At least this post could be, any of my posts could be my last, technically. That is part of what makes life both interesting, and scary, the thrill of not knowing what the future holds. However, that future becomes less and less of a mystery the more we learn about how the human body works, which tends to make life more scary and less interesting.
This is a flaw of modern medical science I had not considered, until just tonight. For the last week I have noticed symptoms that are common in throat cancer, and strep throat. Right now it is a toss up between the two, considering I live in a big city, going shopping is taking a huge risk with your health, you will come into contact with people who have all sorts of illnesses and not even know it. However, I have a very bad habit of smoking, and thus the throat cancer is also as likely as the other. This is what started me to thinking about my future, so suddenly, and what the implications of cancer would be.
It would be dishonest to say I am not genuinely scared about this, the awe and wonder, the splendor of life itself, has suddenly been overshadowed by the fear that I may have caused my life to be cut very short. Being only 39 years, I should have at least another 50 years of life, had I not been so stupid. I have mixed feelings about making this mistake, as you know I do not think we should regret anything we do in life, even our mistakes make up who we are, but this time I am beginning to feel regret about this one.
But let's look at this more in depth, to understand why I feel regret I had to think more on the decision that was such a huge mistake. What did I learn from it, oddly the addiction to nicotine is the one and only reason I did not try any really hard drugs, even so far as to avoid prescription pain medications whenever possible out of fear of becoming addicted to them. There are many pains I have never told my doctor about, because I know they will just prescribe pain medications for them anyway.
Okay, so that is one good outcome of the decision, but that can't be all, that can not in any way be the only good thing to come of it. Nicotine is suppose to have a benefit, and effect that's desirable, it's suppose to calm you, right? Well, yeah, sure, the same way sucking on a pacifier would calm you, and that's it. There is no real calming effect to smoking. The calming effect of nicotine is so mild that it is unnoticeable, the smoking itself has a much bigger calming effect, but that could be achieved by sucking on anything, really.
So then perhaps being an example of what not to do, well yeah, that's great, for the people who learn from your mistake. For you, being an example of what not to do has no benefit, none at all, because there are many more just like you, who made the same mistake as you, and none of you will stand out, or be remembered for that mistake. This is not a good outcome of your mistake, if anything it's beneficial for other people, but has no benefit to you, because the benefit to other people is when you become nothing more than another statistic.
Is smoking a part of my personality? Not really. It is one decision that would have had no impact on my personality at all. I learned little from it, had little change in influence because of it, and my social interactions would have never been impacted either way. It has the same impact on my personality as what I ate for lunch last year, during the Spring equinox did. I have found one decision, one choice, in my entire life that I can, and should, regret.
I still do not recant my assertion that you should not regret your decisions, but you should really consider why you made those decisions and consider if making a different one would impact who you are before you regret them. If the decision would not effect your personality, if you would learn nothing from it, if it would have only harmed you, then you should regret it. However, if a decision did result in something that would change your personality or teach you a valuable lesson, you should not regret it no matter how bad you think the outcome was.
I regret smoking, it would have been better and I would still be the same person if I had never started this bad habit. There is no benefit, there is nothing to learn from it, there is only danger, risk of a horrible life and death, that is all smoking has to offer. Yet, I still do not believe it should be made illegal, actually no drugs should be made illegal, because that actually does encourage people to do it more than making it readily available. We need education more than anything, I will always call education the cure-all for everything, because it really is the only thing that has demonstrated a flawless track record in decreasing problems in our species.