It’s been about three weeks since I’ve last had a cigarette. I decided to quit — not because of health reasons since I don’t give a fuck about my health — but because I was bored. I wanted to be challenged, and nothing is more challenging than trying to abruptly stop an addiction. Now making stuff and doing art/design work does stimulate me intellectually, but to quit smoking after 7 years would be a whole new undertaking.
The first three days were physically rough: it wasn’t as if I craved nicotine, it’s just that I’ve been coughing non-stop. I could only assume the chemicals in my body were starting to clear up, and the alveoli inside my lungs had started to repair themselves. For the longest time, my lungs are acclimating themselves to fresh air. On top of that, I’ve been coughing up brownish phlegm — physical remnants of my life as a smoker.
I’ll admit I do miss smoking now, but for purely psychological reasons. Having a solitary cigarette was a way to completely isolate myself from the world and just think. No one was there to bother me; it was just me, a plume of smoke, and my thoughts. When I had a cigarette, I excused myself with whatever I was doing, and I gave myself the few minutes to do a lot of thinking and introspective analysis: what should I do next? How am I feeling today? What can I do to make my life better? Now, I need to find a legitimate reason to be alone and momentarily away from work, friends, or obligations just to find that inner peace and retrospection. Maybe I’ll take longer bathroom breaks. Maybe I’ll start chewing on toothpicks so I won’t look weird standing outside by myself and essentially appearing to do nothing.
Still, the health benefits are starting to materialize: I no longer have a hard time breathing when it comes to moderate exercise. I no longer wake up in the morning and cough to the point where I felt I was going to throw up. I’ve even saved a few extra dollars not buying a pack of cigarettes from my local bodega. Of course, we’ll see how long this lasts. My most prolonged stint of not smoking in the past 7 years was five months — and guess why I started to smoke again? I was bored.
Keep your fingers crossed that I don’t get bored again.