An Ode to Smoking, An Ode to my Youth

When I first started smoking at 18, I promised myself I wouldn't smoke past 30. 

I made this seemingly arbitrary deal with myself for a few reasons:

  1. I couldn't smoke longer than my Dad. 
  2. Smoking in your 20s looks trendy. Smoking any later than that looks like an addiction.
  3. I really don't want to be that smoker that dies of smoking-related illness. 

I have been 30 for 5 days and a ~non-smoker~ for 21 days. 

This isn't the first time I've quit. I have smoked on and off since I was 18. Sometimes quitting for as long as 9 months and then picking it up again -- purposefully -- as soon as I was traveling again or as soon as I was in a new place trying to make new friends. For me, smoking has almost been part of my identity. I held it close and associated it with my adventurous spirit, no-fucks-given attitude, and general efforts to live in badass-ery. It was, indivisible from my youth. 

I love smoking. I fucking love it. I wish it couldn't kill me. I have described many moments as, "cigarette moments." Those moments that are enhanced by sharing a smoke or taking the time to sit and reflect over a smoke. I have only ever dated one non-smoker; there is no better feeling than getting to know someone you're into over a smoke, or sharing a smoke in a stolen moment alone, or having your boo roll you a smoke while you're driving. I love smoking after a day of shredding. I love smoking driving home alone at night with the Northern Lights above me and country music playing over the radio. I love smoking with my friends outside a bar in the freezing cold. I love everything about the social aspects of smoking and the way it ties together a moment of aloneness into one that is special and remarkable because revelling in one's aloneness is good and nourishing and sometimes a cigarette would make that OK for me to do.

This is an ode to smoking, an ode to my youth. I want to quit smoking for my health, both mental and physical, for my relationship, and for myself. I don't regret smoking but I certainly don't want to bring it with me during this transition phase of my life. I don't want to bring smokes into adulthood with me. I want to leave them where I needed them and remember them as a friend I outgrew. They were always there for companionship, comfort and prop, but to be honest, I want to rely on myself for those things. I don't want a cancer-causing stand-in for self-care. I want to find new ways to relish in those special life moments.