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Coming of Age

At sixteen I attended a seminar on Smoking – How to Quit, a compulsory meeting held in the gym at the high school I was attending.
I was the girl standing by the split rail fence just at the edge of the school property smoking with the other {boys} kids that had taken up the fashionable monkey of the day. Looking back, I was just one of the guys on break. There were other kids in school that smoked but they ‘snuck their smokes behind closed doors of bathrooms. We were the open ones about our habit.
At this seminar we were allowed questions and I asked, “How long before the dreadful things you talked about happening, will actually happen? Five, ten, twenty years? This was part smart aleck and part truly wanting to know. At sixteen, the years stretch before you giving the false belief of invincibility. When told an average of ten years was the norm, I walked away with the mantra of “I’ll worry about this when I’m twenty-six” and into a maelstrom of disease.

A year later, the second brick in my road to destruction was laid. On the yearly trip to the dentist, my first cavity was discovered and filled. It’s easy to see milestones when you’re looking back to an incident which should have been merely a rite of passage step.

When I dated my future husband, we would end in a bar here or there drinking and talking for hours. Drinking alcohol was not normal even though I already had ‘come of age’ a year previous. My mother was an alcoholic so I shied away from heavy drink.

I now had the three ingredients for my future disaster.

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