This time of year is always festive for me – It’s the time of year for my birthday, the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo (which were all absolutely great by the way). And as if that’s not cause enough to celebrate, today also marks two years since I purchased my last pack of cigarettes. Happy anniversary to the best good riddance!
I’m not one to bash other people for their decisions to drink or smoke – so if you do, hey, I get it. God knows I hated the hypocrites that constantly nagged me for smoking while they drank themselves into stupors or binged on fast food or “diet” soda. Everyone’s got something I guess. But I will say, for me, this has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It opened up my eyes to everything else and created a chain reaction from one healthy decision to another. I lost my grandfather and countless other loved ones over the years to cancer – most of which can be linked to smoking. Now that I have a family of my own I want to make sure I am here for as long as I can be.
Turning 30 started a whirlwind of changes in my life that were put into place with the intent of building a better me – Shedding my dependency on nicotine (along with all of the other deadly chemicals that are found in most brands today) and also caffeine. Granted I had a very good reason to abandon my love affair with Marlboro Man – Getting pregnant will make you realize pretty quickly everything unhealthy you’re doing to yourself. Before then I lived on coffee and cigarettes. And quitting everything cold turkey created a pretty tumultuous couple of first weeks but one thing I realized throughout my entire pregnancy after that was that if we all lived as if we were pregnant (avoiding all the things we don’t want to harm our unborn children) we would all be so much healthier. Theoretically you would think the concept would be a given – If it’s not safe to consume while pregnant or good for our children to ingest then why should we? So now, two years later, I am still trying to live by that philosophy. I am much more conscious of the food I am putting into our bodies; Clean eating and sticking to fresh, healthy choices for me and my family; Drinking alcohol and caffeine very rarely if at all (and only in very small amounts if/when I do) and; Paying attention to my body and what it needs more. When we bury our systems with these unnatural things – be it stimulants, medications, drugs, fast food, preservatives, etc – we are burying our ability to be in tune with our bodies and how they naturally thrive.
When you’re young you think you’ll just live forever and that there are no consequences to your actions. Having a child brought about some essential and fundamental changes in the way I treat myself and my body. I can’t say I’ve ever been “happy” with my body but I sure do respect it a hell of a lot more than I used to. And it’s not to say that I didn’t value my life before then but after 30 I think you definitely begin to value it more. I realize now more than ever just how very “mortal” I am and how short our time here is. It’s important to take care of the planet while we’re here but it’s equally as important to take care of ourselves while we are here too. It’s not just about living but about living well. Quality of life.
As twisted as it may sound, I still keep this last pack of cigarettes in my console. It’s not a torture tactic as much as it is a symbol. It reminds me every day that every day – even though I could easily light one up – I continue to make the choice not to smoke and live every day putting my health first. And as much as I enjoyed a cigarette then, it’s not even a challenge now to avoid it. Every day we are all faced with hurdles and choices. It’s not always easy to make the right ones but this reminds me that when we continue to make the right choices, they eventually become the easier choice.
Hey – Wanna help make a difference?
This year my husband, daughter and I are participating in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life again with our family. This will be the fourth year for our team (and the second for Adri). If you want to help make a difference in the fight against cancer and show some support for me and my family, you can make a donation by visiting our page HERE. Together we can make a difference!