to justify the past thirty days of agony.

Randy was all, “I bet you can’t give up coffee for a while.”

I’m usually stupid enough to be oppositional, just because I hate the thought of being incapable that much.

So, I retorted, “Okay, I’ll do it for a week.”

At least I was smart enough to wager low. Because Randy was fucking relentless, replying with an ask for me to do two months. In all fairness, if I was being stupid, Randy was being asinine. We eventually landed on a month, long enough for me to “come off the addiction” in Randy’s words.

Here are the parameters:

  1. No coffee for the month of October.
  2. I can drink four cups of caffeinated tea a week.
  3. I quit and Randy gets any three food dishes of his choice made by me.
  4. I make it through and Randy takes me on a Trader Joe’s shopping spree. Price limit TBD. I’m thinking $250 is reasonable?

If I were to summarize the experience in one word, I would say “death.” I may or may not be appealing to the power of exaggeration here, but the reality of my copious symptoms likely plays a role.

Symptoms include:

  1. I have to take a nap everyday. Why is life so cruel?!
  2. I’ve had back pain for the past two weeks. I’ve been wondering if I’m becoming geriatric early in life? Or am I secretly the female Benjamin Button in disguise?
  3. Sometimes, I feel like I’m living Inception. Was that a dream? Am I awake? Is this a dream in a dream?
  4. I’m perpetually wearing what I call pajamafits (link in bio). In other words, outfits that technically shouldn’t be outdoor clothes because they consist of lounge pants (sweatpants?) and a sweatshirt.
  5. The bags under my eyes have gone from grey to dark grey. I have successfully garnered the comments:
    “You look like shit today.”
    “Are you okay? You seem really tired.”

YES, I’M OKAY!!!!!

Okay. My apologies. Taking it down a notch.

If you’re looking for a redemptive ending, I don’t have one. Sorry Reformed suckers. Maybe this story will make you consider things that you rely on to get through the day, and maybe it won’t. Personally, I’m not convinced that allowing for some daily “unhealthy” habits is problematic. In fact, I’m more convinced that being highly restrictive makes life unnecessarily hard.

It’s about balance. Admittedly, that can feel pretty fucking impossible sometimes. Basically, if you’re trying to find ways to indulge but also limit when necessary, I respect you. I respect me for trying this. Maybe I’ll even slow down the coffee intake to one to two cups a day. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. We don’t want Randy thinking he’s right about something.

Moral of the story: I’m making it through this challenge so I can fill my cart with bougie coffee products on Randy’s dime.

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