A realization + Bon bout d'an in English
The Lazy Man's French Cake & faire son beurre

Bonne Année! Dependency and what I gave up

Sunrise here at our vineyard, and a new day. Make that a new year!

TODAY'S WORD: la bienveillance

     : goodwill, kindness, loving-kindness

ECOUTEZ/LISTEN to Jean-Marc read this example sentence

Download Bienveillance

Développe en toi l'indépendance à tout moment, avec bienveillance, simplicité et modestie. - Marc-Aurèle
Develop at every moment in yourself independence, loving-kindness, simplicity and modesty.


"Independence in the Land of Coffee and Wine"

    by Kristin Espinasse

This may very well be my first coffee-free edition. I had not planned on this one-day-at-a-time coffee quittance--it just happened, surreptitiously (I admit I had to look up that word after first misspelling it).  

    surreptitious: done, made, or acquired by stealth.  

I won't look up "stealth", but it sounds very much like what I thought giving up coffee would entail. Then again, all my preconceived notions about giving up coffee have been proved wrong--ever since writing a pseudo vow in my new agenda on December 31st at 1:46 pm. It was easy at the time (as it is easy to swear off booze having drank one too many).

The difference between giving up alcohol (this February 3rd marks 13 years!) is that I have no plans to give up coffee forever. I mean I'd like to, but I no longer see coffee abstinence as vital for me.  In four days sans café, I've had no shakes, no irritability, no depression, no visions of coffee beans swirling around my head.  Maybe those 4 cups a day (the last before bedtime) didn't equal dependence after all?

Dependence being key. I do not want to be dependent on anything, least of all a piddly cup of coffee! I don't want to be a slave to "I have to drive to the store for a pack of cigarettes at 11 pm" or "I can't make it through the morning without a pastry"--or a box of pastries (been there!).

Thinking about it, it is clear the "all" in my "all or nothing" personality is tied to my emotions. (And, thinking a little further, probably my "nothing" is equally tied to those same emotions.)

What gives me hope is what I have learned from experience: that the chains of dependency (on things or people) are not worth the temporary freedom that they manufacture. And that it IS possible to give up an addiction and to find "normalcy" again. Said in a different way, it is possible to give up a strong dependence on something and enjoy a newfound peace. The tricky part is knowing what to give up for good, what to give up for a time, and what to cut back on. 

I don't know when I will have my next cup of coffee. Maybe after lunch? Nah! Maybe next time I see my sister... (coffee time with my sister!).... But reading a list of what coffee does to me (aggravated teeth grinding, increased anxiety, exaggerated gestures, edginess, and palpitations), gives me pause. And such awareness is one thing I told you I wish for more of in the new year.

This, and the courage to continue tweaking the things inside that need tweaking.

Thank you for reading, and warmest wishes,




A walk along the coastline with dear Smokey.


More photos posted daily at Instagram. Join me there!

Thanks for sharing this post with someone. 

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation of any amount.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. PayPal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, ZELLE is a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens