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GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are quitting or even just thinking of quitting, please join us! We kindly ask that politics be left out.  

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When I was a little kid, I used to think that once you grew up, you'd somehow just "get it." That you'd simply KNOW how to do things. I thought that age and experience automatically delivered wisdom and understanding, as well as the ability to carry out whatever task or course of action that understanding required.

Welllll, at it turns out? Not so much.

What you don't know as a little kid, what grown-ups don't really tell you, is that despite our age and supposed wisdom, most of us have no idea what we're doing half the time. We don't always know what happens next, or what to do to fix things that aren't working for us. In fact, most of us go through most of life just figuring it out as we go along.

That's not to say that age and experience doesn't give you a better toolbox to work with. They certainly give you a bigger frame of reference through which you can examine whatever it is you're up against. You can better judge the likely consequences of a particular course of action, and choose accordingly. You tend to have a better sense of what (in general) works for you, and what (in general) does not. By the time you're firmly settled into adulthood, you also tend to be a little more more self-aware: you have some idea of what motivates you, whether you're goal-oriented or competitive, Type A or Type B, controlling or passive, proactive or reactive---whether you're happy with that or not.

But even this level of self-knowledge and understanding can sometimes fail us when we're tackling particularly difficult things: addressing relationship problems, facing serious illness in ourselves or loved ones, coping with stress or a change in routine at home or at work, even attempting behavioral change.

These sorts of things tend to nudge us out of our comfort zones (where we operate on a kind of life skills auto-pilot), and force us to consciously, critically observe our own circumstances, as well as our own response to them. We don't always like what we see, and sometimes it forces us to radically re-think the way we do things, which is never easy, but sometimes necessary.

Still, it's worth noting that no matter how well thought-out our plans, how reasoned our arguments, and how optimistic and committed to a specific course of action we might be, things may go wrong. If it doesn't work out the way we thought it would, it's our challenge to muster up all the wisdom, experience, and life skills we can and apply them to approaching things in a different way until it DOES work out.

There's nothing wrong with not getting it right the first time, or in not knowing all the answers. It helps to remember that almost nobody else does, either. There's no magic, one-size-fits-all solution. We're all just figuring things out as we go along...and as long as you keep at it, odds are good that you'll hit on something that works for you eventually.
 

Who's Your Li'l Buddy?
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