Today is a day of milestones…markers on the path that we travel around in a circular fashion. I suppose as the earth makes it way around the sun we can imagine all these little milestones in space and wave to them as we pass. Some having taken a more permanent spot to be visited at every passing and others just there momentarily before they are sucked into the heliosphere and burn up there.
My permanent calendar marker for today indicates that I had my last cigarette 13 years ago. That was 1999 when I kept my promise to myself not to be a smoker past my 30th birthday. I had been a smoker since the tender age of 15 and I thought at the time that 15 years of smoking was as much as anyone needed to devote to an addiction. Also, I think it was a couple of days past Thanksgiving that year and things didn’t feel right. Rather than hope those feelings would pass and medicating them with another pack of cigarettes, I turned that key in my mind that one must turn in these cases and stopped smoking. Cold turkey, which I believe is the only way to do this.
You just have to stop and find something else to stick in your mouth for a while or forever. I used sugar-free mints, lemon flavored. I consumed them with a vigor and found them so much cheaper than cigarettes that I was able to fuel my new addiction to collecting CDs. I collected a lot of CDs and rather obsessively, too. But I still have them whereas I have few reminders or keepsakes from my years of smoking. In two years, I’ll have made it past that milestone of having been a non-smoker for as many years past smoking as I spent smoking. So for all of my friends who laughed when I told them I was quitting… thank you for your doubt. It was good fuel in the beginning when I needed it more than kind support.
My other, more transitory marker for today is that this is the six month anniversary of my surgery date. Normally, I do not mark any anniversaries outside of a year because when you start micro-celebrating, what is the minimal cut off period?
But for my recovery, today is important because I no longer have to dilate twice a day. I’m down to once and with one fewer dilator. And, yes, this is the reality for the next 6 months, but it’s a little more freedom from that routine and I’m happy to put the blue one away and happy to have just that much more of my day back.
Milestones are also a time to reflect and while I know that six months is not that long in comparison to the rest of my life, just 1/85th of it meaning that it will be another 83 measures of six months before I can say I’ve spent as much time with my present physical reality as my previous (I suppose this is as good a reason as any not to micro-celebrate), I am still not at the point where I…interact…with my new parts without wonder. There’s a kind of magic in it that is science of course but magic nonetheless that so short a procedure can make such a huge difference to the way I feel about myself.
I imagine there will come a time in the some 83 half turns from now when I no longer think too much on the wonder of this…on what it took to quit a bad habit and on the terraforming of my body to make it livable. But for the time being, I still retain the right and privilege to reflect and celebrate these notable days.