353 days since I quit smoking (and why you shouldn’t do it)

Maybe I truly never thought too much about how many days have passed by.

But as I am back in that place where out of the blue, one morning, I said Alright, I don’t want to smoke anymore! I feel I need to write down my reflections about it.

I started smoking that I was not even 14. Last year, 353 days ago, I had just turned 32 years old.

I didn’t have a reason to quit.

Isn’t this what a lot of smokers do though, looking for a reason to get them brave enough to say – I quit and that’s it? Isn’t looking for a reason in general, what we all humans need, before we step into something new, or difficult, or bigger, in our own lives?

That said, I believe that the kind of smoker can make a big difference in this kind of perpetual decision. I was the stubborn smoker. I was the one with way more tobacco I ever needed. I was the one always stressing on my right to smoke everywhere and as much as I wanted. My relationship with tobacco was intimate and loyal. I just loved making my rollies, especially when my mug was filled with hot coffee and I was about to dive into deep conversations with other people. And throughout all these years, I have always seen myself as one thing with tobacco. I never tried to quit because I truly enjoyed it.

Why would you quit something that you like, after all?

Sorry, but for a smoker like me, healthy reasons aren’t playing music for my ears.

I believe that there are a thousand things that we actually do which are unhealthy. We live unhealthy habits and lots of times we deliberately choose out of rationale unhealthy people, words, actions. The thing that probably makes truly different smoking from other unhealthy stuff is that it’s a border line crossing with our own and other people’s freedom. Because I have never heard anyone eating salad complaining about the neighbor’s junk food while sitting on his right side – out of something different than envy.

I think that we all have some sort of power on our own destiny based on decisions but for sure there are things going beyond our control. At this regard, I don’t think that having quit smoking will necessarily make me live longer. I know perfectly healthy and functioning human beings at the age of 85 who smoke still 40 cigarettes a day, without filter. Cigarettes for sure don’t help but neither sitting your ass in front of a TV every evening after work with a couple of beers and no chance of movement at all for the next 30 years of your life.

So now that I did not touch a cigarette for almost a year, I don’t mind sitting among smokers. A lot of places I like are populated by smokers (in places like Portugal or Greece this still happens) but you know what, I truly don’t care anymore. It’s like when you decide to cut with food to lose weight.

Would you still eat a cake if this would be on the table and no one would be looking at you?

I believe this is what truly weakens a decision, or simply will never make it in the long run.

You have to choose it because you want it, not because it is convenient, or healthy or because someone else says you should do it. If you want to start a diet but in the middle of the night sneak into the kitchen to steal bread and cheese – I am sorry – I think it is just a waste of time and energy what you are doing. Wait for the moment you will be ready or just enjoy this eating and go for a walk every day.

I was such a stubborn smoker that the ones I truly avoided were the ex-smokers. Every smoker hates ex-smokers because they always go on talking with a god-like tone as if now they have all the rights to say how bad it is. Surely is bad. Don’t you think that a smoker knows it enough on his or her own skin?

So I will never encourage my friends to quit smoking because those people were the ones I truly avoided when all I could think after a meal was sipping a coffee and having a couple of spliffs. But if you are curious to read what I gained since I quit smoking, please feel free to keep reading.

I love smelling my clothes and my hair.

I love going to bed with the room smelling Lavanda spray and not tobacco (yes, I was also the one smoking the last cigarette lying on the bed with my eyes closed).

My hangovers are a hundred times more bearable because I don’t feel intoxicated by nicotine.

My skin is amazing, especially on my face. I felt it already the day after I quit.

I love going for a run and feeling my lungs happy. I can assure you that you breathe and you feel oxygen flowing everywhere as suddenly windows are open inside a house after years of mold and dust. (Did I actually mention that when exiting the gym, rolling a cigarette was more important than checking my phone?)

And I can’t stress enough on this one: I LOVE eating. My tongue little by little lost a layer which prevented my taste buds to discover every pleasure that food gives us unconditionally. After years of gym and eating lean fats, zero sugars and almost-counting-calories groceries and fucking boring meals, I can tell you that now Ifuckingloveating! 🙂

The fun part is now though.

How did you actually stop smoking? A friend of mine asked just two days ago while we were having dinner in a tavern here, surrounded by all sort of food, white wine and the best olive oil I ever had in the last couple of months.

The last evening before flying back to Holland last year, I was having dinner with some people and my throat was very sore. I was not feeling good but I was not sick either. The morning after, I remember I woke up with the same feeling. I remember I missed my bus to go to the city from where I had to catch my plane, so I hitchhiked. A guy took me in his van and he was very young, but looking way older than he was. He smiled at me and his teeth were all black. As I lit my cigarette with his lighter, I told him

You know, this is the last cigarette of my life.

Once I got in the city, before heading to the airport I visited a friend of mine. Her boyfriend smokes so I gave her my tobacco, my lighter, my filters and my papers. As quickly as I am typing these words, I made it. I felt all that tobacco like concrete inside my taste buds. I washed and brushed my tongue for fifteen minutes and I said to myself never EVER again.

And this time, I kept my word.

Smoking is a caress we do towards ourselves. I think is a kind of solace.

Even though I never thought of the possibility of myself as a non-smoker, I am truly happy one day my body started to reject the tobacco. It was the only way for me to quit and I am happy I allowed it to happen.

So I don’t have tips for you because I think you shouldn’t quit smoking today unless you truly feel like doing it. (You know better than me how easily tomorrow you will buy cigarettes again).

It is not a fairy tale that listening to our inner desires means living a more harmonic life. But the only one we should be in harmony with is just ourselves. I highly suggest you to forget all the rest, even in your own worst choices, you are the one who is still in charge of your life and no one else.

If there is something I believe you should do, as a general thing, it’s loving yourself more. Maybe, I hope for you, one day your body as well will tell you to quit, as it did with me.


One comment

  1. 👏👏👏👏👏 pleasant read for every smoker


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