Thursday, April 10, 2014

An old dog with some new tricks.

A couple of days ago I was asked what I thought was the biggest change I had ever made in my life and what it did for me.

If you count all the moves I’ve made over the years, the different careers, the varying hairstyles (from buzz cut to waist-length, from eggplant to blonde), there would be many to choose from.  These have all been visible, and some quite dramatic.  But the one I chose for our conversation was my decision to quit smoking over four years ago.

I hated that I smoked, but I loved smoking.  My kids and family hated it too and I always felt terrible doing something that I knew really bothered them. For me it was a social lubricant and in some cases a smokescreen to hide what I didn’t want people to perceive – that I wasn’t cool, that I was just a nerd. If I smoked, people wouldn’t see that.

I had tried many times to quit, and mostly white-knuckled my way through the process.  Hypnosis, acupuncture, reward/punishment techniques, and sheer willpower was brought to bear.  Nothing worked.  At least not for long.

And then one day, I just decided that the person who was smoking wasn't me.  I no longer needed any external accoutrements to cause people to think a certain way about me. Not only that, but it really didn't matter what people thought.  That was the nugget. It only took four decades to figure that one out.

But what was really important to me was not just the obvious health benefit.  It showed me that I had the capability of evolving my ways in spite of my belief that I was who I was and ain’t nuttin’ gonna change.

This has had a profound effect on other parts of my life. It seems once I got it into my head that anything was possible, letting go of other habits became easier. What may be subtle to others, is hugely apparent to me but I’m not attached to whether or not anyone notices.  I do, and that’s what counts.

I’m not talking about physical habits like nail biting. It’s more about realizing that I can change the way I respond to life in general.  I’m much more relaxed, safe in the knowing that most of the stuff that I used to react to has nothing to do with me.  My ability to handle stressful situations has gone from anxiety attacks to rolling with the punches and recognizing when it’s simply not mine to do or worry about.

A very wise friend reminded me that I’m not the only one with a “To Do” list.  The universe has one too, and I’m permitted to put some of my stuff on that list instead of my own.

I don’t know if this happens to everyone as they approach the last third of their lives, but for me it is a blessing.  I already am appreciating why people rave about hitting 60. 

For me it’s just a beginning.  I’m looking forward to it.

Branded by pre-birthday excitement,

Love Buns

P.S.  Here’s a little ditty to add to the mix…

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