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Energy. We crave it like a drug and take drugs to give us more of it. We consume copious amounts of stimulants to give us more of it and eat foods reported to sustain it. A generation of energy junkies who can’t get enough…because there is never enough. We find ways to sleep less so we can do more. In order to do more we need the energy to keep it all going…and going, and going.

Caffeine inspired jokes and witticisms adorn coffee cups that have enabled us to laugh about what lengths we will go to in order to consume the contents of our cups. Many cups come with warnings to those who’d even consider keeping us from what’s inside. Remember those artsy cup holders that used to sit on our counter tops to hold our collection of cups? An invitation to pick one and enjoy a relaxing cup o’ Joe. Is it any wonder they now sit on shelves in thrift stores? The gargantuan vats that pass for cups these days would never fit on those dainty structures.

And what ever happened to coffee as we knew it when we first took a sip of the bitter brew? Maxwell House, with its promise to be good to the last drop, Mrs. Olson with her Scandinavian accent and tightly braided bun that had us suddenly wanting a cinnamon roll and that woodsy looking sturdy woman who was willing to wager her canine companion that MJB was the best coffee we’d ever taste. As far as I’m concerned, that woman owes me a dog. Not only do we have designer coffee, but we can grind it ourselves in the store, or buy our own grinders and if that’s not fresh enough we can buy ‘brewing stations’ that will grind the stuff seconds before the hot water even thinks about coming in contact with it. And then there’s the type of grind. Is fine too fine?

We’ve even designed our own ‘coffee etiquette’. You can’t just go into a coffee shop and order a cup without being well versed in coffee lingo. The style, the size, the array of additives all have us fearing ordering it ‘wrong’. After all, who wants to appear to be a coffee newbie. You want to look cool when ordering your cool beans which involves not standing there gawking at the menu board. No, you want to stroll in and blend in as easily as the cream in your mucho mocha latté ya ya. Word from the wise…research this and practice first if you are serious about not appearing to be a ‘virgin’. Wearing sunglasses won’t add to your mystique..it’ll just make you look obvious.

If the bodacious bean is not our usual poison, there’s those cans of stuff with names that sound as if they intend to end our fatigue once and for all. What’s in them, I don’t know, but my husband’s cardiologist informed him that if he would like to find himself on a gurney or a slab, just drink one. I think it probably goes beyond sugar and caffeine in some of them and ventures into the world of herbs. Being a practitioner of the Craft, I respect herbs and am well versed in what some of them are capable of. I’m not about to start ingesting unstandardized herbal elixirs any more than I’m going to ask my pharmacist if I can slip behind the counter where the pills are kept and take all the pretty ones.

Then, after we are wired all day and have accomplished more than we ever could unaided by ‘foolaid’ we bolt out of the office only to discover that having pupils the size of dinner plates is a mite uncomfortable when we hit the streets. If the glare doesn’t sear our retinas, the hustle and bustle gives us a visual that mimics what a bee sees.

So, what do we do when we need to relax and can actually stop running and doing? Our motto is, “it’s happy hour somewhere”. And every where. Not only is drinking acceptable, it’s downright upright. You can’t even find ideas for cooking brunches, lunches and dinners without a recipe for the perfect ‘go with’ cocktail. And, now, that we’ve been flying high all day we finally need to land and a bar stool is as good a place as any. Even with our ‘0’ visibly handicap, we can find a pub with as many kinds of alcoholic beverages as there were bean squeezins in the coffee shop. However, many bars don’t have menu boards so we’re on our own. The best recourse is to be as knowledgeable about booze as possible and this too, requires lots of practice.  If the bar has a ‘house drink’, go for it. Not only is it fun to invent a drink, the trial and error period is an adventure unto itself so if you’ve managed to see this to the end, chances are, it’s tasty.

Knowing the latest trendy cocktail and ordering that is a safe bet so do your homework. The humble ‘classic’ martini will no longer be slid in front of you unless you specify that and even that takes some know how. Gin, vodka, rocks, straight up, shaken not stirred, tossed in the air, put in a cement mixer or ‘just bruise the vermouth’, you gotta know these things. Tini’s and toonies come in every flavor and hue these days so just order one that matches your shirt and you can’t go wrong. If you opt for the ‘kitchen sink’ when it comes to garnishes, know that it will consist of anything that will normally fit down a garbage disposal. There are bloody Mary’s that can count as a full day’s minimum requirement of vegetables…and the lycopene in the tomato juice is so good for you. See, it’s a salad. That’s the story that has worked for me for years.

The question is, what are we doing to ourselves? Why do we have to live life at an accelerated pace that has us always looking beyond what we’re doing to get to the next thing, even though the thing that we’re currently doing was the thing we were looking forward to all the while we were doing the last thing. If we worked at making it fulfilling enough, we could just be into what we’re doing at the moment and appreciate it for what it is. Behold the power of now. Maybe we could if we weren’t so addicted to the adrenaline rush of it all and being hopped up on stuff that keeps it all going.

So, what’s wrong with being tired? Are we afraid of fatigue? It’s normal for our asses to be tired as well as our minds after a full day of working hard or playing hard. Humans get worn out and if it’s any consolation, even machines wear out and give it up. After every update has been installed, there’s still going to be a time when you have to just scrap it.

There’s nothing wrong with ambition and drive, but when we have to take stimulants to keep going and depressants to relax we need to reexamine our motives. Is it to stay ahead of the competition or do we create the competition by running in a race that has no finish line?  Let’s hope we figure it out before we all crash and burn.

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