Things to Plan Over Coffee in the Morning

Crystal Jackson

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If you read the title and thought murder, you might not be a morning person.

Of course, I’m not a morning person either. Or, at least, I’m not by choice. Having children necessitated waking before dawn and learning to make peace with it.

Some days, I’m not so peaceful. I just want to pull the covers over my head and remember the days when I could sleep until I’d had enough rest. Or at the very least, sleep until my alarm went off. Now, I have two little alarms that go off while it’s still dark outside, and my body still craves rest.

There’s nothing else to do but haul myself out of bed and make my way to the coffee pot, bleary-eyed and struggling to find gratitude rather than resentment.

Grinding the beans takes time — not much, but in the morning, any time before coffee seems interminable. I know it will be worth it though. I liberally scoop the grounds into the filter. This coffee machine isn’t fancy.

I need to pour in the filtered water. But to do that, I have to get water. It takes forever to fill. Maybe forever is 30 seconds, but this is all pre-coffee, so judging time isn’t possible.

Fill to the line. Think about it and decide to make another couple of cups for good measure. I pour it in, and if I’m awake enough, I remember to actually press the start button.

I don’t go sit down to wait. I’m too tired. I just stare at the machine impatiently through tired eyes while my kids buzz around the house getting ready for school and asking if they can watch just one cartoon before we go. They’ve grabbed a ready-made breakfast and sit at the table with bright eyes.

I’m still waiting. And trying to form words. And daydreaming simultaneously about coffee and my bed. Coffee could wait if sleep was an option.

But it’s not.

So, coffee can’t wait.

It’s ready. There’s creamer still — hallelujah. Sometimes, I forget.

I choose a mug carefully. Do I grab my book swag — a mug with my face and book cover on it? Or is it a Golden Girls sort of day? A palm reading mug that reminds me that my life is in my hands? A mug a dear friend made for me with her own? The one with swearing or the one with zombies? So many choices, so little time.

I choose one based entirely on my mood. Which did I grab? Which would you?

I drink, long and deep, and I’m like a flower whose petals unfurl in the light of the morning sun. Good morning.

I have my coffee. Now, if I like, I can make good use of my coffee time. It won’t last long, but I find that I can get a few things done while I drink it.

I can plan a way to convince my children to let me sleep a little longer undisturbed. Or I could teach them how to make me coffee first. I weigh the options and discard them. This is a pipe dream right now. There are better uses of my time than to imagine the impossible.

I can, if I want to be ordinary, plan my day. What I need to do. When I need to do it. I can make a grocery list and outline my day. But it’s a snooze-fest, and I’m nearly back asleep despite the coffee.

I can plan to use these moments for gratitude. So, I drink my coffee, and I count my blessings. There are more blessings than coffee, but now that I’m awake, I can make more.

I’m grateful and blessed. I plan ways to show it. I feel guilty about my pre-coffee state, and I go sit with my children to drink the rest of my coffee, pulling their little bodies close to mine for hugs and to tell them how much I love them and how proud of them I am.

I can plan to take another step closer to my dreams today. I have ideas. It can be small, but every movement forward is progress, right? So, I decide what I can do this day to be living my dreams, not just dreaming them. What is achievable today?

I can plan out self-care. Where it fits into my day, my week. How I should best use my time to take care of me. Where do I fit in exercise? I remind myself to pick up a couple of extra vegetables. I remind myself to actually put them on my plate at dinner time. I think we could eat more fruit and vegetables, and then I think about water and decide I don’t drink enough. I make a plan to do that, too. And I should go to bed early some days and have screen-free days, too.

I think about feeding my body, but I also think about nurturing my soul. I could spend a lot of time here on self-care. But there’s only so much coffee in a cup. Or three.

Sure, I could plan a coup or a murder, or I could plan nothing at all and let resentment simmer through me that I have to be up so early and do things I don’t want to do. But I don’t. Because coffee is precious. And so is my time. My life.

So, I drink up, and I plan.

Or, sometimes, I just drink my coffee. I focus on nothing but the taste, the smell, the experience of drinking coffee in the half-light of the morning through bleary, tired eyes. I feel the mug in my hands, my body curled into my favorite chair, the softness of my clothes against my skin, my hair against my cheeks, my feet in their socks. I listen to my children talking, playing, arguing, and I tune into the neighbors taking out their trash, opening and closing doors, starting cars.

I am present, and I don’t have to plan anything at all.

It’s just coffee.

And it can be whatever I make it.

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Crystal Jackson is a former therapist turned writer. She is the author of the Heart of Madison series and a volume of poetry entitled My Words Are Whiskey. Her work has been featured on Medium, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, The Good Men Project, and Elephant Journal. When she's not writing, you can find her traveling, paddle boarding, cycling, throwing axes badly but with terrifying enthusiasm, hiking, or curled up with her nose in a book in Madison, Georgia, where she lives with one puppy and two wild and wonderful children. Crystal writes about relationships, mental health, parenting, social justice, and more. Never miss an update. Subscribe to emails: https://crystaljacksonwriter.substack.com/

Madison, GA
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