Anybody who read my previous column knows that I don’t do specific New Year’s resolutions, but just a vague theme for a year which gives me enough room to do what I want. However, this year I broke my own tradition and I did make a specific resolution: to quit smoking.
It had been in my mind for a couple of weeks and a few people told me that I really had to quit. Of course I knew they were right, also because some of them work in health care and knew how I would end up: black lungs, bad health and a shorter life span. So I decided that the 1st of January was the day I would never touch a cigarette again.
This thought worried me a little though, because four years ago I tried to quit smoking during the summer and was free of it for three months. But that did not go as planned, with withdrawal symptoms, cheating by smoking when I drank alcohol and eventually going back to full-time smoking due to deadline stress.
So naturally I expected that this time I would have to go through life as some kind of melodramatic telenovela actor because of withdrawal symptoms. On the one hand because smoking for ten years is quite an addiction, on the other hand because I can be theatrical at times.
But what happened on the 1st of January, you will not believe! (I am sorry for this clickbait sentence). I barely felt the withdrawal symptoms and from one moment to the next, I did not touch cigarettes. The first week I did have some headaches and the worst concentration span ever, but that was it. Furthermore, I had two exams and two deadlines straight after the Christmas break so it might not have been the best planning. But boy, did I underestimate myself. Not only was I able to prepare for the exams and meet my deadline, but I am still living a smoking-free life!
That made me think of how I (and maybe people in general) underestimated myself regarding what I can and cannot do. Apparently I can do more things than I initially thought. Except ignoring chocolate, because I eat that on a daily basis now. But hey, we always have next year’s resolutions.
Rocher Koendjbiharie is a master student International Public Management & Policy