I had a great time laughing, eating and winning prizes at Inquirer Lifestyle party earlier this week. Raffle time was never-ending. Aside from picking out our names from a tambiolo, we also had “bring me” time. I kept my purse open, ready to ransack.
They wanted to see a senior citizen card and, of course, I won. Did anyone have Band-Aid? My hankie won me a third item.
My loot consisted of a flatiron, an overnight stay plus buffet breakfast at the Marriott and a surfeit of gift certificates for yummy meals at Seafood Island.
And after all the feasting, I got a card for eight free sessions of Pilates. Thank goodness this last prize is transferrable.
Are you ready for the new year? How can we end this year with a bang? I don’t mean with firecrackers, either.
My favorite pastor asked us Sunday to list down our New Year’s resolutions, and I thought to myself, does anyone still write a list of do’s and don’ts for the coming year?
Here’s a list of the usual: Stop overeating, quit smoking, start an exercise program, no more booze, read the Bible, visit the sick, and so on. For us super seniors, it may mean something as easy and simple as to start walking (a stroll for the young ones is brisk walking for me).
But when I was younger, way back in the day, I needed to clean up my act, and every year I tried to make resolutions but kept only a few. You know what they say about how the road to perdition is paved with good intentions?
But I am proud to boast that at least one of those resolutions, I have kept. I had my last king-size Pall Mall at midnight in 1984, and haven’t had another puff since. I did it cold turkey.
For those of you who sincerely want to quit, and YOU SHOULD, here’s how I did it. I hope it helps someone out there who hacks with smokers’ cough at bedtime, swears to quit but grabs a cigarette with his first coffee.
I smoked for over 20 years, at least a pack a day. I stopped several times, not for too long. But at the stroke of midnight of 1984 I was done. Still, I carried a pack of cigarettes and a lighter in my purse at all times. Whenever I got the urge to light up, I told myself, “In two hours I will smoke.”
When time was up, I added another hour. Then the day was over and, I told myself, “Tomorrow I can smoke.” And tomorrow came, and again I promised myself, “Tomorrow.” I became a passionate “mañana” person—for a good cause.
I have the habit of putting my hands on my face, but I hated the smell of stale tobacco on them. Soon after I stopped, I caught the aroma of soap and hand lotion. I was thrilled.
I remember being irritable and short-tempered whenever I had tried to quit. But this time, my bad humor was appeased by the thought that I could smoke any time; that I had cigarettes on demand, that it was just my choice to wait.
Before I knew it a week had passed, and then a month, two months. The cigarettes in my purse had yellow spots on them. Still I kept them. I threw them out only when I was “clean” for six months. I got rid of my purse, too, because it smelled too much like my old life.
It was a slow and difficult process, and I am hardly the Rock of Gibraltar. I struggled, but I did it. I took it one day at a time. Very slowly, the urge fades. Your self-control grows and with it, your self-esteem.
You become more determined not to do that nasty stuff again. And at last the day comes when you can honestly say that you have indeed “kicked the habit.”
I am sure we all mean to keep our resolutions. But why is it that when we “fall off the wagon,” we are ready with all kinds of excuses—tension at home, pressure at work. It was a small slice of cake, one last puff, and just one little swig. Whatever.
Here’s the plan. On New Year’s Eve, we take the high road. Let us stop thinking of ourselves for a change. Let our every thought and action be anchored on kindness.
My wise old friend suggests that we treat each day as we would New Year’s Eve, and make a resolution that from the moment we wake up, we will look for an opportunity to be kind. We must choose to become active participants even in random acts of kindness.
In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
What is kindness? It means being friendly, generous and considerate. It is a virtue; a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition and concern for others. It means caring enough to reach out to someone in need.
It is a decision to put myself aside in favor of someone else and requires complete selflessness. It is a choice we need to make. We lose nothing.
Every day of our lives we are surrounded by numerous chances to be kind. Why do we miss them?
“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” (Og Mandino)