“Okay, Now What?” is the question that’s been dancing in my head. It started once I hit 1 year as an ex-smoker. It’s been like, okay, you made it to 1 year without smoking, now what? Of course the answer is to continue to be an ex-smoker, duh. I think there’s a deeper meaning to the question. I don’t think it's solely about not smoking. I feel like a bird being kicked out the nest. I feel like I’m in a void.
In the beginning, there’s the beginning. In my desire to stop smoking, I found this community. It felt good to be connected with people who know what it’s like being a smoker and being a smoker trying to quit. I was glad to get support and understanding versus judgment and condemnation. I felt safe sharing my thoughts and feeling. I didn’t feel alone. I didn’t come here every day. I found a rhythm that worked for me. I made it through those first days, weeks and months. I entered NOML then the In-betweens. I made some daily pledges and road the Freedom Train. I struggled through the last 8 weeks leading to up to a year smoke free. Voila, I made 1 year as an ex-smoker.
I’m grateful and kind of surprised I’ve made it this long being smoke free. I feel like something’s missing and I think I know what it is. I felt comforted knowing I was "expected" to show-up during NOML and whenever I did show up, I was acknowledged. I felt seen, celebrated and supported by the Freedom Train. “You never know what you got till it’s gone.” I didn’t realize the emotional voids this community has filled until now. I’ve gotten more than smoking cessation support. I’ve gotten some emotional needs met. It’s been nice feeling seen, understood, expected and welcomed.
Will I float off into the sunset? Will I return now and then to wave a flag when I reach a milestone or just because I’ve made it another day? Will I come back to check on others maybe offer advice to a newbie? Will I take a daily pledge when I’m feeling triggered or when I’m feeling strong and proud? Will I come back to feel seen, understood, welcomed and missed when I show up?
TurboRose 382 DOF