Five years ago I quit smoking. The first three months were terrible–lots of crying and worrying that I’d be logged on to my support site for the rest of my life and feeling like I’d accomplished some amazing feat by managing to wait 40 minutes for an oil change–how do nonsmokers wait? That seems like a zillion years ago. Now I just don’t smoke, never want to, and sometimes I feel shocked that you can, if you want to, just waltz into a store or gas station, plunk down a wad of cash, and walk out with twenty cigarettes. When I quit smoking I fundamentally changed how I organized my life, and I learned, by doing that, that you can fundamentally change how you organize your life. That lesson has enabled me in so many ways to make my life differently. It has also allowed me to do things like go for a 25 miles bike ride around town without even getting winded, and that’s what I did today to celebrate my quitaversary. I rode out to Lake Pontchartrain to check on the birds. I stopped and watched as a bunch of white ibis birds poked around in the ponding water at the levee. Some were snacking with their long beaks and others were fluffing themselves in the water–bathtime! Other birds were using this tree as a perch/lookout. I just sat there on my bike and watched them as they made their collective way along, waddle waddle waddle. And then I noticed this drinking fountain out in the grass. There’s also a lone picnic table out there, both signs that this used to be something else. I got back on my bike and took the long way home, stopping for nachos and margaritas to toast myself. I’m glad I quit smoking, and I’m also glad I ride a bike every day. It has fundamentally changed the way I pay attention, and at this point, not riding simply isn’t an option. Neither is smoking. Life is sweet.