Monday, August 08, 2005

I Can

Today I embark upon a journey which I have been putting off for a long time. Even the preparations for this journey have been dragged out far longer than necessary. I have started the trip a few times before but always fell short of my destination... and I haven't even tried in years.

I'm quitting smoking.

Eight or nine years ago, my grandmother, Ra, was lecturing me one day about how I needed to quit. She wanted to prove a point, so she asked my aunt, who had quit ten years prior, the following question: If you knew you had only one month to live, and nothing you did would change that, would you smoke any cigarrettes? Ra did not get the answer she expected. "Absolutely," said my aunt, "It's probably the first thing I would do. I would start smoking again right then and there. I love smoking."

That's not the answer Ra wanted, but it was the honest answer, and the far more meaningful and helpful answer when one considers quitting. Ten years removed from quitting, my aunt still loves it. The fact that I love smoking is quite irrelevant, and I should never expect to stop loving it. People love crack, too, or so I've heard. That doesn't mean they should give into the urge to do it.

The thing about smoking which is most insiduous is its constant presence in daily life. It's calming, but at the same time does very little. This makes it ok to do whenever one can break free for a few minutes. It can give you an excuse for a break, in fact, and it can be a social "activity". It's become increasingly less convenient in public, which should make things easier for me. The hardest, for me, is in the car. I just have the constant urge to light up there.

Unfortunately there are so many BAD things about smoking... but none of them make much of a difference when you want a cigarrette. People who have never been addicted to nicotine don't seem to understand this. Anyone who has ever been a regular smoker can tell you they've gotten at least a hundred lectures from well-intentioned individuals who just have no clue that they're wasting their breath. No one quits smoking without REALLY wanting to. Sure, there are those lucky people who just decide one day, and that's that... never the worse for wear. I don't fully trust those tales, to be honest. But I guess willpower has never been my strong suit.

Still, it's time for me to quit. I'm ready, and I'm willing, and I'm able. Stay tuned.


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