I told you there was a decent likelihood of me writing another post in the ‘Dave Quits Smoking’ saga – but you didn’t listen, did you? Of course you didn’t, it’s difficult if not impossible to ‘hear’ written text other than in an internal monologue. So really, YOU told you that there was a decent likelihood of it happening – but now things are getting really confusing.
Here are some more wonderful things I’ve noticed about quitting smoking in the last few weeks, as I edge slowly closer to the first smoke-less month of the rest of my life.
The Money STAYS
Yes, smoking costs you money, no shit. As a smoker, though, there’s something about the way it happens that deserves a small amount of notice. A smoker knows how much they get paid, and whether they acknowledge it or not there’s a certain ‘smoking budget’ part of every pay check that factors into your decisions to buy things, whether or not you need these things in the first place and more.
What you also notice is that, sure, you take out money for your train ticket/petrol/rent/shopping and every other regular weekly expense – but if someone were to ask you how much money you have in your bank account, you’d have no idea. You don’t really know how many packets of cigarettes you’ve bought this fortnight, or their total accurate cost, and lets face it – you don’t want to know how much you’re spending on something that kills you. You don’t want to know, as a result, how much extra money you could have in your pocket, in your account, for something more meaningful. All that matters is that the next time you use your card just before payday it doesn’t come up saying ‘insufficient funds’ (not that I was ever that bad).
To be honest, I’ve no idea how much money I’m saving – but when I look at my bank account I’m (nearly) always pleasantly surprised. I could guess, but it would change week by week. The amount I think I have is always the amount that sits there – that never used to happen. That being said, there is the handy fact of life that, just when you should be coming into MORE money, the universe finds a way to spend it.
In the three weeks since I’ve quit smoking I’ve had multitudes of rent and food, phone bill, my internet bill, car insurance, birthday presents, a RIDICULOUS electricity bill and more that have all come at once. I’m sure I’ll be able to start REALLY enjoying the financial benefits of quitting smoking soon – but I’d certainly be in a much more shit situation this week if I’d never quit and still had to face this onslaught of expenses.
Still, I managed to buy three blocks of chocolate this week merely to indulge my own fatness – but even these three blocks didn’t add up to the cost of ONE packet of cigarettes.
There’s a world outside
And I’ll be honest – you see it less. Thanks to the legislative measures that have been brought in around smoking in the last few years, there’s a good chance that any smoker, particularly here in Australia, has had to go outside for every cigarette they’ve had in the past few years. Yes, there’s no pretext of ‘fresh air’ when you’re out there inhaling a carcinogen, but when you quit there’s less incentive to actually go outside, when the benefits of fresh air might actually make a damn difference.
I’ll still go and sit out on my back porch while I have my morning coffee, as I used to. I’ll still do it with my coffee in the afternoon, and at work I’m still occasionally inclined to socialise with my smoking mates outside – but it all happens less. It certainly hasn’t affected my social life, and I have no problem standing around and chatting with a smoker outside, but it’s been noticeable. When you realise that leaves have fallen all over your balcony because you’ve barely been out there in the last 2 days when, as a smoker, you would have been out there at least 10-15 times, you realise that you’re definitely outside less. That in itself isn’t a particularly good thing, and it draws your focus to the need to work on it, but it’s a fact.
The Wonderful World of Smells
I’m assuming that it’s my indulgence in other ‘recreational’ pursuits that caused it, but my sense of smell seemed a little slower coming back than had that of other friends who’ve quit – but in the last week in particular I’ve noticed a very strong development in its return. Yes, there are so many benefits to an efficiently working sense of smell, and most of them revolve around delicious foods.
The smell of a barbecue from somewhere out in the neighbourhood, the smell of rain, the smell of hayfever-induced sneezes, the smell of freshly cut grass, the (previously mentioned) smell of YOUR OWN HANDS – you never forget what these smells actually are, but you certainly forget how vivid and dominant they can be.
Then there are people. Being on a train with folks in the morning and afternoon really brings you… close to people. Having a sense of smell back, you realise just how fucking dirty a large majority of people are! There are people out there with a plethora of horrible aromas, from week-old sweat to cross-mutated foods and everything in between. The jacket that smells like a wet dog, the bloke who smells like he genuinely shat himself, the other person who smells like they haven’t had a shower in days – all of them are a hundred times more vivid when you no longer smoke. That being said, one also can’t dispute that some people out there smell fantastic. As I write this, I notice that the woman sitting directly in front of me on the train has washed hair combined with some kind of perfume – but to actually say that would probably be immeasurably creepy.
It must be said that smokers also factor into this. I can smell someone smoking a cigarette from over 50m away – but does this smell make me want one? No.
I’ve got mates who smoke and when they come near me after a smoko, two things dawn on me. First – I still quite like the smell of tobacco despite having no desire to consume it, as weird as that may sound. Second – I’ve realised just how pungent and pervasive the aroma must have been that I carried around with me everywhere. While, as I just said, I don’t mind it, I can understand just how easily detectable and strong the smell really is. It whacks you.
I’m sure there’ll be more to notice as my adventure continues. I know my lungs are starting to clear out – not just because of the disgusting things coming out of them but in particular thanks to housework. I vacuumed the apartment last week – thoroughly – and when I stopped I realised that I could acutely feel a nice film of dust on the inside of my lungs. Sure, it’s not a good thing (particularly for an asthmatic like myself – but then, neither was smoking), but it lets me know that the situation in there is in fact improving. It might be doing so incredibly slowly, but I’ve got all the time in the world.
Perhaps even more, now that I’ve quit.