Becoming a non-smoker…again

Being a single parent is a challenge. Being a single parent of a son when you didn’t even have any brothers in the house…a bigger challenge. It’s a daily challenge though that I enjoy waking up to. If I had to choose one challenge to write about, it would be, becoming a non-smoker again.

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I started smoking when I was 18. I loved it. As an introvert, it gave me something to do in social situations and, once smokers were uncermoniously booted outdoors to smoke, it was how I made new friends and networked. Most smokers are awesome people so my smoke breaks were often my favourite part of the day. I smoked 20 a day. It was a lot. Then I became a mom.

I was always conscious of reeking of smoke when holding my baby but it took a while before it really started bothering me. When he was 4, 9 years ago, I eventually started giving it some serious thought. I did some research and Allen Carr’s Easy way to stop smoking sounded like a method that could get results so I bought the book. It sat on my shelf for another month and a half. I just wasn’t ready. I continued to contemplate it and eventually decided that I would never forgive myself if I got cancer while my son was young and I could possibly have prevented it by giving up then. I was also conscious of the fact that every time I lit up, my hard earned money was going up in smoke! It had to stop. So on a Friday afternoon, towards the end of February, I came home from work. I sorted my son out. Then I lit up a cigerette. Then I opened the book.

I was hooked by the end of the 1st chapter. I smoked as I read. I still wasn’t sure if I was ready to commit. I continued to read and to smoke. Halfway through the book, I stopped reading. It was late and I was tired. I also needed to think through all that I had already read. A lot made sense to me but I still wasn’t ready to commit. I went to bed.

Saturday morning. I can’t wait to start reading further. My poor son had to amuse himself after breakfast while I immersed myself in the book. I could hear ‘clicks’ in my head as I went through it chapter. I wasn’t addicted to smoking I told myself. I was addicted to the nicotine and the cigarette was merely the vehicle. I let these points and a few others marinate in mind while I lit yet another cigarette. By midday I reached the final chapter. I was so nervous. I still didn’t feel ready to commit but I knew I was closer.

I started reading the last chapter. I was encouraged to smoke one more cigarette. It was to be my last. Once I was done I would no longer be a smoker. I was so scared. Before I lit that cigarette, I reasoned through the why’s and how’s of what I was about to commit to. Then I lit the cigarette. I savoured every puff. I finished the book. That was that. It has been almost 9 years to the day and I am still a non-smoker.

The 1st 3-4 days were hard. On the 3rd day I found myself curled up on the couch feeling terribly ill. I asked my munchkin to bear with me that night and he did. I made it through. I kept telling myself that it was nicotine that I was addicted to and not the cigarette and that once the nicotine was out my system I would be ok. It takes Nicotine about 3-4 days to work it’s way out of your blood so I told myself that I just needed to make it through those first few days then the worst would be over.

I have to admit that I still miss my smoking rituals. I enjoyed them. I even investigated nicotine-free electronic cigarettes at one point but there are none that are completely nicotine free. I just wanted to experience the ritual again.

Becoming a non-smoker again was a huge challenge for me and I am very proud that I have achieved it.

Be Bold Enough to Live Life on Your Own Terms

What does it mean to live to boldly? That’s today’s prompt. I have no idea so here goes nothing.

Lets start at the beginning. The Oxford dictionary defines bold as ‘brave and confident; not afraid to say what you feel or to take risks’. In this day and age of social media, where so many are trying to be something they are not, I would say anyone who is not afraid to be true to themselves fits that definition. Why are we so determined to be someone else? Why can’t we just be ourselves? There is far more power, fulfillment and happiness in it.

“Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it.”

Mandy Hale

Not a single one of us is the same as the other. Not even identical twins can claim this. We each have unique traits and talents. Even if you and are both painters and are asked to paint the same picture, our pictures will not be exactly alike because we interpret the world differently based on our experiences. We will therefore interpret the picture differently. Our differences should be celebrated and not criticized as if they were faults. They are not.

If you think of the people who are most memorable in your community, I am willing to be that they are also the most original. They don’t “try” to be original, they just are because they are themselves. They tend to be ‘a breath of fresh air’. They are not perfect and they don’t try to be. They accept themselves as they are. They stand out in the crowd.

I am inspired by Elon Musk for much the same reasons Steve Jobs inspires me. He is supremely confident in what he is capable of and cannot be bothered with the naysayers and the sceptics. He is a dreamer but a practical dreamer and his actions are impactful. Both have moved us forward technologically through their visions. They have not tried to be anyone else but themselves. They have not tried to live anyone else’s dream. They have built on and being inspired by those who went before them but they have not tried to copy them. To be honest, his personality rubs me up the wrong way a bit but that doesn’t take away from the things he has accomplished.

In a nutshell, for me, being bold is having the courage to be yourself and to follow your dreams. Those dreams are God’s wish for you, in fact, I believe His dreams for you are bigger that you imagined but you will only discover what He truely has in store for you if you have the courage to follow your own dreams first.

On that note I will leave you with these words of wisdom from Oprah Winfrey:

Every time you suppress some part of yourself or allow others to play you small, you are ignoring the owner’s manual your Creator gave you. What I know for sure is this: You are built not to shrink down to less but to blossom into more. To be more splendid. To be more extraordinary. To use every moment to fill yourself up.

Oprah Winfrey
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Why I like my writing

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I started my blog over 3 years ago. I had always dreamt of being a writer but was afraid that I sucked at it. I never got passed the first few pages of capturing the stories I had flowing through my mind. I have also always kept a journal since I was a teen. My ex-boyfriend encouraged me to give it a go anyway. So here I am.

People say there are two kinds of learning: experience, which is gained from your own mistakes, and wisdom, which is learned from the mistakes of others.

John C. Maxwell

I love reading and I love learning. There is a lesson in every story ever told. It actually doesn’t matter whether you read fiction or non-fiction. There is something to learn in every book you read. I have learnt about identity theft online from a Jeffery Deaver novel which made me a little more cautious with my personal details online. Dan Brown got me thinking about what I really knew about religion. These are just 2 examples of how fictional works have impacted my life. Non-fiction has had an even bigger pact over the last few years as well. I learned from other’s experiences whether there were real or imagined.

I also make my own mistakes every single day. I am 100% perfectly imperfect just like eveyone else. I also know that every mistake I make and how I react and deal with it, is not only a lesson for me to learn from but it has the potential to help someone else who might be on the verge of making the same mistake or has made it and is not sure how to deal with it. My writing is in no way advice, it’s just a shared experience. At minimum, I hope people read my posts and can breathe a sigh of relief that they are not “the only one” to have made that mistake. For this reason, I write from my heart more than from my head. If I want to make some money from this I should probably add more head to my writing I suspect😜

I know that my posts do achieve my goal of touching at least one person’s life or getting at least one person to stop and think. Readers often message me to tell me how a post impacted them. I am always humbled that they took the time to let me know and I am very grateful for the feedback. It is also why I keep writing and why I like my writing. Making a positive difference in someone’s life no matter how small, gives me energy. My writing fulfils me.

I do dream of touching millions of lives the world over. Perhaps I will do that one life at time over the years through an international platform like WordPress or perhaps I will write a best selling book/a series of books. I will leave that outcome in God’s hands and focus on writing. Until then, I hope we will continue to meet on WordPress and that I will in some way add value to your life at each encounter. Thank you for supporting my blog with your time😊🙏🫂

My Favourite Toy…Once upon a time

I must admit that today’s prompt has made me think really hard. I fished out my old album to try and jog my memory about the toys I had back in the day. There were definitely dolls in the pictures and I vaguely remember playing dolls house with my sisters from time to time but that’s about it when it came to toys. I do remember treasuring a tartan teddy when I was really little but he disappeared during one of our moves.

My favourite tartan teddy

The things I treasured most when I was a kid was books. I loved reading. My mum had bought us a set of 12 Disney books that I read over and over and over again. I remember The Jungle book and there a few Donald Duck books. There was a donald duck story where they had they had to ask a donkey to wiggle his ears and coins would fall out. It just so happened that my father could wiggle his eye so he would do it whenever he read the story to us. You can imagine how many times he had to read that book!😂 I was very curious so I read our reference books cover to cover as well. One was called Disney’s Wonderful World of Knowledge and I still have it today even though it looks absolutely battered. I just can’t part with it. Once I was old enough to venture to the library by myself, I made sure I was there at least every 2 weeks to swap my 3 books which was all I was allowed. When I wasn’t reading I was trying my hand at slantwords and crosswords and the like. I didn’t do puzzles though and colouring in was definitely not my thing and still isn’t.

One of my favourite books

When I wasn’t reading our doing word puzzles, I was outside playing with the kids form the neighbourhood. We played hopscotch and hide and seek and ‘stocking’. We rode our bikes and skated with our roller skates. I remember being horrified that my parents had bought me these adjustable metal skates with straps over the top while everyone else had the boots. In the end though it didn’t stop me from having a blast everyday with them. In summer I was at the public pool swimming my heart out. It was just up the road from our house so I was there every day. I was so sunburnt and I didn’t even realise it. I found a pic of myself from back then not so long ago and almost didn’t recognise myself. I was burnt to a crisp …lol. I also had ballet classes twice a week so I was a pretty busy kid.

I have actually enjoyed writing this piece. It brought back wonderful memories of being a kid. I am so glad that I grew up when I did. We had loads of fun and barely spent time in front of the TV. Toys were cool but for me books were probably way more important and still are. I am still constantly surrounded by them physically and even electronically. I love reading and I love learning.

Thank you for taking this trip down memory lane with me. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

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