Blog Post created by djmurray_12-31-14 on Jun 3, 2018

Greetings, all -- lots has happened since I last blogged, and even though I didn't want to unload on you wonderful souls who held my hand during the first year of my quit or any of the newbies who don't know me from Adam. First let me say that the one constant in my life right now is my quit.  Not a day goes by -- and I really mean this -- that I am not grateful that I finally conquered this addiction.  So not smoking is my forever choice notwithstanding that opportunistic little addict lady who hides in my brain but is instantly activated in some strange moments.  I know her opportunistic game and I simply smile and say go back to sleep little girl -- I'm in charge here.


Well, I worked 4 hours a day since November 1 and as of July 6, 2018 I am being retired, and will have no job.  I just can't seem to do the work up to my usual standard, and I have a lot of confusion that I guess I haven't hidden so well.  I am indeed pushing 70, so I don't know why I feel this fear.  I never planned for retirement and my social security isn't going to keep me afloat.  I'm going to sell my condo and hopefully the proceeds from that and the money I have in my 401k will help as well.  I'm going to move to Richmond to an apartment close to my daughter and her family.  I'm actually having a lot of trouble seeing what's next.  I hope to make it all work but I feel overwhelmed about getting my place ready to put on the market, and getting packed and finding a good place in Richmond, And then finding a job down there that doesn't require the same level of skills as the jobs I've had. 


I found a wonderful therapist who is a PhD Psychologist, and works in the mindfulness method of staying in the moment and experiencing the feelings that come with this kind of change.  She's just what I need to work through the depression and anxiety that acompanies these kinds of changes.  Coincidentally, I was scrolling through Facebook today and came across an excerpt from a Ted Talk.  The woman was talking about how we label emotions as good or bad.  Anger, disappointment and fear are considered bad, and we want them to go away because they make us uncomfortable.  She said if you live your life with the goal to never have, or ever acknowledge that you have those negative emotions, you have the goals of a dead person.  Only a dead person never feels those emotions, or any others, of course.  She concluded by saying that discomfort is the price we pay to live. 


I was quite struck by that. . And I realized that it applies to quitting smoking.  I've said before that for me the key was realizing that it was going to be uncomfortable every time I entered an experience (meaning everything I did from waking up to going to bed) where I had smoking solidly associated with the action.  And it was indeed uncomfortable.  It didn't kill me, and soon I wasn't having those moments of discomfort as often and then at some point I don't actually remember, I went for whole hours, then days, then whole weeks, months and years.  If I hadn't recognized that they were discomforts, not life-threatening pain we tend to consider them in those first especially tough days.  Discomfort is the price we pay to quit.  And the discomfort evaporates more quickly than we think it will.


My sister Marsha has mostly returned to her old self, but again I'm so angry at our health system.  She started developing peripheral neuropathy after her first chemo.  So told her care team, and they kind of brushed it off.  It got worse with every treatment, and they never addressed that issue.  I got on the American Cancer Society website and peripheral neuropathy is one of the major side effects of the metal-based chemo druges Marsha was getting, and that the care team should monitor carefully for this side effect because it should be addressed in changing the approach for the remaining chemo sessions.  So to add insult to injury, she now has a condition that resulted from her treatment that is most likely going to be permanent.  She's 67 years old and she needs to use a walker now.  Damn


Marsha is coming from Pittsburgh on Monday, and Tuesday we're going to Richmond for my oldest grandson's high school graduation and that will be really fun.  It will be good to actually see Marsha, which I haven't since last fall.  Hard to believe everyone's growing so quickly. Then again, we're all doing it, aren't we?  And whoever said getting old isn't for sissies hit the nail on the head!.


I'm so sorry I couldn't join you all on the cruise, and the few pictures I've seen look great.  Looking forward to seeing many more.  Love to all my EX friends and all the newbies who are starting their journies in this wonderful incubator for solid quits.