I had been determined to not drink coffee in the morning – especially not when I’m eating breakfast at the same time. It is undoubtedly one of the triggers for the frequent reflux I’ve been experiencing. But it’s hard to give it up.

Much like alcohol, coffee has a whole load of stuff associated with it that feels ingrained in a certain vision (true or false) of who I am. Right now I’m sitting in a morning sunlit room, a happy child on the seat opposite me eating his freshly made pancakes, me on my reclining chair in my Yukata (the last thing I bought before leaving Japan) and sipping Nespresso coffee.

See! When I describe it like that, it sounds like some kind of advert. It’s the Facebook view of the world. What’s actually happening is …

The pancake-eating child has taken off all his clothes and is chasing the dogs with his pyjamas. He’s loudly exclaiming that the “sun burns” and other interjections. He’s doing his best to topple my coffee cup with his toes, and I barely get a sentence typed without having to communicate with him.

The table in this room is still cluttered with dirty glasses, salt and pepper and the butter dish from last night’s dinner. There are toys scattered across a dog-hair encrusted floor and my lovely leathery reclining chair has a hole scraped into it by the dogs and the white fluffy innards are coming out.

My other child is lying in my bed watching an iPad and eating plain brown baguette. Yes, in the bed. Yes, there will be crumbs.

My much loved yukata smells musty and the belt is missing because 4 years ago I tied it to the handlebar of the double buggy because I was paranoid I would trip while pushing it and the buggy would slide into traffic unless I tied it to my wrist.

And the coffee that I love so much? It’s actually Aldi-knock-off capsules (which taste fine!) because who has the time to get into the one shop in town where they sell the real thing?! And it’s going to give me reflux – as I’ve already stated. And it’s a diuretic and will dehydrate me. And it’s not exactly good for my migraines.

So what is it with this advertising vision of life vs the real thing? I think there’s some benefit in the “soft-focus” view of your life. I think it can make you realise that you actually have a lot in your life and to be grateful and appreciative for it. However, why can’t I just learn to be grateful for an appreciate the reality, rather than striving for some fake plastic vision?

Well, that’s what I’m trying to do. Alcohol was the number one “Fake Life Paintbrush” in my life, but alcohol would have never existed as a problem for me if it weren’t for the way I dream of some movie-script life in my mind. I turned to alcohol when reality felt too grinding, crushing, boring or stressful. And it was the boring and grinding life that was the biggest trigger for me.

I could imagine doing without a drink during stressful and happy times, because my life was already acting like an interesting story-line then. Now, I didn’t tend to go without alcohol at those times, because those are the socially acceptable times to drink. But I found those the easiest to stop. But the boring, grinding Wednesday evenings, with a pile of clothes to fold and an uninteresting dinner to cook? Or a late Sunday afternoon when all the chores are completed and the clock has reset to the start of a “same old” week? Facing into a pile of boring correcting? Or just to allow me to ignore the imperfections of a cluttered and dusty house. That was the really hard stuff to get through without a bubble to live in.

And what’s changed? Nothing has really changed in my life, but mindfulness, acceptance and gratitude. Once I allow myself to clearly see what I have in front of me, then I can take time to notice the joy and the glory in that.

My dancing naked son is happy and loved. My bread-eating, crumb-spilling son is having some down-time so that I can spend some writing time which will actually allow me the brain-space to be a better and less frustrated parent for the rest of the day. Dinner-stuff is still on the table, but the energy cost of clearing it this morning is slightly less than it would have been last night when my leg was giving me a lot of pain.

And I am still very happy to be sitting in my Japan-yukata on a sunny morning – no matter how musty it’s gotten. I will probably stick it in the wash today though.

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