Smoking and MeTwenty years ago on this day, and few weeks after my 18th birthday, I lit my first cigarette. I proudly called myself an occasional smoker until realization one day that each day had become an occasion. I have been a smoker since then.
Being a healthy kid and an avid runner/swimmer, I wasn’t plagued with the common problems exhibited by other smokers my age. In fact I was physically more fit than most non-smokers. I took great pride racing my non-smoking friends up twenty flights of stairs and I could still participate and win long distance races followed by a leisurely smoke when I finished college.
I ignored parental advice against this habit. The girl who mattered most to me in the world (and still does), for reasons of her own didn’t have an opinion. She later became my fiancée and has been my wife for 13 ½ years. She did have an opinion a year into the marriage, but I didn’t want to give up something that I truly relished and enjoyed. Her protests however were few and far between due to a known ‘stubborn as mule’ nature of mine. And I never contemplated quitting.
For reasons, I am not going to list here I realized this weekend that I am truly fortunate to enjoy good health despite abusing my lungs for two decades with 20+ shots of nicotine each day. And like all decisions in my life, I decided impulsively to give it up. I want to be the gambler who quit when he was ahead. But being a cautious optimist, my strategy was to cut down to four cigarettes a day, and wean myself off slowly.
Today is Day 3 and I am still on track.