New Year's Resolution to Quit Smoking

Robyn and Angus

Why didn't Robyn make a New Year's Resolution to quit smoking?

Why should you?

...I write this for Robyn.

Robyn is my sister, well she was, but she died last year from emphysema.

I wonder if I can put myself in her shoes, go back some years, and pretend to say, "What will my New Year's Resolution be?

Let's say I'm Robyn and I'm a pretty teenager. I'm captain of my year's basketball team. I win the prestigious countrywide inter-college Art Prize. I then go on to get my Fine Art's Degree. I don't do sport anymore... with smoking it's not so easy to keep fit.

I travel overseas, get married, and have babies. I think about quitting smoking and half-heartedly try a few times. Trouble is I hate people telling me what I should and should not do — I'm very bossy.

Then comes divorce, and I'm back in my home country, teaching art and raising my young daughters on my own. I quit smoking by hypnosis, and tell my family so.

But I haven't totally quit for good, and really my New Year's resolution to quit smoking should've been 100% there and then. But I wasn't honest with my family and myself. They could have encouraged and supported me, but I mostly hid my smoking. I was too busy and too tired to commit to making the effort to quit.

I told them... I don't need anyone's help, don't tell ME what to do, butt out, leave me alone.

Then comes 1997, and my first grandchild, Connor, is born. Do I resolve finally that this New Year's resolution to stop smoking is important? Unfortunately to those dear to me and my own deepest regrets, no.

Then in 2000, when Angus is born, and my daughter Nicky is upset because she caught me smoking and she and her husband won't let me in their house alone, or near the baby because of the smell of smoke. Should I have made a New Year's resolution to quit smoking that year?

By the time Briana is born, my son-on-law and I are really clashing. We're both feisty and he says he doesn't want me around the kids because I smoke, and I say I don't smoke, (and all the while I'm looking for chances to hang out a window to have a puff). I adore my grandchildren, I love showing them arty things, but my coughing frightens them, and I live in this state of fear, bitterness, self-deception and chronic breathlessness.

Did I make a quit smoking New Year's resolution that year, the next year, or... by the next it was too late.

Yes, I think if I was Robyn, and I knew what I know now, I would definitely have made and kept my New Year's resolution to quit smoking long ago... and I would implore all other smokers likewise.

Hurry, there's no time like the current New Year.

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