Pardon the alliteration. But why on God’s green ganja smokin Earth did I quit smoking pot?
It was holding me back.
In high school, I used pot for the best reason of all, peer pressure: I wanted new friends. It worked.
But in my case, despite new friends, lucky enough, I didn’t like the way pot made me feel. Plus, somewhere along the way, I grew bored of the people passing the joint. I wanted more from myself. As a concession to my ambition, I gave up smoking pot.
Why did I give up smoking cigarettes? This answer is a little more complex.
It took me 7-failed attempts. When something you’re not even that into takes 7-failed attempts to quit, you know someone’s getting rich.
And It Ain’t You, Cowboy.
I was broke, living on Saint Marks Place, struggling at my first gig in advertising, paying off debts from playing too many years in a going nowhere band.
Got my hands on the autobiography of PT Barnum, thinking I’d learn how to blend my background in performance with my newfound desire to be the most successful huckster in the history of advertising.
Instead, what I took away from the book was how PT Barnum got himself out of debt. Every single day, for the duration of 1-year, at the beginning of his 30’s, he wrote down absolutely every single thing he spent money on.
Every single day, for the duration of 1-year.
At the end of the year, through force of discipline and a newly acquired understanding of where all of his money was going, PT Barnum developed a perspective for how to realistically cut down his overhead, and free himself of debt.
I was done being a sucker!
You wouldn’t believe how much money people spend each year on cigarettes. I’d like to say I gave up smoking for reasons related to health or a fervent desire to take back my freedom from Big Tobacco.
Truth is, my newly acquired understanding of where all my money was going told me cigarettes were a treat for the affluent. Lucky enough, at that point in my life, living on Saint Marks Place, with an unemployed dominatrix and passive-aggressive junkie, I was the opposite of affluent.
The cigarettes had to go. So did the dominatrix. So did the junkie.
Somewhere in my early 30’s, for the first time in my adult life, I was able to afford rent, without the help of a girlfriend or roommate.
I was free. Now the real problems started.
Of course, seeing a problem and dealing with a problem are two very different things. But I dealt with my problems, and on the other side, I discovered new, more complex problems.
How do I want to take care of myself? If I make a change, do I have to go back to living with roommates? God help me.
How do I flip the switch from boy to man? Or do I live my life in an extended adolescence, keeping myself in the center of everything, never learning how to give and take focus, clinging to the baton and never passing it, stepping on necks to get a leg up instead of lifting everyone up around me.
God help me, the last question was a biggie.