Five years ago today I quit smoking.
I quit cold turkey and it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done.
I smoked for approximately 18 years and it is the only true regret I have in my life.
Since I quit smoking I’ve saved approximately $6939.10. If I had continued at the rate that I was smoking, I would’ve smoked 36,521 cigarettes. I can’t really wrap my brain around that. When I first saw that number I thought, “what a waste of time”. Yeah, time.
The extra money is great and it’s nice to be able to breathe easier. I certainly don’t get as sick as often. At least not from that. And quite honestly if I hadn’t quit that day 5 years ago, I’m not sure I would’ve survived my initial surgery when I was diagnosed.
But it the misspent minutes of each and every day for 18 years that kinda get to me.
I don’t think it’s something that most people think about. Even non-smokers.
Based on how many I was able to have in a break time session, it took me 5 to 7 minutes to finish a cigarette. I know some people can really suck ’em down and others can let ’em burn, but for the sake of numbers, lets say it takes 6 minutes. Providing my math is accurate, that means in the last 5 years I would’ve spent roughly 152 days smoking.
Why is this a big deal? Well, as you probably know, you can’t light up just anywhere anymore. If you want to smoke you probably have to “go somewhere”. Out on the street, into an ally, in a parking structure. Not very simulating spots. Do you see where I’m going with this? All the time spent just starring at a shrub.
OK, 152 days probably is all wasted time. Many smokers smoke at home and carry on doing the things they would’ve been doing anyway. Work break smokers can be quite social and some people use that time to reflect and are happy to be in a corner alone.
I just think back to my smoking days and I can remember so many times being in the break room all alone. Just sitting there getting my fix before the next 4 hour grind. I usually flipped through papers, but truthfully it was boring. Many times there were co-workers there to strike up conversation with, but many times not. This was pretty much true for all of my jobs.
What would I have done with my time had I not smoked? Who knows. Perhaps I would’ve wasted it some other way. I just know that when I quit I felt like I used my time a little more productively. Even if it was catching up on an episode of a TV show it felt like better time than just standing around killing my lungs.
Lets be very liberal and say that out of the 152 days, two thirds of the time is spent either socially or productively alone or whatever it is that makes the time not wasted. That still leaves about 50 days of staring at a bush while sucking poison into your body. That you pay to do, by the way.
If you smoke you get hit with “that causes cancer”, “those are so bad for you”, “you just stink”, “why don’t you just quit already”? If you are still smoking, maybe this is a new way to look at it. I get it. I’ve been there. It’s hard. But when I thought about this way, what I wouldn’t do to have those 50 days back.