Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Milestone(s)

Today is smoke-free day 281. Apparently I've been so busy the past several posts ranting, thinking about my birthday wishes, writing haiku, listening to silly songs and taking pictures that I haven't even stopped to do a quick mention of a milestone that is worth mentioning (worth it to me because I'm always ready to celebrate and/or break my arm patting myself on the ass back).

Do you people realize that I quit smoking just over 9 months ago? Yep. June 18, 2007. Time flies, days string together, pinker lungs fill with fresher air, and my body continues to heal (fingers still crossed that I stopped in time to dodge some long-term consequences - only time will tell). By now, in theory, I've regained 10% lung capacity. In just a few months, my risk of heart attack should be dropped by half. I used to either not care or pretend that I didn't care about any of this health "stuff." I care. I want to live to be an old woman (an old and crotchety kind of woman that tells it how it is and generally just gets my way because it's easier than arguing with me. ahhh. ).

It's been quite the ride since mid-June, some days easier, some days not as easy (peaks, valleys, un-straight lines), but overall all headed towards happier, healthier, stronger, bolder, more empowered and confident (this is almost scary - I could take on the world - heaven help us), and I'm grateful. Lots of people who were doing the Chantix thing and blogging along with me back at the start have rightfully gotten on with their lives and moved past feeling like they need to constantly talk about it, and that's excellent (different people, different paths). Someday I'll get there. I know how I am, though. I have a historic pattern of bullshitting myself and taking up smoking again when I'm not keeping it somewhere near the front of my mind and holding myself accountable and remembering to remember things like the difference in just how one deep breath feels now versus then (excellent!, if you wonder). Blogging has given me an outlet for contemplating and reminding myself of these reasons to stay quit, while also allowing me to meet lots of cool people, some of whom are also on the same used-to-be-a-smoker-now-ain't journey. To those who have ever commented on my blog or ever written one entry on your own blog that I've read about this whole not smoking thing, you have inspired me. I mean that sincerely. Thank you.

This is all still just a day at a time for me because, honestly? No, forever still sounds like a long ass time not to smoke. It just does. I'm being honest. Again, maybe others are different, and I applaud you. I know how I am. And this is how I am. And I'm perfectly content 112% with me and how I am. I still have moments when I'd love to smoke without consequence (though fewer and much further between and *so* much more easily dismissed), but I know that the toughest part of the battle is behind me, and that fills me with delight. This is still almost easy, and that still remains to be more than plenty.

The other milestone that I can't help but mention is that today marks one full month since the start of "the apartness," and I'd like to report that absence truly does make the heart grow fonder. No, we still don't know how much longer. At least a few more months, and then probably another few more beyond those, if I had to guess. All subject to change, of course, to keep things interesting. Thankfully we live in an age of text messaging, blogging, email, unlimited long distance phone calls and flat rate mailing on heavy care packages in case I need to mail silly stuff that normal people simply wouldn't bother to mail. Being a complete silly nut keeps my mind off smoking and makes me smile (Tom, too, I hope).

10 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your milestones!!! I know how hard it's been, and I'm truely proud of you. Keep going strong :-)

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  2. I keep trying to comment Maggie and keep getting an error..........damn, one of those Mondays!!!

    Congratulations on your continued Quit!!
    I know you're going to make it because you want it, you made the decision to quit, someone didn't essentially make the decision for you.

    As for the time away from the love of your life.......I'm happy to hear you are making good of the time and that you do understand that you will both grow.
    I've spent about 12-19 months away from the love of my life about 4x during his careers, we survived and have both become better, stronger, and more dedicated.

    Lean on friends and continue to develop yourself during this absence.
    I'm very proud of you Maggie!

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  3. I totally relate with you when you say forever seems like a long time to quit smoking for.

    Every time I quit I feel like it's just something I'm doing and I'll go back to normal (smoking) again in a while.

    The time I quit before my girls were conceived felt truly forever, but when I started again after they were born in July 2006 and my life was in complete turmoil, well, things have never been the same since. I've quit and started three times. A six month quit, a three month quit and then my last quit of 2 weeks.

    I'm starting to feel ready again, but I really need to know that I have peace in my life so that I don't have that feeling of just taking a break for awhile, you know?

    Anyway, that was a comment of novel proportions and completely off topic at that :) Congrats on the milestones!

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  4. Congratulations, Maggie! The way you're going about things seems pretty brilliant to me, and I couldn't agree more that it's different for everyone. My husband and I were both smokers, and while he could pick the habit up and put it back down again repeatedly with little more than a few grumpy days of withdrawals, the first time I finally mustered up the strength to quit it took me the better part of a year to find my way out of what felt like a wilderness. And then after two years of clear lungs? Right back to smoking again. Because I got cocky.

    This time I quit on July 19, 2007 (my 35th birthday) and much like the labor connected with bringing my second child into the world, it was harder but "faster." I'm in that phase now where it seems like I would never in a million years want another cigarette, the cravings are so distant. But I now know this is exactly the time when I'm most vulnerable.

    Anyway, again, congratulations. We both rock.

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  5. Thank you, Brandie! I appreciate it.

    This was definitely a choice I made, MamaFlo, and I remind myself of that when I feel like I'm being punished. I actually WANT this ;)

    Huckdoll, I totally get what you mean. Believe it or not, I once quit for well over a year. It did start to feel more normal not to smoke eventually, but as soon as I went back, it was like going back to an old but completely dysfunctional friend - feeling so very comfortable while also quietly sucking me back into unhealthy. I suspect that feeling might never change entirely and that a part of me may always be a smoker who doesn't smoke anymore, but I'm determined to just keep waking up and deciding not to smoke that day, one day at a time. So trite, but it truly works so well for me. You'll get good and ready, and I'll gladly do whatever I can to be supportive when you do - even if that means backing the hell off ;)

    Wow, K, you quit right about the same time I did. Yep, I've gone back to smoking in the past after long periods of time because I got cocky and often added alcohol to the mix. This quit hasn't been nearly as tough for me, either, partly because I think I know more what to expect, like just knowing that wanting to smoke is something that truly does pass and get easier. In any case, I'm subscribed to the one day at a time plan, and I am thrilled for you success as well!

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  6. Maggie congrats on yet another milestone!!!!
    Im getting there with ya......It show me as 35 weeks and 6 days today!!!!!

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  7. Congrats Maggie. You are my hero!
    I'm still at a measly day 15 but I'm working on it.
    I seriously needed to read this blog after the day I had at work today. It had a nice calming effect

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  8. Yay, Tabatha! You are right behind me. So awesome.

    Jude, I think your first 15 days have probably required far more effort than my last 15 days since it's tougher at the start, so I wouldn't say they are measly at all. I'm impressed as hell, and I'm hoping tomorrow is a smoother day!

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  9. Congrats on your milestone! I am sure it is a hard road to travel, but I am glad you are traveling it and with such support from the great comments section. Here's to another 9 months and then another, etc.....

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  10. Maggie, you are amazing! I hope there will be many, many more months when you wake up to days that get healthier and healthier!

    As you said, time flies, and I wish you two, guys, reunite soon! Thank God, for technology! Just to think how life was 10 years ago is kind of scary - so much has changed in JUST a decade. What is it going to be like in 10 more years??

    Best wishes as always...your friend.

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