The (Un) Caged Bird

"Let the beauty we love be what we do." – Rumi

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Life Without Cigarettes: Year One

Today,  I celebrate my one year anniversary of being smoke free.   Yesterday one year ago (April 5)  I smoked my last cigarette and swore that was the end.   (If you’re new to my blog and would like to read about how I quit hop on over to my post, “How I Quit Smoking Cold Turkey“. )  I had quit smoking at various points in my life in the past but always failed to make it past the year point, this time however I was mentally armed and that is what has kept me free from cigarettes for the past year.

How has my life changed without cigarettes?  First off, I have had more money in my pocket, I estimated that I’ve saved myself approximately $1050 dollars by not smoking last year, that’s a conservative number and it’s definitely not less than that.  (If I’d finished my taxes already I would have a much more accurate estimate based on my smoking habits from the first four months of last year.  I could have done a nice little estimate from the average.)   Considering I was saving money by not smoking I had extra money to join a gym, buy a pair of tennis shoes and work on improving the health of my body.

I also eat a lot more now and more regularly than I used to.  I’m hypoglycemic and instead of eating I could frequently use smoking cigarettes to give me a stimulant boost to keep my energy up.  I did gain weight by not smoking, in total I’ve gained about fifteen pounds and gone up a size in clothing.   I really struggled with that and had convinced myself that I needed to drop that weight and get back to the size I had been and thus spent almost all of last year berating myself internally for not having accomplished that yet. (Yes, I know I posted all those posts about self-love.  I need them just as much as everyone else.)  Last month as I was contemplating another milestone that I’m about to celebrate the self-love kicked in and I was finally able to appreciate this new shape that my body has settled into.  Now, I know I’m healthy and while I still would like to be physically more fit and active (for the sake of being strong and having the endurance to do activities) I no longer feel the pressure for my body to go back to the way it was.  I’m celebrating this more shapely form I’ve settled into because it represents who I am when I’m making healthy lifestyle choices like getting enough sleep, not drinking, not smoking, eating regularly and being more active.  I know that as I make more changes in my life and as time passes it will continue to change and each new transformation is really just an opportunity to celebrate the change and explore something new.

I’ve been a lot more productive because I channel my anxiety, nervous energy, fear, whatever it is into improving my life.   I’ve managed to make a lot of changes around my house and in my life and its been really rewarding to see the results of my efforts.

I gained faith in my own willpower and earned trust in myself that I could keep my word to myself and follow through with a promise I’d made to myself.   I gained self respect by honoring that commitment to myself and both of these things really helped to build my overall confidence in myself.   When you start out on a journey it’s always scary because it’s uncertain where the road will lead and what sort of dark patches you may have to stroll through and sometimes it’s more pleasant to only remember the rainbows when we’re on the other side.  I can tell you there were dark patches but I never once took a single puff from a cigarette.  It was not for lack of wanting to either, there were many, many days where for my own sanity and that of others I thought maybe I should just go buy a pack but didn’t.  I still wonder if I’ll ever have a cigarette in the future.  Time will tell.

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POETRY/PROSE : The Meaning of Life

What life means to me.  Enjoy.

Life is about learning
learning to live versus living to die
finding what makes you happy
following your heart
and developing your talents
and always, always taking a stand for what you believe in
even if everyones opposed
because if you dont
who will you be when your alone in the dark?

– Written by Me, 2007.

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TRAVEL DIARY – Flying from Indy to New York

7:15 a.m.

The driver rang my doorbell.  Surprise!  He was fifteen minutes early which I appreciated, but was not expecting.  He was also well dressed, professional, polite and attractive.  Just the kind of guy that you want driving you to the airport.  🙂  Limolink drivers also are not allowed to collect tips which was interesting to note.  There were some magazines, a daily newspaper and waters for the both of us in the car.  Apparently if you call ahead you can request any publication that you want to be waiting for you in the car.  I didn’t know this ahead of time, so if you use Limolink request a magazine!  I definitely appreciated the water, with all the coffee I had drank earlier in the morning I needed some hydration.

8:00 a.m.

Check in at Delta and pay fifty bucks to check my suitcase.  I’m annoyed that people who weigh way more then I do aren’t charged extra for their weight.  My bag and I together weigh 160 lbs.  The National Center of Health Statistics says that  the average weight of an American woman is 163 pounds and for a man its 190 pounds.  They get to carry around that extra weight on their bodies, I shouldn’t have to pay to carry my extra weight around in a suitcase.  Annoyed.

9:30 a.m.

At this point I was starving and we had time to kill so we stopped in at Cafe Patachou for some breakfast.  I’m thrilled that we have nice restaurants in the new airport and we don’t have to resort to fast food out of desperation like in the old airport.  I was very hungry and thirsty at this point having skipped dinner the night before and having downed three plus cups of coffee to try and overcome my two weeks of insomnia.  Hydration is very important for the body and caffeine and flying are dehydrating so I drank a few glasses of water with breakfast.

I ate the Broken Yolk Sandwich with Bacon which is my favorite at Patachou and I needed something substantial and filling.  The airport location doesn’t put avocado on the sandwich like they do downtown and it costs an extra 1.60 to have it added on.  I’m wondering why this is different at the airport versus the downtown restaurant.  Anyway, I paid the money because I love avocado and my sandwich just wouldn’t have been the same without it.  I’m very picky about some things.  I’ll be honest, I’m picky about almost everything.

After breakfast we sailed through security and waited in the terminal.  We browsed the magazines and then sat and waited some more.  I decided to try and accomplish a few more items on my to do list and charge my phone while there was a free outlet available.

I overheard a man talking on the phone in Dutch and my ears immediately perked up.   I rarely hear people speak Dutch anymore so I struck up a conversation with the man.  He turned out to be very interesting indeed!  Mr. Johan Bollen is an Informatics  professor at Indiana University and he was on his way to NYC to discuss his most recent research which is using Twitter as a significant method in tracking the stock market ups and downs.   He’s been dubbed the “Twitter Predictor” and you can Google him or read more in an article by the Dutch Daily News. We had a lovely conversation about the fashion industry, his informatics research, and Holland of course.  It was so much fun to speak Dutch again!  Oh how I miss that country and its people.   We talked about Amsterdam, how tall the Dutch are, and I cleared up some questions he had about the business of fashion.  I’m not going to go into the fashion details here.  You’ll just have to check back later this week when I write my guest blog for Indy Fash Bash about the experience of being at NY Fashion Week.

Our plane was delayed by about 40 minutes because of air traffic at La Guardia.  That gave me plenty of time to chat with Mr. Bollen, and of course to use the restroom one last time before boarding.    Okay, second rant of this blog, you’ve been warned.  People!  Please check to make sure that you flush the toilets!  The ladies restroom in my terminal had six, let me repeat that SIX toilets that had not been flushed and had disgusting bodily matters in them.  I know that we are all used to automatic toilets, but occasionally they malfunction.  Please, please, please check to make sure that your toilet flushes behind you when you’re done.  It’s not that hard and it only takes a second.  If the toilet does not flush push the little black button to flush it.  I already have enough public bathroom issues without adding that to the list.   Not flushing is just plain gross, rant over.

Sometime after 11:50 when we were supposed to leave we boarded.

I absolutely love flying.  I find the landscape below incredibly inspiring, sometimes it also makes me incredibly depressed but depression can be inspiring too.   We had coach tickets so my knees were all scrunched up against the seat in front of me.  It’s a good thing no one was sitting in it because I accidentally gave it a whack with my knees a time or two.  We chit chatted with a few obnoxious guys across the aisle, observed the scenery, read the in flight mag, and waited.

I fell in love with the landscapes that I saw below and found the patterns that the water created in the ground incredibly beautiful.  I’ve always believed that the sea and ocean with its waves is the heartbeat of the Earth and its rivers, creeks, and streams are its veins and arteries.  Basically I believe that the water is to the Earth what our cardiovascular system is to us.

2:19 p.m.

Finally, we arrived.  Yay!

You’ll have to check back to see what happens after we reach Manhattan. 🙂



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LIFE: A dream come true – Thank you Michael Kors!

Today has  turned out to be one of the best days of my life.   I entered Michael Kors Fashion Week Sweepstakes on Facebook awhile ago and I won!
This is an absolute dream come true for me and I can’t wait to fly to New York next week to meet him and see the show at NYFW.

My agency, The Helen Wells Agency, is going to let me take a flip cam to record this special time and all the moments.
Stay tuned!  I am going to create a travel diary to share this experience with everyone.

Remember to keep dreaming, dreams do come true.