[love in a coffee shop]

In high school, most of my social time was spent in one of three places: (1) the church, (2) a friend's house, or (3) Starbucks. It was the curse of growing up in the 'burbs; other than going out to dinner we didn't have many places to congregate.

My last year or so of college I fell back in love with the coffee shop. I started spending all my time at Common Grounds, or if I needed to really focus and get away from the crowd at the Starbuck's a little outside of town.

Then I went to law school. I tried to study in coffee shops, I really did. But after awhile the workload got to me and I spent all my time locked in my apartment instead. Before I'd even finish breakfast in the morning I would hit the books, especially during finals. Then I graduated law school, started clerking at a law firm and lost interest in going to coffee shops. I didn't have anything to study for so unless I was meeting someone it just seemed silly to hang out in a coffee shop.

But in the past week or so I've rediscovered my love of the coffee shop.

When I first quit my job I spent a lot of time doing things I wanted to do more of. I did hour+ workouts. I watched the movies I had wanted to see. I cleaned out closets, scrubbed baseboards, and stayed on top of my laundry. I spent time with other unemployed friends.

Gradually I stopped and before I knew it I was spending all my time at home, surfing the internet in sweats and eating way too much. Sure I still showered every day (generally twice a day) but I rarely did my hair or my makeup or put on real clothes. Instead I'd get out of the shower, put on workout clothes or pajamas, and go back to exactly what I'd been doing before I took my shower. I tried showering and doing my hair & makeup despite a lack of plans. Mom's voice echoed in my ears: "If you look good, you feel good." That lasted three days before I decided I was wasting product and time and that the whole thing was just silly. Sure I felt better but I couldn't exactly afford replacements for my makeup (I'm somewhat of a makeup snob) so it just felt like wasting product and as an extension, wasting money. So I stopped doing that too. The next thing I knew I was five pounds heavier and infinitely unhappier.

Enough became enough. I thought to myself, what if I only use the internet from a public place? The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.

1. I had gift cards to Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts & Panera so I wouldn't have to worry about how much money I was spending.

2. I would have to get dressed to go to any of those places. I don't like appearing in public without getting dressed, even if getting dressed means just a simple sweater and jeans and a swipe of mascara & lipgloss. I'm a big believer in the old Southern standby of "you never know who you're going to meet."

3. I would feel productive. I know it sounds silly, but going out in public to catch up on blogs & browse Pinterest is somehow infinitely more appealing than sitting on my sofa and doing the same. I think that has more to do with #2 than anything, but hey I'll take it.

One morning I charged my laptop while I ate breakfast, showered, got dressed, grabbed my stuff and trotted down the block to Dunkin Donuts.

The most amazing thing happened: I was more productive the entire rest of the day. I went to bed feeling satisfied for the first time in a month. I stopped dwelling on the fact that I was a "failure" due to my lack of employment. Side note: in today's society it's so hard to be an adult without a job and not feel like you're failing at some essential function of adulthood. Being single doesn't help the matter either but that's another story. I spent over two hours in that Dunkin Donuts, browsing the internet and people watching.

You see that's what I love about a coffee shop. You're in the middle of things but at the same time, you're removed from them if you chose to be. At the end of the day I just like being around other people. I may not be the most "chatty" social butterfly out there but hiding in my apartment all day everyday is just not for me either. I especially love Starbucks for that reason: the one nearest my apartment is somewhat of a fishbowl allowing you to see the bustle of Charles Street while you enjoy your coffee.

For a week now I've been spending time in one of those three places. Some days the laptop stays home and I instead just bring my book for the week.

And now I finally feel lighter, springier. I no longer feel compelled to overeat or eat unhealthy foods. It's funny how something not even related to physical health can affect your diet. But that's the thing about physical health: it's not purely physical. Emotional and mental components are just as important.

So if you see me online there's a high probability I'm sitting in a coffee shop somewhere. More importantly, if you see me sitting in a coffee shop come say hi. Seriously.

All photos taken by me. 

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