Chain S̶m̶o̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ Reactions Part II

So now it’s 16:15 on 21st January 2010, and outside Boots on Queen St, Cardiff, I’ve just stamped out my last cigarette. That near-thirteen year chapter is closed.

I turn and walk into Boots, and walk out with Nicorette Inhalators. Terrible, plastic devices with an aesthetic not dissimilar from a tampon. But they work. They absolutely work.

Before I digress further into the process of overcoming the addiction, the actual point of this blog is to tell you about some of the ways the decision to do so changed my life. And how some of them are very far from the standard changes you’d expect.

Area of Change #1 – Health.

At the beginning if 2010 I was the most overweight I had ever been. I was perilously close to tipping 17st the rare times I had the bravery to face the scales.

When I gave up smoking, I decided to take up running to make use of my lungs. When I say ‘running’… it was jogging with intermittent spells of walking holding in a stitch. But, you gotta start somewhere.

In February I joined Cardiff Dragons FC to play football, to marry fun and exercise.

By July/August, running, eating sensibly and a more positive outlook had brought me down to 13st 4lbs.

3st in 6 months was a huge difference. I felt a million times better with myself. I was still by no means skinny, or toned, but comfortably in the ‘average’ bracket, and began to feel attractive.

This has plateaued since, staying around the 14st mark as laziness and winter set in, which is still a marked improvement on this time last year. And giving up smoking got that ball rolling.

Area of Change #2 – Technology

Now this one may surprise you, but giving up smoking was my impotus to join the twenty-first century properly.

Having done a few calculations, I realised I stood to save around £150 a month not buying cigarettes. Having never made this disturbing calculation before, I decided the best way to register it in my mind, was to treat myself to something worth that much money, to see what I was throwing away.

Hello iPhone.

£90 16Gb 3GS on a £35 tariff, plus insurance = £135.

I saved £15.

And gained an invaluable new addition to my life.

Anyone who moves from a regular phone (in my case a Nokia N95 8Gb) to an iPhone will
attest just how epoch-making the change is.

I had finally joined the iPod generation, and anyone who knows me knows how much I live my music.
I had access to new music on the go with the iTunes app.
Apps to get me back into learning Japanese, help me manage my new jogging habit, boil the perfect egg…

I know it’s ridiculous, but I love my iPhone. And I only bought it as a present to myself for giving up.

Area of Change #3 – Social.

Now, here is where Chain Reaction idea comes in [finally].

Give up smoking
Buy iPhone as present
Discover Twitter.

As a new iPhone user, and hearing it banded about on Radio 1 incessantly, 2010 saw my interest for Twitter finally piqued to the point where I got into it passed a few vapid musings here and there.

And, well, if you’ve been following the rampant tweeting of @kinkitsune in the last few months, you’ll know what an epic change this has made.

Area of Change #4 – Sex/Relationships Part I

Give up smoking
Buy iPhone as present
Discover Grindr

Thanks to Stephen Fry, this was one of the first things I searched for in the App Store.

My gaydar is terrible. I figured, who needs one when you’ve got GPS?

Now, my relationship with Grindr is a very restrained one. It’s not about simple hook-ups — it’s about actual networking with local guys. Grindr sourced me 17 dates in 2010 from Feb-Aug, which had surpassed the number I’d been on in the two preceding years.

This vastly improved by confidence, and my comfort in a date scenario.

And, of course some of those dates turned to second dates, and a few to third dates, and a couple to sexy times.

Obvious bonus there.

Area of Change 5 – Sex/Relationships Part II

Give up smoking
Buy iPhone as present
Discover Grindr/Twitter
Find first decent boyfriend in too long

The boyfriend in question, who is now sadly an ex, only fell into my life via the above chain of events.

Proof of this, is that we did actually meet 2 months before we ‘met’, in Wow, Cardiff as he and his friends were out celebrating a birthday. And this meeting ended in me kissing his celebrating friend as one of his “I need to kiss one boy for every year I’ve lived!” plan.

Cue a Grindr profile pic in June/July with St. George’s cross on my face. Conversation starts about the World Cup, and football in general.

Then numerous conversations on Twitter. Then a few beers and a movie, just as mates.

Then dating.

Only happened because I gave up smoking, bought an iPhone, and got into some social networking apps.

Area of Change 6 – Alcohol Consumption

Apparently not buying cigarettes for a year has saved me nearly £1800. As I have NOTHING to show for that, I can only assume I drunk it. Oh well!

Pretty mad to see how that one decision influenced key events in the year that’s passed since.

I’m now wondering, what the epoch-making decision of 2011 going to be..?

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