I didn't start drinking coffee until my 33rd year of life.
My dad says he snuck coffee into a bottle once to "see what I'd do" when I was a baby. I point to that moment as to why I avoided it for so long. I've always liked the smell, it's a source of comfort, but I learned at a very young age that just because something smells good, doesn't mean it tastes good. When I was around 3 or 4 years old, I remember my dad getting a new desk. It was solid wood, a sweet oak cologne. One evening, I snuck into the room where it was. I pushed my nose against the side of the desk and took a deep breath. Then I licked it.
My nose was no longer a reliable source of information.
Tastes can change.
I didn't grow up eating salad. My mom never made my brother and I eat things she wouldn't eat herself, which I appreciated. I assumed I'd also hate tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce. But when I realized tastes can change, I was disappointed I'd spent so many years missing out on such good food. I ate my first salad when I was 23 and gasp! liked it. That was the same year I discovered sour cream, pad Thai, and Havarti.
When I was in the role of pastor's wife and church staff member, I found myself meeting at coffee shops weekly, sometimes even multiple times in one day. If I wasn't in the mood for hot chocolate, I'd have water. (I haven't ventured into the world of hot tea yet.) The smell of the coffee brewing was reassuring during the often lengthy soul discussions and I decided one day to just start drinking it.
I had my first cup of coffee with my dad, on his 60th birthday.
My dad drinks his coffee black, so I tried it black. I really wanted to taste the flavor, but my dad also likes his coffee strong. We have some funny pictures of my face after I sipped it, with my dad laughing hysterically by my side.
My mom adds cream and sugar to hers, so I added cream and sugar. That was a much better place to start.
Now, I have my own coffee pot and our apartment is filled with instant warmth and satisfaction whenever I want it. Drinking coffee is an experience; it's ease, relief, pleasurable. It makes me pause, it reminds me to slow down and be present.
I've changed my mind about coffee, and I'm learning to give my nose a break.