Comfort and Habits

I don’t need this.

I love comfort. That simple statement carries a lot of weight, because it basically defines my life thus far. In what way, you might ask? Well, look at that shot above. I have struggled since I was 12 years old (puberty) to sleep properly. I know now that it was likely undiagnosed anxiety. My mother didn’t understand why I was the way I was, and did nothing but constantly get upset with me for freaking out about literally everything. I have SO MANY memories of times she got mad at me, and I can feel the crazy panic even now. It was always weird things. One time, we’d gone up north to visit my grandparents. We are from Saskatchewan, so we are no strangers to insanely cold winters and less than favourable driving conditions. I remember specifically, we were inside their home, and I looked out, and it had started to snow. Now, it’s important to remember, I was around 13 or 14 at this time, and had been in a vehicle in winter in terrible conditions hundreds of times before. But, on this evening, I started to panic when I saw that snow. I imagined the police walking up to my Grandparent’s residence and knocking on the door to tell them that we’d died in an accident on the way home. I wasn’t able to calm down at all, no matter how many looks my mother shot me, or how her boyfriend tried to reason with me that it was okay, that he could drive really well on the snow, that we’d get home fine. We ended up having to leave earlier than they’d planned because I just could not calm down. I could tell they were annoyed with me, but I couldn’t explain it, because I couldn’t understand why I was so upset. I don’t remember what happened when I got home, but I do remember being upset and worried for the entire drive.

Since I hit 12, my weight started to go up. I have always felt this NEED to have carbs or something warm or sweet to make me feel better. That habit has turned into some destructive eating habits as an adult, and I’ve never really learned to self soothe. If I am even remotely stressed, I think about what fast food I am closest to, so I can down the carbs, knowing it’s going to taste good, and that even for 20 minutes, I’ll feel better. Those cravings took over and only got worse, as I slept even less and less as I aged. I know a lot more about myself now than I or anyone else did back then. Anxiety and depression weren’t something a lot of people talked about back when I was growing up. Seeking medical help carried a lot of stigma, not that it’s much better now, but at least help is so much more available, and there’s a rather large community of people who are starting to believe just how much better a person can feel after some counselling.

Back to the extra large coffee. Since I learned what coffee could do for a person, I have been addicted. My body seems to go through these phases, where sometimes a large sized coffee will make me shaky an hour after drinking it, and then a month later, I’ll have a large coffee at 8, and go buy another at 10, then get a third on my way back from lunch, and be wishing I didn’t work the next day, so I could drink a 4th with dinner. I find that until I’ve consumed that coffee, I am unable to think straight. It makes sense, as rest is extremely important, and I certainly wasn’t getting enough. Sleep helps us focus, helps us maintain focus, helps us with reasoning, emotion processing, basically everything. I get really snappy when I haven’t slept, which means I have a reputation for being really snappy, because I never get a good night’s rest (or it feels that way most days, anyway).

I really love my McDonald’s coffee. for a whole host of reasons. It tastes good, and the habit of getting into my car, driving to the drive-thru, trying to guess whether someone will jump in front of me, or pull ahead because they think they’re next, or yell at me because they swear it was their turn, even though it wasn’t, and on and on, is comforting. If you’re thinking that it sounds anxiety inducing, you are correct! However, my need for that caffeine kick is way higher than my anxiety of being yelled at, or worrying whether someone takes my space in line, so I go there every day. Lately I’ve switched to the Extra Large size, something I’ve never done before. I’m also back in that pattern of drinking way more coffee than usual, and almost not feeling the effects, because my tolerance is way up, thanks to drinking so damn much.

As a result of this financial freedom journey I’m on, that habit is the first to go. I bought myself one this morning, to say goodbye, and also for the product shot you see above (which, for total transparency reasons, was not what I had planned, it just happened to work out). The reason I am able to do this, is because I have finally found a coffee I can stand, that I’m willing to make at home. Enter Fernwood Coffee. I found a bag of their medium blend at one of the island only grocery stores. It was highly priced, but damn, was it ever good. Unfortunately, as I didn’t have a coffee marker, I had to buy one that same day. I also didn’t realize that the bag was beans and wasn’t ground, so I had to get a grinder as well. Anyway, with cream, which I can buy for relatively cheap at the grocery store, I am saving a huge amount of money. Going to McDonald’s each day, with the morning coffee costing $1.40, and the afternoon one costing $1.18, I am saving $77/month.

I’ll be honest, when I did the math just now, I was flipping SHOCKED at how high that number was. SEVENTY SEVEN DOLLARS??? SERIOUSLY??? That number is bonkers to me! I had always just done the quick math, and figured, meh, I don’t do the afternoon coffee all that often (YES I DO), so it’s just $30/month, because 2×30 (days) = 30, I guess, right? I am bad at math, but I do enjoy how my mind rationalized it so much that it just decided not to bother worrying that half of the month was being left out of the equation. Good grief.

That habit is very comforting, as it always felt to me that once I got to work, I could spend the first hour drinking said coffee, and letting the sweet, sweet, caffeine enter my bloodstream and help bring my brain back under control. Once it hits me, I start moving about, and actioning emails. That comfort of the routine of heading to that drive-thru will be missed, but the amount of money that gets to stay in my bank account will be treasured.

Thanks for reading.

Published by Frugal Squirrel

I'm an early 40s Canadian who just plain doesn't want to work anymore. Join me on the ride as I learn about Canadian Finance!

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