Off-Coffee Thoughts

Bernadette Judaea
6 min readJul 7, 2023

I’ve been off coffee now for a long time.

Photo by Alex Padurariu on Unsplash

I had one coffee since the time I wrote this post, but that one coffee sent me into trembling buzzy anxiety. I finally realized it was the feeling I didn’t like. I quit drinking coffee one time before and I do remember it being a pleasant period of time. I was running two miles nearly everyday during that part of my life. I have learned that when I am healthy, I don’t crave coffee so feverishly. I still want it because I love the taste, but I hate how it makes me feel. This is what maturity feels like. Finding out the things that no longer serve you, even if you want to have the immediate satisfaction.

This relates to my Independence Day experience (or at least I can force the connection so I can write about it here). I was told weeks ago that my coworkers were planning a party for the 4th of July because the store would be closed. I agreed to go, although at the time they were planning on getting an AirBNB and I just knew that was never going to work out. I turned out to be correct, unfortunately and they were not able to get an AirBNB. They invited me to come over to one of their houses to celebrate anyway, but I was never given further details.

A few days before the 4th, I was talking with one of the girls I work with about Astrology. I sense she is genuinely interested and I feel responsibility like I have a duty to the young feminine. We decided to meet after work on the third so I could read her chart. She told me one of our other co-workers would be interested too, so I thought, “the more the merrier!” We invited several coworkers, even some that worked the night before our day off. I think I was trying to somehow resolve my relationship with myself at 21 by dropping advice bombs on 21 year olds now.

So we made it a thing. One of my dear friends dropped in to work that day and when I told her about the plan, she reached out to an out-of-town neighbor and got us a house for the event! A house by the lake with a huge yard and a fire pit! These kids that were unable to find a house for their 4th of July party would have a perfect view of the fireworks on the lake! I couldn’t believe how it all came together but that is what happens when you just go with the flow. My friend made cedar packets to burn, and put out candles and signs for the bathroom and parking- I bought all kinds of snacks and tea. We set it all out with care and intention. Then we waited.

We waited while chatting about intentions for the evening and the future. Then I got two cancellations; the two guys that were working reached out and said they couldn’t make it. I wondered if anyone would make it. The anxious feeling in my stomach of no one showing up was present while we talked in the kitchen. I moved about to try to get my energy to become fluid again because I felt clammy, constricted, and nauseous. “Well if nobody makes it, this was a good practice run.” We both agreed that running events in the future was something we’d be interested in doing. I felt really bad that she had done so much to decorate and put things together, but she was more than gracious with responses to my apologies.

Three coworkers did end up arriving later around. The girl I had originally made the plan with and two guys. I did their brief readings and then realized… these kids are in the part of life where you fuck up. I cannot be the one to keep them from their actual lessons. I cannot philosophize the experience away. I noticed when I took a step back that I’m trying to teach this girl because I am trying to save me from getting hurt. I’m trying to help her, desperately. I’m trying to be her martyr. I am begging her to listen to me, to not make the same mistakes as me. Especially when I found out she has the same ascendent as two of my dearest friends. She is the same profile as me for HD, so I know it’s gonna fucking hurt… and it has to. There is nothing I can do for her to stop that even though I want to. In fact, I may even be the one that hurts her even if I am not actively doing anything to hurt her.

I sense that my relationship with these young people is more complicated than it appears to be on the surface. It's very cliquey, this group. There have been subtle hints (and some not so subtle) that I am an outsider and I am not completely welcome. I had to remember what it was like in my twenties (even though it feels so long ago now especially after the pandemic). I remember the hormones. I remember feeling threatened by other women. I know what it's like, but I had forgotten how vicious fresh-out-of-high-schoolers can be. Unintentionally; sometimes in their absentmindedness, they are brutal.

From this perspective of looking back, I feel like I made myself very vulnerable to kids that have no idea what that even means. They were good with trying to roll with it but my friend (that is 10 years an elder to me so 20 to them) felt called to give advice. I don’t think the intention was to do so but when a 40 year old talks to a 20 year old, the urge is there to share wisdom. We gave a lot. It’s impossible to be grateful right now in this stage of their development. One day they might be, but I found myself trying to force it.

I think there is a lot to unpack, and I don’t mean to blame my coworkers for triggering me, they are young and oblivious. This is just the next level of wound healing that I am on. Things are coming up from my high school experience, such as feeling like the one that didn’t belong. If I were to be invited to a 30-something year old’s party, it wouldn’t have felt so weird. For starters, I would get an invitation on time out of respect. For this pool party, even though I had plenty of warning leading up to the day, I received a text at 8pm that said “Did you want to come to the pool party?” In the moment, I was happy to be remembered and invited again even after showing my mystical priestess side to them the night before. I could have reached out earlier in the day but I had been taking naps until it cooled down enough for me to go pick weeds.

It was around the time I was finishing up in the garden, when I received the message. The guy texting me was one of the kids that showed up for me, so I was going to show up for him. I asked for instructions for parking and even though it felt too late to be going out, I went anyway. When I arrived, I couldn’t figure out how to get to the door, so a beer pong game was stopped. It was my absolute worst night mare. Everyone gathered around to welcome me in a horrific scene social awkwardness that I hadn’t felt since the frat parties of the early 2010s. I quickly asked if there was a way to plug my phone in because my entire body was seizing up from the overwhelming presence of young-people hormones. Remember, I hang out with mostly elders and then children that are not even close to puberty. I’m the only one with hormones fluctuating in this household.

I was also sensing into the question of my presence. “Why the fuck am I trying to hang out with 21 year olds?” I know that question was perhaps being asked towards me too. “Why doesn’t she hang out with people her own age?” When I applied for this job at the co-op, I did it for the sake of joining a community. Being a part of several communities has made me a person again. That’s what my journaling shows me. I was not aware of the fact that the core group where I work is pretty concentrated in a particular age-bracket that I am far too old to be hanging out with, frankly. One of the guys broke a Stella Artois bottle to open it. I have tasted at least 20 types of Malbec. We are not the same.

…to be continued.

Originally written in Collective Journaling