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I want to break free

16 Apr

I have smoked exactly two thirds of my life: twenty-eight years. It’s high time I stopped. So I stopped.

It’s been only five days but that’s the longest I’ve achieved ever, so there is cause to celebrate.

The decision had been years in the making. Friends and family have persisted over the years and my son recently joined the lecturing bandwagon. I’m thankful because I was impervious! Much as they annoyed me, they were right and I knew it. Slowly I was getting closer to commitment: Quitting is the right thing to do, therefore submit.

I was brought closer to the decision last month by the prospect of tobacco deprivation at airports, during long flights –and basically of limited freedom to smoke–, as I prepared for a 24-hour or so journey to a two-day meeting, followed by a 24-hour or so journey back home. The actual trigger was the epiphany that struck me as I thought I was at last free to go smoke between two flights: that is not freedom, that is (nicotine) enslavement.

In “The Easy Way To Stop Smoking”, the book my good friend Amy gave me years ago, Allen Carr writes:

“It is […] slavery. We spend half our lives in situations in which society forbids us to smoke (churches, hospitals, schools, trains, theaters, and the like) or […] feeling deprived. The rest of our smoking lives is spent in situations where we are allowed to smoke, but wish we didn’t have to.”

I smoked my last cigarette Tuesday after dinner and patched up the next morning. I’ve got lozenges for when the craving is too intense but I don’t like them too much so don’t use them a lot.

The worse day was the day before I stopped.

I had made up my mind, purchased the patches and the lozenges at the pharmacy after picking up my son after school. I was still smoking as my pouch of tobacco was not yet empty –it took me another day to finish it as I let it drag on as much as possible by rolling thinner ones and smoking less.

The second worse day was the third. Possibly because I had not used a patch that morning. Good to know they are not selling squares of adhesive tape!

A couple parting thoughts:

  • Not lighting up is hard, but not as hard now that I have decided to stop.
  • Time goes quite slowly in the process.

Goodbye, Facebook; Hello open Web

7 Apr

I grew weary of Facebook a long time ago. Yet I was drawn to it all the while. There’s one thing they got right: showing me snippets of the life of family and friends by suppressing frontiers, overcoming distance and time zones. That is what I’ll miss –its unique ability to show me, at my pace, inklings that are valuable, endearing, funny.

But I grew wary of it a few months ago, while after searching for alcohol ink techniques on my smartphone’s mobile browser the Facebook app immediately suggested I join a few groups on the subject. Whether this was relevant or useful is beyond the point. The Facebook app has hardly any business spying on the history of the browser app.

So I waved goodbye to Facebook’s intrusive practices a few days ago. So long, daily dose of comfort and social peep show.

It may take a bit of effort to write on one’s blog or maintain a Website, and probably takes a massive one for those unfamiliar with the open Web to open the garden wall door and explore the Web, use it.

Someone lamented that they would miss seeing my drawings. But Facebook was just an additional space that I shared those on —a space of crappy definition images— just because there’s a world of apps on smartphones and a population of app users who happen to find it convenient to be fed those.

My drawings go to my blog, in high-resolution definition. My blog has a syndication feed. It means that any update to my blog is signaled. And any feed aggregator can pick up that signal and relay it. This is the principle behind RSS (really simple syndication).

You can read more in a recent article at Wired.

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