Two Days, Eight Hours, Twenty-One Minutes

It’s easy to forget how quickly time has passed until someone asks you something like, “So how long have you lived in New York?” or “How long have you two been together?” Or in my case, “How long have you been a smoker?”

I’ve been smoking for over ten years. Since before I had my first car, my first apartment, my first love. Maybe after ten years, I can finally admit that cigarettes probably were that first love, and will be my hardest breakup yet.

Not that I haven’t tried to quit one or two or ten times. For a while, I was always on my last pack, or would only bum cigarettes. I would quit after a milestone, only to fall back into it after a stressful day or a great night.

It has always been a constant negotiation with myself. Between the person who really did not want to quit at all, and the person who wanted to want to quit. But I’ll probably never fully be ready to quit (that is how addiction works, right?), so I might as well just bite the bullet and do it now.

You’d think that living in a place like nyc means that quitting is so much easier: after all, there’s no indoor smoking, cigarettes cost an arm and a leg (in addition to a lung), and even on the first day of spring, the snow is a welcome excuse to stay indoors and fight those cravings.

But I think I may have finally found my perfect quitting aid. The patch and gum never worked for me: the gum tasted terrible, and the social aspect of smoking vanished. For a while I tried the e-cig, but couldn’t help but feel like an extra in a B-list futuristic movie.

But by harnessing my greatest and strongest flaw, I think I may have found my method for success: competition. Two days ago, I started using the Quit Now! App, which tracks all sorts of statistics about your progress, while comparing them to those of strangers around you. Suddenly, I needed my lung capacity to be better than the guy in Bed-Stuy, and my heart disease risk to be lower than the girl uptown. I’ll be damned if they beat me.

Suddenly I don’t feel like a quitter anymore. Now I’m starting to feel like a winner.

**Originally published on TwentysomethingNYC.com on March 20, 2015**

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Two Days, Eight Hours, Twenty-One Minutes

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