Often, when faced with challenges and difficult times in life, the advice that is given is to keep going; don’t give up. Personally, I’ve discovered that sometimes giving up is the only way to stay sane.
I quit fighting to make my only real relationship work.
From the time that I was barely 18 until almost 21, I was madly in love. He was six years my elder and I thought he was going to be my future. There were warning signs that it wasn’t going to work out; the relationship was an uphill battle for most of its entirety. I guess after he kissed someone else I should have walked away… but he was my true love, you know? The pressure of long distance was wearing on him and we could make it through this challenge. And six months later when he casually mentioned he doesn’t ever see himself living with me… that was obviously just because he’s never lived away from home and loves living with his mother… clearly his opinion will change in time. Because true love. Eventually we found ourselves waiting in the emergency room of a hospital because I lost consciousness randomly. I was scared and confused as to what was going on with me, but he was preoccupied with what he thought was maybe a cold he was getting because his throat was scratchy. He spent hours complaining about his runny nose while I waited to be seen by a doctor. Luckily, I was fine, but it was finally clear to me that our relationship wasn’t. So I ended it. I turned 21 freshly single and, oh man, it was great. So much stress and pain melted away and it felt so good not to have to try tirelessly to make something last. Which brings me to my next adventure…
I quit having casual sex.
After the break up, I was a new woman. And, it’s important to mention, my ex-boyfriend had been my “first.” I felt like a caged tiger released into a town of unsuspecting babes. I went from having sex with one man for three years to having sex with many men for one night at a time. And I did not return calls or texts. It was amazing to play the role of a stereotypical single man; sleep with whomever you please with no further accountability. Obviously, be safe, but that’s the only rule. It worked for a while, but I remember the exact moment it stopped working – mid-coitus, I looked up at the pink, squishy man humping me and it dawned on me… I am in no way even attracted to this person… it felt empty. So I vowed to stop having sex without having an emotional connection. And I did quit it, but not before karma took its toll and I was the one not getting called back or texted. Dating was hard.
So, I quit dating.
Quit dating AND casual sex? That’s right. I’m not getting any. And it’s fabulous. I’ve been single for over two years now. Until recently, being single has felt like a curse. I’ve tried everything from making super uncomfortable eye contact with strangers at bars to Tinder… nothing has worked. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve talked to plenty of men and have had plenty of dates. So why wasn’t any of it working? It took me a long time but I came to realize that it’s me, not them. I’m probably ready for another long commitment but being single is… well… awesome. Do you want to know how long it’s been since I shaved? No, you probably don’t. But I don’t care because I’m the only person who has to deal with it and shaving is soo annoying. I have watched more Netflix than any functioning human should – anything I want to watch with no one else’s opinions to consider. Plus, I’m going back to school and still working full time. I’m tired and busy, I don’t want to make time for anyone but myself. Quitting dating has been my favorite so far.
And finally, I quit smoking.
I love smoking cigarettes. There’s a certain social aspect of smoking that non-smokers don’t get to experience (unless you’re the type of non-smoker who enjoys standing outside for 10 minutes at a time starting conversations with other strangers doing the same). There’s almost nothing as satisfying as lighting up after a big meal or some decent sex. But I’ll admit, I was getting tired of smelling like an ashtray and having to carry gum or mints everywhere. And, you know, maybe I don’t want to look like a wrinkly grim reaper in 10 years and I want to live as long as possible. So I quit smoking by using a vaporizer with a low nicotine level. Even though I still think “vaping” is super douchey, I will testify that it helped me quit.
I never knew freedom like I know now until I began quitting. Quitting is the only way I was able to start from scratch and live differently. It’s probably not the best advice to say that everyone should just quit whatever they’re doing, but I firmly believe that the only way you can find balance in life is to quit trying sometimes. You can only move forward it you leave certain things behind, and I am definitely moving forward.