I recently passed a major milestone.
Not 30. Or 40 (as some would guess).
Instead I passed my one year non-smoking birthday. I knew it was coming and was somewhat excited, but I wasn’t sure what my actual thoughts about it were until it passed.
I felt a little disappointed in myself. Strange to say, but you’ll understand shortly. I wasn’t disappointed in the fact that I haven’t picked up even one cigarette since March 28, 2013. I was a smoker for over 15 years. I did not quit cold turkey, I used a prescription commonly called Champix. I wasn’t disappointed in myself for relying on a non-smoking aid.
I was disappointed that I don’t have something monetary to show for the massive amounts of money I saved over the past year. Assuming I had kept on smoking at my usual rate, which was just over a pack a day (shame shame), and lets do some loosy-goosy math here. Say nine packs a week at 52 weeks at $10.50 per pack is $4,914. What? Almost $5,000. And I’m probably lowballing, because I have no idea what cigarettes are worth now.
So what do I have to show for it?
I have a longer life span. It’s pretty well researched that smoking kills earlier. I’m not going to get into that, but I will live longer than smokers, so I will probably earn money longer as my health should allow me to continue working, possibly past retirement age. So I will probably reap some benefits there.
I have no cigarette burns in my clothing. Not that this happened often, but windbreakers and ashes don’t mix well, so I probably saved several outfits. Maybe some car upholstery. Maybe some dry cleaning costs for smoke-removal.
I have the respect of my 11-year-old daughter. I don’t know that this is worth much now, but when that darling girl gets older and starts to see her peers doing new things, hopefully she won’t see smoking as a necessary “growing up” phase.
I have not had to stand outside in -50 C this year. This alone is worth it’s weight in gold. I used to say (as a smoker).. “When winter comes I’m going to have to cut back, this is ridiculous”. Well, yes it’s ridiculous, but no — I never once actually cut back. I just wore more clothes, or sat in a smoker’s car with the heat on, or huddled shivering in a cluster with other smokers, like a group of penguins hiding from the wind.
I have gained lung capacity. This took awhile, and I did have to start some physical activities to see major improvements. But now I am proud to say that I can sing a full Eminem song, without becoming winded and lightheaded. This is especially important and valuable, because nothing is “cooler” to an 11-year-old than a mom who can rap.
I have had disposable income to be able to invest in things like activities and clothing, extra cookies and popcorn for family movie nights, the rare but not extinct “dinner out” with family, the canteen or book club money for the kids.
It was never really about the money, but it was. So when you decide that you’ve had enough of smoking, make yourself some goals. They don’t have to be realistic. My goals weren’t. But I did find out there’s a lot more to life.