This past holiday season I made a discovery. I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure this out. I’m just glad I finally did.

If you’re 12 years old, or 10, or 8, or 6, you already know this, but when you get to college, you forget it. Then you have to rediscover it. If you’re lucky, it won’t take you until you’re 45, like it took me.

Here it is:

Hot chocolate tastes better than coffee. Period.

Now that you’re aware of that, you’ve got to ask yourself, “So why am I drinking the inferior-tasting stuff?”

The answer to that question, I think, also has to do with college. (Unless you didn’t go to college, in which case I have no idea why you’re drinking coffee instead of hot chocolate.)

In college, from what I can remember of college, you stay up way late every night. I don’t remember why. It could be my memory is failing in my old age, or it could be that whatever I did when I was staying up late every night wiped out that part of my brain. I think the stated reason was that college required late night studying, but I’m pretty sure that alibi wouldn’t hold up in court.

If you’re up late “studying” every night, and you need to get up and appear to be conscious for an 8am class, you start drinking coffee because it’s got caffeine. It tastes like shit, but you’re young and impressionable, and everyone else is drinking it, so you do. You drink it at night so you can stay up later and get more “studying” in. Then you drink it in the morning so you can appear to be awake at 8am.

Over time, you develop a coffee habit and forget that coffee tastes like shit and that you’d rather have hot chocolate.

“But, I still need the caffeine,” you may be saying. “How else can I get up in the morning and not be dragging my ass around all day?”

I’ll tell you.

You don’t need caffeine. You need more sleep. That dragging ass feeling you have — that’s not your body telling you to have more coffee. That’s your body telling you that you haven’t had enough sleep. Probably not since the night before you left home for college.

Try this. Instead of drinking another cup of coffee, have a cup of hot chocolate instead. Then when you’re tummy is all warm and happy, lie down and take a nap. Then, when you wake up, instead of having a cup of coffee, have another cup of hot chocolate. Repeat as necessary, until you feel better.

It may take a day or two or three. You may be a little grouchy for a few days. You can give your family and friends fair warning. They may think you’ve gone a little off, but ignore them. You’ve got a lot of caffeine withdrawal to go through.

On the other side of the coffee/caffeine haze, you’ll be happier. Your tummy will be happier. You will thank me.

You’re welcome.