By Tarun Chandy
Coffee and Sunsets
This morning, I had my first cup of coffee in three years. I’d never used a coffee machine before, and kind of felt like a seventy year old being introduced to the IPad. But I suppose that’s what SCA is all about. Exciting new challenges. I remember the anticipation when I was told to press Latte and had no idea what was about to come gushing into my glass. Seven spoons of sugar later, I was ready for another exhilarating day.
I’ve always done by best to avoid drinking coffee because I’ve never been hugely fond of the flavor. So, I instead tried my best to simply get ten hours of sleep every night and to focus on very little while I was awake, thus entirely eliminating the need for caffeine from my life. I didn’t want to become one of those people who depend on coffee to make it through their day. Who ritualize their first cup of the morning, and use it to enhance their personality as much as their productivity. In fact, the only time I really broke from my caffeine abstinence was a brief couple of weeks in college when I joined the rowing team and needed the promise of that double expresso to drag my ass out of bed at four in the morning.
That recognition made me think about that time in my life. It was during my second year in college and to put it mildly, I was a drunken mess. I would never make it out of the house before noon on most days, regardless of whether or not I had a class to get to. So what the fuck was I doing? Why did I suddenly decide to drive to the beach every morning and spending hours heaving, tugging, sweating and freezing while all my peers were in the comfort of their beds? It was because on the very first day of practice, while I was seriously questioning my judgement and shrugging off the overwhelming pain in every limb of my body, I saw something that made it all worth it. It might sound cheesy but I saw the sun rising out of the water as we sailed towards it. It painted the horizon a color you’d never see from anywhere on shore, and I knew that I had found the perfect way to start my day.
I had never understood ambition until that moment because there was so little in life that I cared to work towards. I was never driven by competition, and motivated simply by the need to outdo those around me. I didn’t care about grades or athletic victory. But I found something that had an intrinsic significance to me, and every morning I’d pick up my expresso and set off to chase the sunset.
Raising my coffee cup again made me realize that being at SCA has allowed me to rediscover the ambition I’d known far too briefly. I have goals I’m determined to achieve. I have a version of my self that I’m desperately trying to be. The belief that being here will bring out the best in me and that the rest of my life depends on my current performance has woken me up. And I’m determined to stay woke.