Though it pains me to say it, I’ve been smoking on and off for most of my life. I’ve had significant periods of smoking and some fairly significant periods of not smoking. I quit quite easily when I became pregnant, and that I’m afraid – lulled me into a false sense of quittingness. I’ve restarted and quit twice again twice since the birth of my son.
There are some benefits to smoking. I do enjoy 90% of the cigarettes I smoke (there’s always a proportion that are done just out of habit). In harried parenting to toddlers – smoking is an activity where I can create clear space between me the selfish adult and me the responsible parent. (Mommy’s smoking – stay back). There’s the whole nicotine networking aspect of smoking at the office – you get some really good info that way – but to be honest the extent of that network is dwindling. And the biggest benefit to smoking is the incidental gardening. As I step outside to puff away on a fag, I can do a spot of watering or a bit of deadheading.
But really , as I think we all know, the costs outweigh the benefits many fold. I don’t really have time to smoke. Time I spent smoking could be better spent updating my personal blog or reading to my son or working. It’s dreadfully expensive. And then there are all the health benefits to me and the striking statistical evidence that children of parents who smoke are more likely to take it up themselves.
I’d been wanting to quit at the beginning of October, but I didn’t quite make it. But then I came down with swine flu. I’ve always been the kind of person who can smoke through almost any illness – so long as I can get to the store. To be honest, my swine flu experience was pretty awful – but there wasn’t a single day when I couldn’t get out of bed. I wasn’t able to finish a whole cigarette, but I was taking a few drags and then stubbing until I ran out of smokes. I could have, with some effort, got into the car and driven to a petrol station to buy another pack. But I thought I’ll take the opportunity not to. So I didn’t.
The proper incentive
Maybe what a really need to help me quit is a replacement habit. Expensive, part of your identity, slightly cliqueish. Something which evokes a dubious glamor. Like becoming an Apple Mac user.
I’ve been tempted by the Mac thing for some time, though it’s taken me a while to overcome my distaste of their closed and proprietary business model. All the cool kids in the social media local government world I now inhabit use Macs. (And yes, I do recognize the irony in the previous sentence) And in terms of my personal creative endeavors, I really need a new IT solution.
So here’s the deal…if I stay not smoking until the 22nd of Decemeber, I can get a Mac (undecided as to what yet…). As expensive as Macs are (they sure do know how to extract your consumer surplus) if I’m not smoking, it’ll pay for itself in no time.
And if I don’t stay not smoking, then Simon has indicated that he will take the Mac away and sell it. And I think he means it. And several people have lined up to be potential buyers of the 2nd hand Mac already. (Thanks for the vote of confidence!)
Anyway, I’m really hoping that the user experience is as groovy and yes, even as addictive as all those Mac users seem to claim.