“Should I quit drinking coffee?” and other questions I’ve stopped asking myself

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First of all, I know I have a problem. I have all the signs of a caffeine dependent individual. (Note the difference between dependency and addiction, as defined by WebMD.) I’ve got a coffee cup in my hands at all times, a tendency to spend hundreds of dining dollars on (needless to say, mediocre) campus coffee alone, and constant confusion about whether I have the flu or if I’m simply in caffeine withdrawal. Just that classic overworked, sleep-deprived, mentally-complex college student! 

Last spring, I promised someone I’d stop drinking coffee. For three painful months I slowly weaned myself off of my usual 64 oz/day and began drinking green tea and Vitamin Water instead. It was horrible. Quitting caffeine made me even more tired than I ever had been — because I was getting the same low-quality sleep and I was still working what felt like 24/7. Like I said in a previous post about my gym habits, I’m literally an 80-year-old man and I need a lot of sleep to function. So by the end of spring term, I was unhappy to say the least.

And then, that summer I lived in Italy — and I finally discovered real coffee. Which sounds like something a pretentious Ivy League student that studied abroad once would say (because it is). I stopped abstaining from caffeine and joined the living again. I drank espresso at cafes and spoke extremely poor Italian to baristas and ate my weight in croissants and had the best summer of my life. (I am not being dramatic when I say that — my bar for “best summer ever” was set pretty low, and anyway, I was living in a country where Trump wasn’t president so things were molto buono in Italia.)

living my best life

I informed my coffee-critiquer that I was drinking caffeine again; I was told that I was a quitter, and that I have no self-control, and that quitting something so stupid shouldn’t be so difficult.

Hindsight is always 20/20, friends — I regret letting anyone criticize my personal choice of being caffeine-dependent. The acceptance of one person is NEVER worth your own happiness.

And now, 6 months later, I have created this handy Pros and Cons list.

Reasons to drink coffee:

  • I love it
  • it makes me happy
  • I feel alive when I drink it
  • addressing the rumors that it stunts your growth: I’ve been 5’2″ since I was in eighth grade, so I have nothing left to lose
  • it reminds me of drinking espresso in Italy aka my PEAK
  • I don’t know if it’s a placebo effect but I feel more motivated to get work done
  • I genuinely like the taste (after 6 years of drinking black coffee my tastebuds have assimilated, with the exception of the completely mediocre campus coffee)
  • there’s a drink for every occasion and I legitimately enjoy trying new kinds of coffee
  • I literally work at a coffee shop now, so economically it makes sense
  • its effects are medically ambiguous
  • withdrawal isn’t a problem if you never stop drinking

Reasons not to drink coffee:

  • the fiery judgment of society

If caffeine dependency was life-threatening, like meth addiction, I’d probably give this issue deeper consideration. But drinking coffee isn’t the end of the world and I’m not a problem that needs to be fixed. I may not be perfect, but at least I’m passionate about one thing — drinking really good coffee.

TL;DR: don’t let other people tell you what to do and make your own questionable life choices. 

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