Neither Socrates, nor Plato, nor any of their peers past or present, ever had a more profound puzzle: is it too late for coffee or too early for wine?
At my old job, the line for morning coffee was as long as that single line at Wal-Mart (even though Wal-Mart knows it has another 24 lines it could open). When I go out for dinner, some fancy people I know get coffee with, or instead of, dessert. I wonder if they have trouble sleeping that night or if they have plans for afterward and I’m not included. If it’s the latter, I hope they suffer the former.
Then there’s wine. The type of wine I drink is predicated on the season. In summer, I like a crisp, minerally white wine or vino verde. Try a glass of vino verde and tell me you don’t drink it like water, too. As the seasons become colder, I migrate from light rosés to medium pinots to thick zinfandels. The type of wine to drink is never the question for me. It’s the time of day to drink the wine that is.
It’s in my DNA. My father has a martini at 3 p.m. every day. He’s not entirely sure when I was born, but no matter the day of week or time zone he’s in, he knows instinctively when it’s 3 p.m.
My sister and I have an ongoing competition to see who can best the other at finding the funniest drinking meme. She’s currently winning with “Exercise makes you look better naked. So does wine. Your choice.” I can’t credit anyone, but it’s neither hers nor mine.
Are you complacent?
These questions are a first-world problem, aren’t they? I mean, these are questions of luxury to some people. In our own country in different times, these were questions asked only of the upper class. Today, it seems, the only reason the middle class survives is because of coffee and wine. In New York City, you can’t swing an Asian palm civet without hitting an underemployed hipster carrying a Ball jar of cold steeped coffee.
As a member of the middle class, I’m happy for this improvement in our quality of life. I’m also concerned about our complacency. If we spend all day, every day tacking from coffee to wine to coffee again, when do we go forward?
I find when I “need” coffee to get me through the morning and wine to get me through, well, the rest of the day, I’m not centered. Let’s be real. Caffeine and alcohol are drugs. In moderation, they’re not bad. In fact, some research suggests both in moderation are good for us. When they become a need or when I drink them in excess, I can tell I’m not living according to my purpose.
Are you lying on a nail?
Les Brown used to tell the story of a man who passed on his way to work each morning an elderly couple on their porch. Their dog lay next to them each morning and groaned uncomfortably.
One day, the man finally said, “Pardon me ma’am, but I walk by your house every morning on my way to work and every morning your dog is lying on the porch groaning. Why is he groaning?” The woman said, “Cause, baby, he’s lying on a nail.” The man replied, “If he’s lying on a nail, why doesn’t he get up?” She said, “Because he’s uncomfortable enough to groan about it, but not uncomfortable enough to do anything about it.”
I wonder if, for bean and grape drinkers, coffee and wine make lying on our nails tolerable. This is a question we should ask at the peak of our craving. At that very moment when we might explode if we don’t get a cup or glass to our mouth soon enough, we should ask why we so strongly crave this liquid to lips contact. Only when we understand our craving can we know if we’re numbing ourselves from our nail.
Did we expect things to be different? Is ours the definition of success we imagined on graduation day? Are we physically here but mentally there? Have we settled?
Are your friends lying on nails?
John Hughes’ movies don’t tell the story of his characters in adulthood. His movies have happy endings, but we don’t know what happened when his characters joined the 9-to-5 grind. For all we know, Jeanie Bueller’s on Xanax, Duckie’s on Paxil, and John Bender’s on Lorazepam.
Jim Rohn said we’re the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time. If everyone in our life lives for the weekend, are we dead Monday through Friday? If all our friends are still in detention, we’re likely in detention too.
Find happiness between coffee and wine.
To start working on our dreams, we should surround ourselves with others working on their dreams. We should let these people raise our game and help them raise theirs – challenge them and they’ll challenge us.
We don’t have to leave our friends and family forever. It’s just that in order to live our best lives, we need to find people who are doing more and being more. We can then return to our friends and family and help them live their best lives.
This, also, isn’t to say that we can’t have coffee and wine. It’s just to say that there is happiness between coffee and wine if we look for it.