Credit cards, love them or loathe them, are a modern invention which have allowed our consumerist society to satisfy their unquenchable thirst for new goods and services with borrowed money. As the card holder the system works pretty smoothly so long as you continue to make your repayments. However, it can all unravel pretty quickly if you spend more than you can afford to repay. High interest rates and escalating minimum payments lead to many seeking more credit to service their existing debt and so the vicious cycle spirals out of control.
We share a much more ancient bond with caffeine. One popular tale talks of a 9th century Ethiopian farmer, named Kaldi, who moved his goats to new pasture only to find they became extremely restless and excitable. Confused by this sudden transformation in behaviour he set up camp alongside them and after a few days noticed they were grazing on a patch of small red berries. Curious, he tried the berries for himself and our love affair with this wildly popular psychoactive agent was born.
Two completely different products from completely different eras yet there are uncanny similarities in the way we use and abuse them.
A caffeine drinker who gets good sleep, has low stress levels, eats healthy and exercises regularly is similar to the credit card owner who always makes his monthly payment, he probably benefits from the product.
On the other hand a caffeine drinker who gets bad sleep, has high stress levels, eats crap, doesn’t exercise, has no energy and uses caffeine to simply stay afloat is like the credit card owner who gets behind on his payments. The only way forward is to consume more caffeine which exacerbates the problem and creates a nasty downward spiral.
I’ve been the guy in the second scenario. Stressed with work, not sleeping enough and using caffeine to fix the holes. It doesn’t end well and the first step to recovery was tearing up my energy credit card (coffee) and repaying the borrowed energy with better sleep and lifestyle habits.
So what about you… are you a caffeine user or abuser?