Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Coffee Identity Crisis

I never drank coffee. Except then I did. And then a lot of it. 

It took me until my mid-twenties before I understood its wondrous magic. It doesn't just speed along the bowels to clean out the digestive tract in the morning (which is hugely advantageous), it doesn't just wake you up in the morning, start your day, get the ol' mind engine running. It doesn't just improve mood, cognitive functioning, energy levels. For me, it's the greatest comfort in the world. If I have my coffee -- and I don't just mean any coffee, but my cup of coffee-- I feel like everything is alright with life, even for those few sacred moments while I savor its rich, bold, and complex flavors.

But I lost my cup of coffee. I've been drinking imposters that fail to even remotely soothe me, let alone calm the chaos surrounding me.

This blog-- read guide to coping with my disastrous current life setting-- does not just focus on unemployment. I want to explore the impacts of moving and establishing a new life has on the psyche.  This is no secret: I’m grieving the loss of my old life. Nothing is the same, and everything is different. During my last round of unemployment, after I graduated from Business School, I took great solace in small things offering me stability and comfort as I tried navigating my footing in life post graduate. The diner across the street from my Dorchester apartment had this truly wonderful banana hazelnut coffee. I purchased that same cup of banana hazelnut coffee every single day, in the same foam cup, prepared the exact same way. The diner was normally pretty busy, full of loud and passionate Bostonians, occasionally the mayor, and my neighbors I enjoyed seeing on the daily. I think about that diner, really that cup of coffee, all the time. Its nutty and sweet aroma, the rough texture of foam around my hands, the warmth, and of course its signature taste. 

If I had to label what “home” means to me- it would be that cup of coffee.

Of course you miss the "bigger" things that made any city, or setting, home for you. The people, the skyline, the daily routines, the buildings, your abode. But unexpectedly,  you gravely miss small, seemingly insignificant things that you never thought could mean so much. The sound of the train going by at night while lying in bed. The smell of salt in the air wafting in through an open window. The signature creak from opening the front door of the house. Similar to a fingerprint, no two creaks are the same. You grieve the loss of each one of these. You’ll find new things, more insignificant things, that add inexplicable joy to your life.  But first you grieve, and say goodbye. It’s part of the process, even if it makes little sense to anyone else.

So to you, McKenna's Banana Hazelnut Coffee, I say farewell. I look forward to our next reunion, but for now I have people to meet, a life to build, and many cups of coffee to taste.

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