Thursday, July 26, 2007

Change (or, how to stop smoking)

I think a lot about change. How does it happen? What makes it happen for some and not others? Why does tragedy become the watershed event leading to greater happiness and fulfillment in the lives of some, and a dead end for others?

The other day my son asked me how I stopped smoking. I just stopped. I'd struggled for years, had stopped for two whole years before, and had greatly decreased my dependence. I didn't want him to see me smoking and I knew he was getting to an age where I would soon be unable to hide it. I decided that when he "graduated" from kindergarten, I'd stop. And I did.

I suggest to people that they pick certain times, places or situations in which they smoke, and just stop in those certain times, places, etc. Often I get "oh I can't do that." Why not? That's the thing, isn't it, sometimes you just have to suck it up and get with the program.

I love to see people make these choices and make change happen in their lives. Nobody said it would be easy. Or fun. Or painless. It sucks to have nicotine withdrawal. But the alternatives are bleak: stagnation, dissatisfaction, stinky clothes, cancer. These are not fun either. It's so difficult to choose the unknown, even when the known isn't all that great. It's also liberating and exhilarating at times. Go for it. PS You find you have a tremendous amount of extra time when you quit smoking.

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