Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spring, Revisited for the First Time

Today is smoke-free day 297, spring is in the air (with a subject to change but currently forecasted weekend of 70's and sunshine - yes, here, in Oregon, I know, wow), and I feel so good greeting this spring. Honestly, I can't even imagine that I've ever experienced a spring before this one, and even if it sounds goofy to say it out loud, blogging has been a part of the reason.


It has.

Writing Revisited
Most days now I take the time to think about various aspects of my life ranging from serious to silly, and then I put at least one of them into words. Just the act of sitting down and focusing on something enough to write about it and then following it up by actually doing said writing just feels good for the brain. Bonus points if I get to have fun and exercise my weak and flabby creative muscle doing things like Haiku Friday (in particular, very recently, when I got pretty deep and personal about my blooming on the inside this spring) or Thursday Thirteen or Heads or Tails because each helps me to think outside my usual box. I've always loved to write, but this joy had fallen to the wayside after college, long forgotten and something I'd feared had just seeped forever gone into the soil wherever it was that it was lost and buried. Spring has sprung, and lo and behold, this joy is still there and becoming alive again, and I'm grateful.

Lens of Love Revisited
I've also noticed that I actually notice the world around me now, in large part because of blogging and being involved with something started by another blogger. Crazy, I know. Sincerely, though, the Sunday Weekly Winners idea that Lotus started has changed the way I see my world, and I honestly look so forward all week to Sunday because it's become my favorite blog day of the week. When Tom and I fell in love, I took some of the first creative (by my novice standards, anyway) pictures I've ever taken (someday I'll share them - remind me) because I was goofy in love with that whole sappy and inspired thing that goes on when you see things for the first time through the googly eyes of l-o-v-e. I also found out that I enjoy taking pictures, but it wasn't something I did regularly or anywhere close to daily.

Now I take literally hundreds of pictures throughout the week instead of just that many in a good year (side note: love the whole digital camera no need to get prints thing, love that Tom carefully and so thoughtfully researched based on my desires/needs/knowledge and bought me an awesome camera a few Christmases ago with a battery that recharges in the wall so that I can afford to snap to my heart's content - and that it's got a cute name like "elph," since I'm little). See, I see stuff now because my eyes are open.

This spring is honestly the first time I noticed certain stages of growth in trees around me. Seriously. The ladies I walk with thought I was nuts (probably on top of vocally opinionated), but sure enough, some of the shots I took a few weeks back won't be the same until next spring. Of course, I know this from my Japan days and how Ohanami (Cherry Blossom Festival) is such a big deal because the beauty is so fleeting, but I didn't realize how much this goes beyond just the Cherry Blossom. Then I see pictures like Mishelle's, and I'm inspired again that there is so very much more for me to learn and explore because her photographs are so beautiful and creative that they make me want to kiss her someday take a class or something. Now, even if dear Lotus isn't quite my Tom, I'm grateful to her because her idea has reminded me of that inspired feeling when I fell in love and to remember how to view the world, especially this amazing first I've ever really noticed spring, through that "whole new world" lens.

Quitting Smoking Revisited
I've quit smoking a few times in the past only to start again (even after over a year quit), but here I was almost 10 months ago dreading the thought of going through the agonizing process of quitting smoking again (because I knew how agonizing it is - it plain sucks, no pun) and, therefore, finding it easier to just keep smoking even if I didn't want to anymore, when my dear friend J told me about Chantix, and made me think again about ballsing up and trying this quitting thing again already. If you read my blog, you'll know that so far, so good.

I don't know why I decided to start blogging about my Chantix experience, but I did, and that's really when this whole thing with me blogging regularly began, and it's kind of evolved from just my experience quitting smoking into the above kinds of self discovery and expression (sounds kind of hippie when I put it that way, which is funny if you know me and my non-hippie-ness). See, I've had this blog since, oh, 2004, but I only wrote 4 posts that year, 8 posts the next, 21 in 2006, and then, boom, 325 in 2007, already this 94th post this year because now I'm loving it. I've met one of you fellow Chantix bloggers in person, talked to another (one of my favorites) on the phone a few times, emailed back and forth with a few and filled in vague gaps about "the apartness" that I can't share as publicly on the blog (but don't mind sharing in an email), and I generally feel like I have made some friends with others who used to smoke but are now doing this same not smoking thing like me (lots of those folks listed over there on the side). I also feel like I've supported and, hopefully, been supportive. I've felt connected to real people on this journey, and I'm grateful. My blog is where I keep track of my days quit because it works for me (for some it's easiest not to count, and that's cool, too, knowing my thoughts about different paths and whatnot), and nothing fills me with the spirit of spring like taking deep breaths of fresh and new and green and beautiful into my happy pinker lungs.

What I'm Getting at Above Revisited
Whether my writing sucks complete ass or my pictures are blindingly ugly, I do know that I'm loving the hell out of experiencing spring for the first time this year because, as dramatic as it sounds, it's true that today I'm choosing to embrace life. My life. There was a time I wouldn't have dreamed it because I actually once upon a time long ago thought I hated my life. Today, every time I walk outside and see spring happening, I'm reminded that I have so much to live for and that this life is mine to live, to embrace, to write about, to take pictures of and to enjoy one smoke free day at a time. I do get it when people sometimes find that blogging takes over their lives, but luckily for me up to this point, blogging has actually inspired me to better open my eyes to appreciate and enjoy my life, humble though it may be, and to experience what feels like my first spring.

If you've read this whole long ass post, thank you. I would write and post pictures and talk about my happy lungs anyway, but having an audience really does add something nice to the experience. So, thank you for reading. Today and always, or whenever it is that you read. As some guy boy I "went out with" in junior high used to say, "you're tits." (I think he always meant it in a good way; I know I definitely do.)


  1. I have a kiss waiting just for you!! XXOO You are good people, Maggie, and I'm better for knowing you.

  2. Maggie, I would love to see one of your creative "in Love" pictures! E-mail me! I am so glad that you are feeling spring in the air. It has been a bit on the cold side but its ok.

  3. Great Post Maggie! You summed up so many topics in this post. I didn't know actually that you had tried and then returned to smoking so many times - Wow! This is my first real attempt and I just can not for the life of me consider going back (I'm sure you felt the same way and that's what's scaring the bejesus out of me).
    Anyway, I've so enjoyed reading your posts and admiring your photos and hopefully getting to know someone new. It's almost frightening to think we do so much socializing on the internet in place of face to face contact.
    You've given me great support and encouragement and for that you will always be a friend.
    I look forward to following your life (and maybe meeting you one day) - Don't even consider stopping blogging.

  4. It's the rare blog post that will make me look down at my own chest. You freakin' rock dude.

  5. No, man, you're tits!

    Really, Maggie, that was so touching. I was smiling and happy and cheering you on, nodding and agreeing and thinking this is a great post... and then I got to the "What I'm Getting At" section, and reading that made me tear up. Good for you, honey. I'm so happy you're feeling this way!

    By the way, both your writing and your pictures are beautiful.

    AND (as if this comment wasn't long enough) all of you guys who participate in Weekly Winners regularly inspire me so incredibly much that I can't even describe it. I know I'd be taking pictures regardless, but there's something about being a part of WW that's helped me take it to a whole new level and be re-inspired by all of you guys every week.

    And now I'm feeling very emotional and hormonal.

    Let's hug! :-)

  6. Thank you all! It felt really good writing this, and each of you have inspired me.

  7. It's so great to read how blogging has affected your life in such a positive way! Congrats on making it 10 months being smoke-free!!

  8. I loved that, Maggie.

    Thank you for sharing it with us (again) via the blog carnival.

  9. How wonderful get get to know you a bit better (in a more rounded manner) and visit some previous posts I've not read before. I'll be back to read more when time permits, but I wanted to say thanks for sharing who you are in such a lovely way. Methinks Rebecca did us all a favor when she asked Why we blog.

    I answered on my 3rd blog because I'd already posted on the other two earlier on Sunday ;--)
    Hugs and blessings,


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