COLUMN: I still smoke some, but cutting back has made me feel better
Editor’s Note: Sam Higgins is a campus reporter who started the university-sponsored smoking cessation class four weeks ago. He has written a column once a week to describe his first-person experiences and struggles with trying to quit smoking.
Life is a great thing.
As recently as last week, I never would have said that. It may surprise readers who have followed at least some of my previous columns to hear that. I know it surprised my editors.
There’s something people have told me, especially older people, and it’s a falsity that I feel like is being instilled into today’s troubled and tormented youth. “It gets better,” they tell me.
It can get better, but only if you get stronger.
Life itself doesn’t get better. You get stronger as life gets harder. Life is a struggle, and that’s what makes it great. When you have to work hard and battle the odds, then — and only then — do you appreciate the genuinely good things in life. You appreciate those good things because you appreciate the hardships. You appreciate the fear. That’s what makes you a more resilient person.
I haven’t completely quit smoking, but I have significantly reduced the frequency of my rendezvous with cigarettes, and it’s saved me money, I feel better, and that sharp stabbing pain in my chest is almost completely gone.
My dentist knows I smoke. It’s weird because I’ve been seeing the same dentist since I was a kid. Not only am I probably the only patient he has who smokes, I’m also probably the only patient who shaves his belly hair. Ladies?
When I think about the best times in my life, I think about some of the hardest times. I think about my freshman year of high school. It was so real. It was so rebellious. It was so Linkin Park, blame-your-parents stupid.
It was the plight of being that awkward, sexually frustrated and naïve kid that gave me the life lessons to propel me into being the awkward, sexually frustrated and naïve man.
I turn 24 this week, and I know that in another 24 years, I will look back on the awkwardness, frustration and self-consciousness of these days with fondness. I’ll remember the faces of the first friends I made here. I’ll remember most of their faces. OK, I’ll remember like six of their faces.
I’ll remember the summer I quit smoking and how pissed off I was — about nothing.
Sam Higgins is a journalism junior and a campus reporter for The Daily.