I love milestones. Not only have I hit 1700 days, but according to the emails I get from Quitnet every day:
Those are some nice, round numbers! And these round numbers give me an excuse to blog again. I find myself coming to EX at least a couple times a week, and commenting on blogs from others, not creating new ones. But I've had some thoughts lately that I think are worth sharing:
1. One of the reasons this community works as well as it does is because most of us, when we first quit smoking, have an unrelenting loop in our brains saying "I want a cigarette, I want a cigarette, I want a cigarette . . ." and eventually, after a few hours or a few days, it seems like we will go crazy so we cave. Coming to EX allows us to think about smoking 24/7 but it supplants the "I want a cigarette" with "I have every reason to hate cigarettes" and it reinforces that new thinking unrelentingly.
2. I have had some struggles lately, dealing with retiring (yes, even though it's something we all look forward to, it's a huge change in living arrangements, lifestyle and socializing that can be daunting -- more on that later.) The point is that I can now contemplate every challenge in the same context I view quitting smoking.
a. Change is uncomfortable, but getting out of our comfort zones often brings great rewards. Nobody grows in their comfort zone.
b. Fear must be faced. I'm pretty confident that I wasn't the only one scared to death to quit smoking. I couldn't quit without facing that fear. And the corollary to that thought is that the fear is almost always worse than the reality.
c. Doing something is way better than sitting around worrying about anything.
This is the official end of the part of the blog about why quitting smoking is the best thing you'll ever do for yourself and your loved ones. What follows is about what's going on with me and will probably be of no interest to most of you.
So I lost my job. I've been looking for a job for over two months now, the unemployment insurance only lasts for 12 weeks, I'm already 7 or 8 weeks in, and I'm running out of money fast. I did a lousy job of planning for retirement and even though I waited until I was almost 70 years old to actually do it, I pretty much only have enough money to live another 2 years. Considering that I am likely to live another 15 years (actually, 16 because Quitnet said -see above - that I've added another year ) I've got way more than a math problem. So although I started out looking for part-time work I've decided to apply for full time jobs, and if I get one I will live very frugally and save like a madwoman. I've had a couple of interviews, and while I felt they both went well, I never heard anything from the first one, and I got a polite "thanks but we're going with someone else" email from the second one. I've applied for at least 50 jobs and most of them are simply lost in the ethernet. This change in my circumstances is very uncomfortable, but who knows what this free fall out of my comfort zone will bring.
As some of you may remember I lost my next-to-the last pre-retirement job because seven years in I was suddenly required to be good at Excel, which I had never used for more than a simple spreadsheet. Ever since then I shudder every time I hear the word "excel". Well, I have faced my fear. Last week I bought through Groupon an online course to prepare for Microsoft Certification. The Groupon price was $34 and I think it was a great deal. I am learning Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Word and Outlook (I'm pretty proficient in the last two, but there's always something new to learn.) It's about 50 hours of training, but I figure if I'm spending 1 to 2 hours a day looking for a job, I can spend another 3 to 4 doing training modules. I'm about 15 hours into the training now. I had shied away from apply for jobs that said "must be proficient in Excel" but not any more. Oh, and after I spend the 4 to 6 hours on job hunting and training, I still have time to go to the pool. And I have the best tan I've had maybe ever this year.
Last but not least I've signed up with a writing group and am writing short articles on a site called Medium. There's the possibility of getting paid for these articles, but you have to have a lot of followers for there to be any payment. I haven't gotten any money, but I really enjoy doing it. And who knows -- maybe I'll end up writing that novel I've been thinking about for the last 10 years!
Love to all of you - elders, you're the best and newbies, you can totally do this!