Who is in Your Tribe? The Health Benefits of Drinking Black Coffee

Posted on

Keith arrives at Concord Teacakes and finds his usual large black coffee sitting on the table. He takes a sip and says, “This is cold, get me a new one David.” David laughs and says, “That isn’t yours, it is Brian’s, he is in the bathroom.” The joke backfires on him, “I’m only kidding David says, that is what happens when you arrive late.” All three friends drink their coffee black and it often happens that they get their coffee cups mixed up.

Keith takes the train to work everyday. The parking lot is across the street from the coffee shop. A little over 25 years ago, when him and his wife moved to the area, he would wake up every morning, get ready, grab a cup of coffee and rush to the train station. He always felt pressed for time, and at least once a week, he would miss his train. When he missed it, he walked across the street to get another cup of coffee. He often noticed two friends finishing their coffee and getting ready to leave. These two friends observed Keith come in quite a few times and they picked up on what was happening. They joked, “You missed the train again, didn’t you?” Keith smiled and replied, “Yup!”

Keith was getting pressure from work because he was arriving late repeatedly. He hated the rush, but thought he would just get used to it. He set his alarm for 6:00AM and when it went off he immediately started his routine. He was competing against himself – would I make the train or not? There was always that risk and his anxiety would build as the time got closer. Keith knew that if he took his time, there was no way he would make the train – he had to be rushing. One small unexpected interruption and an extra dose of adrenaline would pump into his veins and his anxiety would immediately rise.

This routine went on for years, it was habitual, but it was starting to wear him down. “I just can’t keep doing this every morning,” he thought, “this is getting ridiculous.” He spoke to his wife about it and they discussed the possibility of him getting a job closer to home so he didn’t need to take the train. Unfortunately, at this point in their lives, and their financial responsibilities, this was not an option.
Keith knew he only had one choice and that was go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. He enjoyed staying up late reading, watching TV or just hanging out, however, his lifestyle would need to change if he was going to keep his job and his sanity.
The first morning was difficult, he now was waking up at 5:00AM. He felt like he had so much time on his hands that he didn’t know what to do with it. He didn’t need to rush, so he took his time getting ready, but he felt a void. He thought, “If I am not rushing off to work, I feel lazy;” there was a guilty feeling to all of this time he had on his hands. His perception was that if he was not rushing, he was not working hard. As irrational a thought it is, he conditioned himself for so many years to compartmentalize his life. Taking his time wasn’t something he practiced.
One morning Keith ran out of coffee. He had 45 minutes before he had to leave, and he decided to go to the coffee shop early and pick up a cup. When he arrived, the two friends, Brian and David, where sitting together having their coffee. “Hey, what are you doing here so early?,” they said to him. Keith did not know them too well, so he just smiled and said, “Do you believe it, I am not going to miss the train today!” Keith started to come early more often to get a cup of coffee and casually talk with Brian and David for a few minutes. If Keith didn’t come early, Brian and David would say, “What happened, you waking up late again these days?” Keith got the feeling that they liked him, but he didn’t want to impose, but they always engaged him in conversation. He learned that David and Brian met two years ago over coffee and they take the train to work too. They decided long ago that waking up earlier and meeting for a cup of coffee was a better start to the day than constantly rushing and making the train at the last minute.
Keith can’t wait to get to the coffee shop every morning to sit, chat and just relax with his friends. This has significantly improved his life in so many ways. He doesn’t rush anymore and he has eliminated this anxiety. He gets to work on time every day, and most importantly, he has gained two meaningful relationships.
Twenty five years later, Keith, Brian and David have become the closest of friends. They all go out to dinner together with their wives; all three families vacation together at the cape; they have supported each other through difficult times and all of them still drink black coffee.
Find a way to change a routine that is causing anxiety in your life and you never know what good fortune it will bring.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s