I used to write to help me understand my life experiences – especially when I traveled. Creating journals and stories satisfied my need to ‘process.’
I return to that now as a practice I have sorely missed. I expect to dedicate myself to restoring and extending my skills.
First up: The Story of Susan Becoming a Non-smoker.
My father took up smoking at the age of 19 when he was sent off in 1944 to the Battle of Leyte, the largest naval battle in the history of the world. He never gave up the habit, even when he suffered emphysema. Smoking killed him.
I was there to see him off, breathing tubes and all.
His habit influenced all of us in the family. 4 out of my 6 living siblings smokes, including me – ending three days ago. I’d started and stopped many times over the last 20 years or so. Generally, I did my best to be a closet smoker, ashamed that I could not to put down the nasty habit when so many others had abandoned it. Some of my associates must have sniffed it. But, since I was not overt, it all seemed to go unmentioned – except by my daughter and my husband, who both have had their stints as smokers.
I learned an important distinction: smoking is a habit, not an addiction. Addicts go through physical withdrawal; smokers get cranky. The subconscious has successfully overridden the front brain’s protests that smoking is self-inflicted harm on a human body, which already has enough environmental pollutants to contend with.
Most significant for me, smoking repudiates optimism. I have seen and experienced enough unjust shit, seen and heard enough egregious behavior to justify utter and complete pessimism.
However, I don’t have as much time left as I’ve already lived. Being gloomy and cynical isn’t fun. I’d rather pump up optimism, and enjoy the goodness it draws from people.
Ironically, when I slow down, I see details more clearly. The habit of speeding through the days and years no longer appeals.
Day Three as a non-smoker has presented only a few moments that needed ‘management’. My daughter reassured: “You’ve got this.” Yes, yes I do.