In the course of doing something routine this morning, wrote down the date, and noticed: it’s the anniversary of my quit date from smoking. That was 14 years ago.

I had chosen November 4 because it was the day before our daughter’s fourth birthday, and I thought it would be wiser to have the first day be the day before the birthday party when we would be entertaining relatives and a little soccer team of four-year-olds at the now-defunct-and-can’t-even-recall-the-name-of-the indoor mall playplace with reservable birthday party rooms. My goal was to make it a whole year.

The difference between “being a smoker” and “being a non-smoker,” from the vantage point of someone who has had both experiences, is remarkable for being simultaneously immense and minimal. Walter Benjamin had the idea that the messiah will make an infinitesimal change to the world that is – which will change it entirely. Quitting smoking feels like an example of that.

I really almost never want a cigarette any more. I can’t remember the last time I noticed having that feeling. (A couple of years ago, when my dad was in ICU? At that point, it was easy to say to myself “…and a cigarette will make this better how? I’m not going there.”) That is probably the biggest unimaginable from the side of “being a smoker” – how life will feel without that. It’s “just life,” but at the same time, it feels pervasively different from the “just life” before.

Thank you Allen Carr for the Easy Way to Stop Smoking.

Thank you God.