How my Quit Journey Taught me to take Healthy Risks

Blog Post created by Thomas3.20.2010 on Oct 18, 2014

Every new experience is a learning experience that can build self esteem. When I quit smoking I learned that I can successfully make radical life transforming changes that are for the better!I even learned that I can sometimes make mistakes in the process and nevertheless be successful in the end. I didn't have to choose perfectly in order to be good enough!

Getting out of my comfort zone is, well, uncomfortable. Like most people I know, I feel anxiety whenever I am about to take a chance and try something new. In the past this anxiety and fear, stressed me out to the point that I  avoided trying anything new. I lived by the adage, "if it ain't broke don't fix it" or as my Grandpa used to say, "let sleeping dogs lie." 

Well, my smoking world became broken literally beyond repair the day I was diagnosed with COPD  but not beyond hope! The only hope I had/have is to keep my COPD from getting worse!Failure was not an option - so I did whatever it took to succeed! And the FREEDOM voice in me broke through!

Right at 100 days quit, (you can ask just about anybody who'se been there - an EXtremely vulnerable time in many a quit journey, including mine), at the height of the recession, I like so many other people was laid off! I was 52 years old at the time - a statistic that did not bode well! Did I think of smoking as a 'solution?' - YOU BET! But I didn't smoke - right when everybody around me who were also laid off were smoking like chimneys! My boss even had the indecency to leave her pack of sickerettes right under my nose for an entire shift! But I had learned - Breath or Death and chose N.O.P.E. to smoking and death!

   Surprisingly, I remained EXceedingly calm! I had already successfully made an even bigger change  in my life - I would sail through this one as well! It's amazing when one is faced with their own mortality, what the human being is capable of! Finding another job is a picnic in comparison, right? 
     So for the second time in 25 years I was thrown into the job market! I had learned something about myself, though! When I set my mind to the possible, nothing is impossible! I searched not in the same field of work (which was obviously vulnerable to lay-offs in that economy and compromising to my lung health on top of it) but in entirely new fields that were less vulnerable. I chose health care which I had never in my life even imagined! Within 3 weeks I had been offered 3 jobs and accepted 2, a part time and a full time job in order to decide which if either would fit for me!    
     I soon quit the part time job and took on the full time work in an assisted living facility. Within one year, I was promoted to manager and to this day, work at the same facility. I really enjoy my job and my life!   
     For me, it was not only that I was "successful" in my attempt to find work, it was the act of attempting  which  benefited me most in boosting my self esteem.    
      Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.  
      - Mark Twain  
     Amazingly, once I in fact got past my fears and took the chance to quit smoking, change my job choice, learn computer, join a blogging site (yes, BecomeanEX was my first ever blogging site!), become active in exercise programs and workouts, (well, as you see, I could go on and on about the changes I've made in my life!) my initial reaction was - "I wish I had tried that sooner but better now than never!".   
      "Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power."  
      - Lao-Tzu  
      Life is about taking chances. Everyday we take chances. Sometimes we are blissfully unaware of the chances we are taking. Other times, it is painfully obvious. For me, jumping out of my comfort zone and "waking those sleeping dogs up" all started with my quit journey! Life just gets Better and Better with every step I take down this path of RECOVERY!   
     I wonder what Grandpa would say to that!