Tomorrow, I will be Today, I have been a nonsmoker for a whole year. No cheating. Cold turkey. In the middle of doing yoga on a Tuesday.
That is not to say I haven’t craved it. Oh, I have. Just the other day, I said “Why the hell did I quit smoking? That was pretty much the dumbest idea EVER.”
You can thank my job and my irrational fear of death.
Listening to the juicy details of someone’s progressive decline through chemotherapy, hospice care, and eventual death on a daily basis tends to plants seeds of terror in one’s mind.
So starting to smoke again is sort of a nonissue with me. I know I never will. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t piss me right the fuck off. On at least a weekly basis.
I started smoking when I was 15 years old, so it had been a while, but I was only a half-pack a day smoker, thankfully. What’s bizarre is that I haven’t noticed a difference in anything except my self-respect. Well, that and my kids are much happier with me.
No difference in my running. Or breathing. Or immune system. I never had any coughing or chronic bronchitis. I was terribly worried about my skin, though. I don’t know if it was affected or not, but I worried. I have always been a pathological tooth-brusher, so my teeth are already a bit unnaturally white. I never smoked in the house, EVER. I didn’t smoke during either of my pregnancies, either, but damn if I didn’t bum a cigarette off my Mom and sneak into the hospital fire exit stairs while my C-section staples were still fresh.
I’m feeling a bit nostalgic as the seasons change. Because I never smoked inside, sitting outside on the porch was my thing. A respite. In the middle of some unholy boring or stressful shit, I could just stop everything and go outside and suck down some noxious, deadly poison for a few sacred moments. And then I would come back inside calm and renewed, albeit a few minutes closer to a miserable death.
I’m not naive enough to believe I’ve reduced my chance of lung cancer to nil. But at least I can say I did what I could. At least I’ve shown my kids that I give a shit whether or not they have to take time out of their adult lives to watch their mother spiral down into a pin-cushioned and hairless shell of her former self for 3 or 4 years until she dies, unrecognizable and wracked with pain. No kid should have to see that shit.
Anyway. I’m not going to be an obnoxiously self-righteous former smoker. I don’t care whether you quit or not. I’m not going to quote statistics to you. And I am not going to post bullshit pics on facebook about legislation to ban smoking in public places. Because I honestly don’t think it should be.
Straight up, though. Smoking sucks balls. It’s a ridiculous little human vice that just proves every day how stupid and weak our species really is. So fragile and flawed, it is a wonder anyone actually believes we are at the top of the food chain. Wait, no. We are at the top of the food chain. Why? Nothing more or less than our potential for destruction.
With that being said, I shall resolve to one day be remembered as one human who created more than she destroyed. And to spend my sacred moments taking long, deep breaths and being grateful for them.