I've always said, "When I turn 30, I'll quit smoking".
Thirty seemed so far away at the time; so full of possibility, a mile stone. By the time I was thirty I would have a career, a decent apartment, and get ready to settle down. I would have been to Europe at least once and had two serious boyfriends. I based my life's dream on my parents. Both were in their early thirties when they met, fell in love, and started popping out kids.
Now, on the eve of my 29th birthday I realize I haven't experienced any of the above. I live in Murderville with my longest relationship, my cat Yuli. I have a job but no career or prospects. The only thing I have is the promise (or prediction) that I will quit filling my lungs with delicious imported smoke within the year. I'm starting to think I didn't know what I was talking about.
On the one hand, this could be the start to completing my wish list. Maybe if I follow through the rest will fall into place. The realist in me starts yelling every time I think that. Do I really believe my life will turn around if I do this one thing? Come on!
On the other hand, smoking is the one constant in my life. Sad, I know, but true. It's been helping me self-medicate for years and never lets me down. It is the best cure for stress or heartbreak, to cool off after sex, or as an excuse to take a break at work. I spend more time outdoors, much like your neighborhood postman- come rain or shine! It makes me happy. Sure, it may kill me. My family hasn't had a lot of luck in the smoking department, but for every sad story there's a George Burns or Dorothy Parker looming around the corner.
[side note: Everytime I think or hear George Burns, my brains 1st thought is this, then this, then this.]
Maybe I'll end up miserable, bored, and snacking on Cheetos.
Maybe my love life would improve. I always seem to be drawn to non-smokers, but I think part of that is the back of my brain telling me, "Do it! It will be easier to quit when you're 30 if he doesn't smoke as well". Kind of selfish now that I think about it, but what the heart wants…
It's not that it defines me. I think if you asked any of my friends, "smoker" would be far down the list of qualifying characteristics. They're more likely to say I'm crazy or bitchy or smart or funny or interesting. Maybe they'll say I'm attractive in that unconventional way. Eventually, they may say I'm a smoker but really, how often does it come up?
As I get older and more depressed by the events of my life, it's hard to imagine the equally depressed young girl who took up smoking in the first place. We are so different from one another but the same. Sounds like something Camus would go on about. Of course, I'm pretty sure he smoked.