Day 360

At midnight on December 31, 2011, I am drinking a large mug of coffee, specifically Starbucks Via that Alex so thoughtfully got me as one of my Hanukkah presents.  Five more days!

cappuccino and cream-filled croissant from happier times; Milan, 2010

Now, according to Wikipedia, this year I have been barring myself from a substance that may:

- reduce risk of Alzheimer's Disease and dementia
- reduce risk of gallstone disease
- reduce risk of Parkinson's Disease
- improve cognitive performance
- act as a painkiller (against migranes/headaches)
- reduce risk of diabetes
- protect the liver from cirrhosis
- reduce oral cancers
- reduce mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases
- have antioxidant properties

(...but then, right under all these, Wikipedia also lists the detrimental effects of coffee.  Hmm.)

spanakopita and filtered coffee from the foot of the Acropolis; Athens, 2010
Looking back at my (so far) 360 days sans-coffee, I have reached several conclusions.

First, I am really proud of myself.  I've never been able to exert self control like this before.  It's been a struggle.  I'm usually terrible at keeping new year's resolutions, but HEY, WORLD!  I DID IT THIS TIME!!

Second, I really take things for granted.  Since my semester in London, I've been keeping track of all my spendings (I would make a good accountant too, right Alex?) and one of my reasons to quit coffee was to stop losing $2-$5 out of my pocket for a daily coffee habit.  I used to think I had loads of money in the world to spend on whatever I wanted, but having to earn my money and account for every single penny helps me appreciate everything a little more, I think.

Third, coffee is a very pervasive part of our culture.   It's been awkward having to tell people why I can't grab a cup of coffee with them or why I'm drinking copious amounts of tea or why I am likely to fall asleep during an early class or day at work.  Imagine a college undergraduate going without coffee for not one, but two semesters!  Finals week!  A senior thesis (the first half of it, this semester, at least)!  A full time job over the summer!  All coffee-less.

In this last week of 2011, it's about time to make my resolutions for 2012.  I'd better choose carefully!