I have ordered 39 Venti Blonde Roast coffees from Starbucks since beginning medical school, but I have never noticed the exact price until now. $2.64. That is roughly $100 in warm, smooth coffee that I have purchased to awaken my sleepy brain and nudge me to keep memorizing and learning. I don’t spend money on snacks or getting a haircut or nice shampoo or the jacket I’ve had my eye on. But I fork over that $2.64 as my single indulgence.

I woke up knotted again. I didn’t go to anatomy lab and bailed out of volunteering at the opthamology clinic tonight. I just didn’t have the power in my veins for any extra effort today. So I trudged myself to school an hour before class and eyed the cozy red Starbucks corner of the hospital lobby. I gave in.

Sipping from my ridiculously overpriced coffee cup, I can’t imagine how many hurried customers slug down their even pricier lattes within minutes, without even appreciating it’s luxury. How many impoverished people across the world would feel so fortunate to be able to stroll into a cafe and non-nonchalantly purchase a $6 drink – the equivalent price of a meal?

So the bargain I have made with myself in splurging on my 39 caffeinated indulgences is this: to mindfully practice appreciation and gratitude each time. I take notice of everything about it: the perfect temperature, the smoothness, the nutty taste – with the faintest sweet after-tone that you’ll miss if you don’t consciously take notice.

Today, I realized 2 things about my Starbucks coffee:

This polyethylene plastic cup which will end up in a landfill due to it’s non-recyclable nature. My 39 cups will end up in the ground somewhere, filling up the dirt that used to be the home of plants and organisms.

Also, I also realized that I handed over something mindlessly, while there are people starving and working tirelessly to earn money to feed themselves and their families, or to provide a roof over their head.

“Learn to appreciate what you have before time makes you appreciate what you had.”


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