This is for EVERYONE who has somehow found your way to EX and is reading this now.
(I actually posted something similar in response to a good friend's blog, but I am immodest enough to think it might make, with some additions, a good stand-alone blog. Gotta learn to check my Inner Author, right? Too late now, right?)
Here's my thinking tonight. I love all of you here on EX. ALL of you. I am no saint, but I think my parents taught me well about caring about other people. Please read this.
I love the Elders. Their experience, their knowledge about what works, their dedication, their wit (and bad jokes), their warmth and caring deserves to be acknowledged. I do so now, with gratitude. And thank them for allowing me to stay here, as an Elder now myself, and pass on all the knowledge I have gained. The act of passing it on is known, thanks to Elder Tommy, as "Collateral Kindness". This site WORKS because of it.
I love the wonderful people that I've known for years here on EX and who I consider the folks in my "graduating class" as Quitters. I am friends now in the real world with many of you, and I plan to find more ways to be face-to-face with many of you. Our friendships MATTER to me. But those great friendships are NOT what keep us from smoking. We do that for OURSELVES. Because we have learned to value what freedom from nicotine addiction has done to improve our lives.
I love the folks that I met when I was just a few months into my Quit. I wanted so desperately for them to succeed. I feel Iike a big sister and a good close friend to those who quit shortly after I did. And I have learned MUCH from those people who came after me! That would be YOU, Ellen. Among many others. And if any of us have somehow missed getting to know each other...don't let that stop us from reaching out to each other NOW. It's never, ever, too late to make that connection with someone else here on EX. Let's break down any hesitation we both might feel, okay?
I love the people who come here...and come here... and come here....and KEEP coming here. Because if you care enough to KEEP coming here---then, someday, you WILL "get it" and I want to already know you and to be here to cheer you on as you cross that finish line called The Forever Quit. Multiple quits only mean that you don't know HOW to successfully quit yet. EX is where you will learn how. We will help you figure it all out.
I love the Newbies. I really, really, really do. And it's sometimes very hard to single them out and get to know them because SO many people join and just post once or twice in the blogs, or in a newbie group or somewhere else on this site. Most of them don't post much information about themselves in their profiles at first. So we hardly know their real names, or anything personal about them, unless we ask. And sometimes they leave or give up because we can't get to them quickly enough to create a BOND, a RELATIONSHIP, something that makes them know this is a REAL place with REAL people who give a really big damn about helping them quit smoking.
The Newbies that give up before we can find them, make friends with them, show them that we care, teach them what we know from experience, and keep holding them in our arms until they succeed... God, my heart breaks for those that we lose...but those are the people that actually KEEP me here on EX.
Yes, I do come and go, and come and go, here on EX. There are wonderful Elders here on EX who are the solid rocks of this website. All of you know who I'm talking about. And I would give ANYTHING to be one of those people. But I can't be here as much as I want to right now. My life, like many of us, requires that I work at a job that keeps me away from EX when I want so much to be here, involved all day, with all of you, and contribute to the people here in much greater ways. Someday, I WILL be able to do that. Until then, I will be here on EX as often as I can be, hoping to post something that catches someone's heart and makes a difference. And loving every minute that I can help someone...
But I don't love any of you because of how you RANK on those darn Leaderboards. I don't care about how many points or badges you have. I don't really even understand how all the Missions and Quests work to make a person more "important" here on Ex.
I love each of you differently because of how I've gotten to KNOW you, how you and I have CONNECTED regardless of the so-called system on this site, because of the way we support each other, we laugh, we make jokes and we keep talking to each other here, day after day. Let's go ahead and watch all those crazy points add up, like we have for the last few threads. But let's also realize that POINTS don't really mean anything.
Let's acknowledge that what really matters here is EACH OTHER. We meet, we learn about each other and we CARE.
THAT is how we quit.
And I LOVE that.