It was on this day, 11 years ago that I woke up in my sister’s house, stepped out their front door and ran all the way to my old high school, down the same back driveway I once loathed as a three sport athlete, and then ran all the way back. I was 30 years old, winded, tired and red in the house but it wasn’t my age or that I was out of shape… I was a smoker.
It was my dirty little secret. I had my first cigarette when I was 12, in the basement of my best friend’s house. We both inhaled then proceeded to cough, gag, burn our throats and then did it again and again until we got it right or, in hindsight, so very, very, very wrong.
From that moment on, I was officially a smoker. My habit started out innocent enough, stealing a cigarette here and there from her brother but eventually, I was buying my own packs before I was even able to drive. I remember having a free period at the end of the day as a Senior. I would drive of campus, just to have a smoke before practice. Wisdom was definitely not wasted on my youth. I would have to earn it a little later in my life.
Over the next 18 years smoking was my dirtiest secret. You would have to go back to college to find a picture of me smoking or even holding a pack of cigarettes. It was something I hid. It was something I thought I hid well. Only a handful of people really knew just how much I smoked. I wanted it that way. I didn’t want to be known as a “smoker” but that didn’t make it any less true.
My realty check came when I met That Guy. That Guy did not like smoking and he was not going to date a smoker. That Guy was the reason I decided on Thanksgiving morning 2009 that I was going to finally give up my dirty little secret. I may have fallen off my wagon a few times but I never again bought another pack of cigarettes. I never again reverted to my old ways.
This is what I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving. The man who who saved and also gave me my life. It is because of That Guy who is now my husband, I am a Wife, I am a Mother, and I am NOT a smoker.
We can all find something to be thankful for, even in 2020.