Mmmmmm, coffee…

Adventure in life is good; consistency in coffee even better.
― Justina Chen, North of Beautiful

I am not a morning person by nature. and few things are capable of exciting me out of bed in the morning. An anticipated adventure is one, and the scent of fresh coffee is another. Most days anymore I am the one who makes my coffee, so I have learned to will myself out of bed with the smell of coffee fresh in my memory. So on mornings when I know I need to get up early but I can’t have my cup of coffee to slowly stir me awake, getting out of bed is torture. Such is the nature of my life these days.

Healthcare is a 24/7 world, and since last fall I have worked a 12-hour shift most Monday nights. As a “as needed” employee, I pick up whatever shifts I can, and Monday night is the one that is most consistently open. I had never regularly worked a night shift before, although I know many folks who do by choice. The times I’ve worked nights in the past I’ve always struggled to stay awake the whole shift. When I realized I would be working this shift on a regular basis I knew I had to come up with some rituals to help me adjust my sleep cycle from night to day. One thing I knew was that I would need to take a nap in the afternoon before work. But I’m not a napper, never have been, so I had to reinvent myself as a napper. The first thing to go: my morning coffee. Ugh. My reason for getting out of bed eliminated just when I needed it most.

A ritual is defined as “an act or series of acts done in a particular situation and in the same way each time.” Rituals connect us to ourselves in both the past and the future. When the world is constantly changing around us, rituals allow us to have a thread of predictability in our lives. For me, this ritual of morning coffee has become more important than ever. It isn’t just about the jolt of caffeine my brain requests to wake it up, it is a reminder that no matter where I am I have something I can hold onto as mine.

My solution is decaf. I tried tea, which I normally like in the afternoon, but first thing in the morning it just failed to satisfy my desire for that rich aroma of beans roasted in the Italian style wafting up my nose. Decaf. Well, it succeeds in getting me out of bed even if it fails to excite my senses. It becomes my placeholder for that cup of real coffee I will get to enjoy when I wake up from my nap at 5pm. All I can say is thank God for decaf as it still helps keep me grounded at this time in my life with so little is certain.

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