When I look back at memories of my childhood, my family is almost always involved. I grew up in what I like to think is one of the greatest extended families of all time. My grandparents are the kind that going to their house is more exciting than the actual holiday you’re going there for itself. The grandparents whose hugs and kisses make you feel all of the good things and that believe in you and your dreams and ambitions from when you were five and told them that you were going to jump off the diving board for the first time, all the way up to now and discussing my future career plans while in college. My cousins are the actual coolest human beings I know, and each and every single one of them brings me joy for so many different reasons. My aunts and uncles are all so supportive of one another and I have never seen more giving and selfless people when it comes to family. I honestly like to think that they are my very own angels God sent me to kind of sort out my priorities in life and show me how it is supposed to be done and what I should value in my life.
My favorite memory of all this gang of my rockstar human bean relatives that still follows us around today, is the post-party coffee. From as young as I can remember, I always recall the adults of the family getting just as excited for my grandma brewing coffee around 2pm as the kids were about my grandpa being in charge of the whipped cream when it came to desserts. All the kids usually scattered off to play after all the major holiday celebrations had ceased, and the parents all gathered around the kitchen table drinking coffee and talking for hours. Sometimes it turned into card games, other times into watching videos or reading articles people have discovered and wanted to share, but amidst all of that fun is always the smell of coffee beans and the love you can almost grasp in your hands.
Being the oldest girl cousin and the second oldest cousin with an 8 year age gap between the oldest (hey Zach, yes you’ll always hold coolest oldest cousin status) and being the oldest child of my family, I was pretty quick to want to grow up and be a part of this environment. There was something about the way that it seemed like the dining room table could squeeze an endless amount of chairs around it and yours would always find a spot if you had a joke to share or ears to listen. Although I may have started out bringing my slice of cheesecake instead of coffee, I’ve grown into the habit of drinking it and absorbing all the good stuff (caffeine AND family vibes) with the rest of them.
I fell so in love with this concept of the vibes and good energy that I received from this experience that I wanted to somehow capture it and bring it with my everywhere I go. I’ve never actually told anyone that this is like my all time favorite experience, so if any of those super exclusive members of that dining table coffee club are reading this: I think you’re all so so so cool. big time. Anyways, so my mission to find this kind of good soul food love began, and so did my love affair with coffee itself.
I vividly remember the first time I drank coffee (Starb’s frappes don’t count as much as my 14 year old self would love to claim that they do!) I was a second semester freshman in high school and my pal Rachel (who you still hear a lot about around here, who lives two floors up from me, and who is my physical embodiment of a coffee bean and who you will continue to hear a lot about even in this post…so yeah, she’s pretty important people. coffee VIP if you will.) and I were trying out for our school’s dance team that morning. We had spent the entire night before practicing our routines and improv sections and I wanna say got to sleep a lot later than we should have, gossiping about who we thought would make it, all mixed in with the occasional “but it’s totally okay and totally fine if we get cut” nervous statements. (spoiler: we both made it and somehow survived a few years together) My mom made both of us a cup with our breakfast that morning and even though I am pretty positive it was doused with a hecka lot of creamer, it was still coffee. It was love at first sip. But really, driving to the tryouts with her that morning, nervous thoughts in our minds and java in our bellies, I kinda had my first glimpse at that feeling I had been wanting so badly to create for myself of contentment with coffee.
It is no surprise to any of you who have been reading with me for awhile, following any of my social media accounts, or honestly have met me for more than five minutes…that I LOVE coffee now today. I will never skip out on a coffee date at new shop, order it with my breakfast wherever I am, or simply make it for myself at home. I got a french press for Christmas from my grandma this year, and was over the actual moon to be in charge of making some of the coffee for the post holiday chat with all of the coolest people I know. Sure I love the taste of coffee, I love the kick it gives me in the morning, I honestly even am appreciative of the final step of digestion it prompts (how’s that for your visual imagery of the day), but what really does coffee mean to me? Or better yet, why the heck am I even writing this?????? An actual entire post dedicated to coffee….
Waking up in the morning, before the rest of the world minus a few literal feathery early-birds, when the sky is still that magical kind of purple that you would never want to be in a crayon box because it is way to special to use in any sort of circumstance minus this. Listening to coffee brew and it being the only sound you hear minus your internal thoughts and your actual heartbeat. That small period of time where you realize, wow, this is life. I’m living it. The first contact with your mug where your hands are instantly heated and it sends the warmth down your entire body and you’re reminded that you’ve got an entire lifetime ahead of you but all you want to do is live in this exact moment. But then you take your first sip and realize you’ve got places to be and things to do and people to see and guess what? The only person meant to do all the things that you have in store: you.
Coffee has led me through every emotion in my life and then some. I have made some of my biggest realizations over coffee in the mornings with myself and God, and have had some of the best conversations over coffee with people I love dearly. Rachel, who I mentioned earlier, is probably an even bigger coffee addict than I am, and the amount of quick coffee runs we make is probably excessive, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. The amount of giggles and serenades over silly songs we sing on the quick drive to our off campus Starbucks are never enough, the late night we for sure shouldn’t be drinking caffeine at this hour java break runs where you are so in love with yourself and life that you order homemade chocolate whipped cream on top are what I live for, and the quiet drives where she even sometimes knows to ask if I am okay because I am being a little quieter than usual as she pays for my latte because she could sense I needed to get out and coffee is our excuse have gotten me through some of the roughest days.
You need these people in your life, I need these people in my life! I am such an independent person that sometimes asking people for help or telling them the problems or even good things going on in my life is such a hard barrier to break, but there is something about coffee that ever since I was younger and watching my family love each other no matter what the topic of conversation over it, that can put my own selfish independent needs aside and realize that everyone needs coffee. Everyone needs their moments to realize who they are and that asking for help is brave and that sometimes you have to take an entire hour with simply you and coffee and just realize what you want from yourself for that day!!!!!! Not your entire future, not the week, not the semester, just that day. How big are you going to love? Who are you going to remind that they mean the world to you? What are you going to do to better yourself? What can you do to make someone smile today? Those questions. The simple, every day questions that we often forget to ask ourselves and therefore forget to accomplish. We can be so so focused on the bigger picture of getting our life together that we can forget to just look at the 24 hours in front of us and ask ourselves what we wanna do with it! Don’t forget to take your dwelling time to do this. Now disclaimer: I don’t care if you like coffee or not. Drink some gosh darn tea if that’s more your style of meditating figure your life out love your people and take on the world kind of beverage. Quite honestly, I’ll still take my hazelnut lattes.
But what I do ask of you to do, is find this time where you can spend with the people that mean the most to you and talk about the stuff you wanna talk about. Talk about the stuff you wanna get so excited and scream about, I don’t care if it is a new revelation you have made or the fact that you got an A on your test or the fact that Starbucks has a new drink out. Talk about it. Talk about the stuff you wanna cry about, talk about the stuff that makes you angry at the world. That stuff needs to be talked about. But don’t forget that you can’t stay talking about that forever. You still need to hop back to the topics on how to fix it, or things that are good in the world as well. EVERY situation has a silver lining, even if it takes years of hard work and a lot of perspective change to figure that out.
Coffee has helped me discover who I am. Coffee dates and runs help me validate my life and my choices I make. Coffee has helped me to realize that I need other people and that they need me. Coffee has made me realize I am a good friend, a good lover, a good sister, a good daughter, a good niece, a good student, a good Ally. But it has also made me realize that there is room for improvement in all of those areas, and that taking time to understand what I can do to improve is essential to improving. Coffee has taught me never to give up on things that mean a lot to me. Coffee has taught me that times may be tough, decisions may be hard, but if you believe in something enough, and work for it with your best intentions at heart, it will work out just how it is supposed to. Coffee has taught me how to open up to people and to understand the power of asking about someone’s day and genuinely wanting a reply of what they ate for lunch or what their hardest class was or something that made them smile. Coffee has taught me to love.
If there is one thing I am truly hopeful for in life, it is that one day when I have a family of my own, we can have post party coffee. I want nothing more than a big dining room table with everyone I love, loving each other. It is honestly the best experience in the world, to see these people you care so much about just being themselves and everyone else appreciating them for exactly that. That is how I want to live my every day life. I want to live the rest of my life drinking coffee.
Thanks for reading about something so important to me, I hope you can take away at least one lil bean of knowledge and love.
Until next time, xoxo, Ally