So Am I a 40 Year Old Smoker?


I celebrated my 40th Birthday over the weekend.

Happy Birthday to me – Happy Birthday to Deakin!

I had a pool party, with ice-cream cake. Just like when I was a little girl. There may have also been some french champagne consumed to celebrate the milestone.

Did I smoke? Have I had a single puff on a ciggie since March 10, 2014 – the day Deakin University and I pledged to go ‘Smoke-Free’?

The answer is no. I did it! I am over the moon. I achieved my goal to be a non-smoking 40 year old. And along with Deakin, celebrated nine months without smoking on December 10, 2014.

I won’t be blogging much, but will check in every couple of months to let you know how things are travelling. But until then, thank you to all of you who helped me (and many other Deakin staff members and students) kick the habit this year. You know who you are – and I want you to know that without your support I may not have been able to do this. It has been bloody hard!

Wishing you all a fantastic festive season. And if your new years resolution is to quit, make sure you check out the Smoke-Free website for tips and tricks.


Smoke Free accolades at Vic Health Awards

Deakin University was part of the successful team acknowledged for the success of the Tobacco-free University State wide collaboration at the recent Vic Health Awards. Well done team!

“VicHealth has acknowledged some of the most outstanding projects and campaigns involved in improving the health and wellbeing of Victorians at its annual health promotion awards.

Winners of the 2014 Victorian Health Promotion Foundation Awards were announced at a ceremony in Melbourne this evening by VicHealth Chair Professor John Catford and VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter.

Successful initiatives range from a local gymnastics program making a huge difference to the confidence and mobility of people with disabilities to a state-wide smoking harm-prevention initiative, and even a world-first gender equality program aimed at preventing violence against women by reaching people where they live, work and play.”

Read the rest of the article here. 

Collaboration Key to Smoke-Free

Moving university campuses tobacco-free: collective responsibility and collaboration the key to a healthier Victoria by Catherine M. Bennett and Jerril Rechter

For more information on what Deakin University is doing, visit the Smoke-Free website.



Finding Grey – but not quite #fiftyshades

It has been eight (8) months since I last puffed on a smoke. It actually astounds me to be honest! I have learnt so much about myself since the day I stopped. I discovered a stubbornness I had only ever been accused of  but never really owned. I own it now. I discovered that my mental health was not as balanced as I would like. Why else would going without my daily inhalations cause me (and those around me) so much angst? I discovered red wine. Not that we were not friends before I stopped, but that I began to rely on a glass to wind down. #nippedthatinthebudsuperquick

Not sure if you’ve noticed that I no longer say ‘gave up’ ‘give up’ or ‘sacrificed’ anymore? It’s just that I have realised I have gained so much more:

  • Freedom.
  • My breath.
  • My health.
  • Clarity.
  • Patience.
  • Friendships.
  • Respect (that from my daughters and parents means the most).
  • Money (not to brag but it’s in the thousands!).
  • Extra kilos……. ouch! It was all sounding so positive….

To be fair, the day Deakin and I quit smoking, I made the mistake of also quitting the gym. Something which I am about to rectify! To think I am terrified to walk back in kilos heavier – when I should be proud. This is all about to change.

And I discovered shades of grey (perhaps not fifty); in my outlook, my marriage, my friendships, my view of the world. As an addict I had a very strong opinion on my right to smoke – when and where I wanted to. As time passes, I realise that some of my views were one-sided and selfish. And I do still adore the smell, so this is not a rant from a ‘reformed smoker’, merely an observation of the person I was and the person i am becoming. Discovering shades of grey that i was unaware of before. And the good, bad and ugly within myself, particularly around coping mechanisms for when things get tough.

The Smoke Free at Deakin Project team recently celebrated the success of the quit smoking journey, particularly honouring the Smoke Free Ambassadors and humbly, myself. It was a very proud moment. And I thank Deakin and particularly the Project Manager, Trish Ritchie, for allowing me the opportunity to represent the University in such an important way.

And I need to say ‘Thank You’, because without this extra motivation I may not have been able to achieve being smoke free for this long. And before my 40th Birthday? I never thought this would be possible!

The project is drawing to a close, and like all good things, so will my blog. So please, if you have anything you would like to contribute – get in touch! December 6 sees my official 40th Birthday and  I am proud to join my workplace, and Alumni in celebrating such a fantastic milestone.