In a previous post, I mentioned how it’s hard for me to find enough time and energy to support a side hustle. In all honesty, it’s hard for me to find enough time and energy for a lot of things...
And, yes, this may be another post where I make some wacky comparison in order to illustrate my point. It’s how I roll, apparently.
But when I decided I needed a visual to help, I turned to a trusted friend who I knew could help. Thank you, coffee. You’re always there when I need you most. I’m sure our readers are also grateful to you for keeping them from being compared to fictional narwhals and wonky toys, too.
So let’s think of our days as coffee. Each day, I’ve got about a pot of coffee to work with. I do what I can to prepare myself for each day-- I gather my supplies and get ready to brew. In this case, my beans (in this case a new favorite from my friend Jessica), grinder, good water, the coffee maker and the act of brewing a pot are like the sleep, hydration and nutrition I need to get through a day. It requires a little time and effort, but without them, there’s no coffee.
Let’s say I start my day with a full pot of coffee. The everyday routine always takes a cup. This would include things like hefting my whole self out of bed in the morning, getting dressed/showered/fluoridated… You know-- the usual morning routine plus the mental preparation and finding motivation to get my day moving.
Work? That’s going to take a giant travel mug. Why? Because it’s 40 hours of my week every week. I deal with customers, coworkers, computer systems that may or may not operate the way I expect them to, the unexpected whatnot that lands on my desk in any given day… Again-- the usual. As an introvert in a job with a lot of customer service, it takes as much energy out of me as it does time… I don’t walk away at the end of a workday going, “That was a GREAT day-- I feel ENERGIZED!!!” In fact, most of us don’t (but if you do, tell me what you do for a living OR what kind of pharmaceuticals make that possible-- pretty please?)
So you’ll notice by now, my coffee supply is dwindling fast… And I’m not even home from work yet. At this point in my day, I’ve got things like picking up Nolan from his after-school program, running any necessary errands on the way home, cooking dinner and getting through the evening routine to still subtract from my coffee supply.
And I haven’t even mentioned the conditions I deal with daily… I live with depression, diabetes, asthma, allergies and sleep apnea. All of these have an impact on my day. While they’re all very well controlled at this point in my life, the daily maintenance (which has so far helped keep them under control) along with the physical exhaustion they can bring all use up some of my coffee every day. If anything with these conditions should change to have a bigger effect on my health on any given day, that’s going to require a lot more coffee.
So now we’re down to things like bathtime and the bedtime routine. I’ll spend some time with Nolan (when he lets me) get him clean, make sure he’s had his medication and a snack (otherwise he wakes up way too early because he’s hangry-- and that’s going to require more coffee tomorrow in both a literal and figurative sense here), get teeth brushed, make sure his bed isn’t torn apart (spoiler alert: it always is) and get him tucked in for the night.
By now, there’s hardly any coffee left. Sometimes it’s just enough to watch a little Bob’s Burgers to unwind from the day so that I can sleep without reliving the day in the un-quieted brain now perched atop my pillow. Other times, I have paperwork or small household projects that need to be done.
But other times, I like to indulge in a hobby. This is sort of like adding cream or sugar to my coffee… It doesn’t necessarily give me more actual coffee, but it definitely makes it feel more like a treat. Things like crafting, reading clickbait articles, shopping for things online that I’ll never actually buy, reading memoirs from folks like David Sedaris or the amazing Jenny Lawson, listening to podcasts, or whatever I happen to be stuck on right then… It might use up the very last bits of coffee I can spare, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
By now I’m sure you’re noticing my coffee pot is quite empty.
“But Cindy, can’t you just make another pot or even just a cup?”
Here’s where it gets tricky… Making extra coffee today is going to affect my supply of beans further down the road. I might be able to make a few extra cups a day for a week or two, but eventually I’m going to run out of beans. At that point, I’ll be lucky if I have enough coffee to accomplish the bare minimum of what I need to do on any given day…
It’s sort of like those times where you go go go go go go go (etc.) and don’t give yourself enough downtime-- you end up sick with what feels like a cold that should have been tiny but completely knocks you on your ass for days instead? Yeah-- that’s like running out of coffee. Can I afford to run out of coffee? Not usually… Kirk and Nolan count on me to help run this circus we’ve created. Let’s face it, the last thing we need is for the tent to collapse. (Seriously, I may have a real problem with these comparisons… I’m not denying it.)
And obviously, Kirk’s pot of coffee is going to look different than mine… For example, he’s usually in charge of Nolan’s morning routine whereas I take the bedtime routine. Part of the Nolan-wrangling responsibilities come out of my pot, some come out of Kirk’s pot, and still others get tag-teamed and come out of both pots. Also: my pot of coffee is black (like my soul) whereas Kirk’s pot of coffee is actually iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts… But that’s more about our actual coffee preferences and less about the figurative coffee in this explanation.
Also? I've made a freaking mess here... If that's not indicative of a typical day at our house, I don't know what is.
So can I cram more into my days? Maybe… but not in a sustainable way. If I’m not mindful of how I’m using my coffee-- again, my time and energy-- my bean supply is going to dwindle faster than I can stock my cupboard.
I think my favorite part of this whole comparison is the irony here… Because I genuinely rely on at least some coffee every day to give me the energy to at least get my day moving… It’s sort of like my actual morning coffee kick-starts the figurative morning coffee in this scenario. I’m pretty sure once my actual coffee kicks in, that’s going to blow my mind.