Smirl Meets World: Growing caffeine dependency


Rileigh Smirl

Rileigh Smirl smiles as she takes a picture with her coffee.

The first time I ever tasted coffee, all I could think was “How do people drink this willingly?” It was bitter, it burnt my tongue, and I just could not understand the infatuation most people seem to have with the stuff. It always seemed like a “grown up thing,” something that I’d understand when I was older, and I’d always remember the day I first drank coffee and actually loved it. Then, suddenly I was a freshman in college and counting on my morning gallon of coffee to get me through the first part of my day and my afternoon half -gallon to get me through the rest. Not only did I feel like I needed it, I enjoyed it, and I couldn’t tell you when that happened. Now, I have done what I can to diminish that dependency, but coffee is still a part of my daily routine in some aspect, even if it’s just something I grab on my way back from class because it just sounds so good. I promise this isn’t just a whole article about coffee, but it does play a part in what I’ve been thinking about recently. Coffee was a “grown up thing” to me all the way up until the day I realized I had grown to need it in my daily life; what other “grown up things” have I subconsciously started to do or have that I always thought would be more significant?

 It’s kind of like the whole idea of puberty that we’re taught about in that really awkward middle school health class. The way they always describe it, you think that you’ll just wake up one day and look in the mirror and say “Well, it looks like I’m starting puberty today, and by the end of the month I won’t be a kid anymore.” Which, I’m sure all of us are aware now that this is not the case. Yet, that idea sounds so silly now, but how many other parts of life have we treated the same way? What about the first day you knew for sure what you wanted to do with your life, or started to pursue that dream career? Or the first day you really start to love someone else? These are things we wait our whole young lives for, and nearly every time they happen, we can’t pinpoint an exact day they did, we just know they did at some point. One day we woke up and were decided on our dream careers and were doing what it takes to get there. One day we woke up and were just in love, maybe with a person or a hobby or an idea, but we didn’t realize we had until we just knew we had. I always thought I’d have one day where I just loved coffee and I’d know exactly when that happened. I can’t pick out that day, and I can’t pick out the day a lot of other “grown up things” have happened. I guess that means I’m on my way to being a “grown up” but will I even know when that happens? Or will I just wake up and realize I have been for a while?

Rileigh Smirl can be contacted at [email protected]