New Year’s musings OR The fog clears – confessions of an ex-smoker

Lisa - Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Entered on December 24, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
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The eve of yet another year is just days away and I can’t help but be reminded of the adage, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same.’

The abandoned resolutions of eves gone by still dance in my head; the children’s book is still half finished, the promise to recon-nect with many of my family and friends in the Nutmeg state that will always be so near and dear to my heart, the healthy lifestyle I was go-ing to adopt, that one day a week when I would do anything I wished – no matter where it would take me or how much time I needed, the separate bank account I was open-ing to be fed weekly so a close bud of mine and I could head to Mexico with our “large shakers of salt” for a week…

But, of all the resolutions I have ever made, (except, of course, for the “boycott years,”) and eventu-ally betrayed, the one that has beaten me every time was…the demon weed – cigarettes.

Ahhhh, but what about blowing those smoke rings (particularly af-ter reading the Hobbit trilogy in the early 1970s – the high school years), what about the pure con-tentment derived from that first drag with coffee, after dinner, while cocktailing, talking on the phone, after mowing the lawn, do-ing the dishes…gardening…the list goes on and on because it is not un-til we “release the monkey” that we discover just how much of a time-consuming, thought-monopolizing, puppeteer he was.

But, hey, what about that para-phernalia? It’s also about props, right? The fabulous array of lighter colors and patterns, the interesting ashtray options (scallop shells, standard glass, Pyrex cups, monkey dishes…), tobacco flavors, tooth whiteners, industrial strength air fresheners, cough drops…humph.

It would seem the paraphernalia is sounding tarnished and expen-sive as well as time consuming.

So. What’s an addict to do? How do you finally end a love-hate rela-tionship for the last time?

Quitting, prior to the last five years, had always been easy for me. I simply would grow tired of the taste, having all the actions of my day be dictated by tobacco and his number one sidekick, nicotine. And, I would not smoke for two, three, four years…it was always about control…I guess.

And then one day or night, when yet another crisis wrapped its in-sidious arms around my heart and mind, I would make haste for a store and hear myself asking for a pack of smokes…

So, what’s different? What makes this time “the living end?”

I asked myself the very same question and came up with a Top 16 list of why I quit cigarettes (see, you put it in a present-tense – it’s a key to faking out yourself) and at the top of the list was that they are slowly killing me.

And, surprise, surprise, that “control thing” came up again, be-ing around to annoy, confound, love and support my daughters Kassia and Melanie – and my Shih Tzu Merlyn – were the top 3 rea-sons.

Oh, and did I mention that I am now 51?

So, this year, with the weight of my uncommonly good common sense leaning on my conscience, I found myself prompted into action!

Why wait for December 31 I asked myself. How has that ever worked out for me? Seriously.

I chose, instead, to banish the smoke on December 13. Sure, the digits are the same, but 13 is a su-perior number – right?

Think about it. There are 13 joints in the human body; 13 lunar cycles in a solar year and the 13th card in the Tarot deck is death – which also signifies rebirth and re-newal.

As I write this, my body has been a smoke-free zone for seven days now. My chance for a heart attack has decreased, my nerve endings have started regrowing, and my ol-factory and taste senses are already enhanced!

Sounds like a whole lotta rebirth-ing and renewal a-goin’ on!

I am the little blue engine that could, traveling a trail that keeps getting curiouser and curiouser, but I will stop and smell the poppies, I will indulge in a bit of Turkish De-light if I choose (and enjoy it more), and I will think about all of these things – and others – again and again, because tomorrow is an-other day and I WILL be here to share it with everyone I love.