17 March 2008
On a Clear Day...
Sunday afternoon, CSB took me up to Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. In the hills above Oakland (or is that considered Berkeley?), we walked up to Round Top, and took in the view. It was such a clear day, not only could you see every bit of Mt. Diablo, but, out to the wind farms along highway 12 (on the way to Rio Vista), and beyond... all the way to the snowy peaks of the Sierras. It was breathtaking.
In more ways than one.
Three-quarters of the way up the hill, I began to wheeze. Literally gasping for air, and still trying to maintain some semblance of dignity in front of him.
"What? Me? No, not dying... breathing... overrated... be fine... just... looking at the stars and spots dancing before my eyes...oooohhhh pretty....."
Obviously I survived. Most of my body is strong. Later that night, yeah, my legs were a little sore... but in a good way (and even that went away really quickly). My lungs. Apparently not so much.
I never meant to smoke for this many years. In fact, the first time I "quit" was exactly when I planned to, my 21st birthday, AFTER the weekend in Vegas. I promised myself I would quit smoking 12 years ago. Don't get me wrong, its not like I haven't tried, and had really long stretches of success... I've quit for a year, twice.
Smoking is the one big weakness in my life that I am actually embarrassed about. And, it's way past time for it to go away. Yesterday, after coming off the hill, I threw away most of a pack of cigarettes (and a lighter), and didn't smoke for the rest of the day. Today is St. Patrick's day (which means drinking, and I don't think Guinness and will power go together so well). Tomorrow morning, I give myself one week of "cutting down" (which basically means I'm going to go down to five or less a day). After that week, done. Once I've completed my first successful week, I will join a gym (because, I am pretty sure I can join a gym for a year, and "weekly" it will cost me about the same -if not less- than a carton of cigarettes). By July 1 I will be able to take that walk again, and not have to talk myself through the process of breathing deeply so I don't hyperventilate.
I'm young (*shaddup smarty pants, I am too*).
And, I have a lot of stuff I still want to do.
And, I really want to be breathing when I do it.
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Smoking almost killed my dad and still might. He went from somebody who commuted to and from work by bicycle, literally climbed mountains, and played college soccer to somebody who can not walk 10 feet without gasping with his hands on his knees for 3 minutes afterwards. It has seriously limited his life. He can not leave his house, sometimes he will actually piss his pants because he does not have the wind to walk 10 feet, and he looks about 25 years older than he really is. Smoking about a pack a day from the age of 18 did that to him. He is not even strong enough to pick up his grandson. It makes me sad and angry to think about it. So, I hope that you have the strength and power to quit. IT will be worth whatever discomfort that is caused by quitting initially. It took a doctor chewing my dad out and telling him to not to bother coming back unless he quit in addition to a near death hospital stay.
The thing about quitting smoking is that you have to really be ready to quit smoking, you have to be really willing to make the commitment, and you have to really want to quit.
You can't say, I'll start tomorrow, because being a former smoker, I know that there are a month of tomorrows. You have to start immediately, and you have to go cold turkey. Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.
I quit cold turkey on June 15, 2003 and haven't looked back since.
Good luck and stick to your guns.
Chantix. OR however it's spelled. Ask your doctor.
Good for you.
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