Tuesday, 18 November 2008

On giving up

I've been reading someone's account of trying to give up smoking. And failing. Good intentions, plans, deadline to quit. And then, missing it, needing it, wanting to start again. Not sleeping well, wake up feeling sick, head aches, irritable. Remembering the enjoyment, the fun times, the relaxation - knowing it's bad for you, but wanting to go back. I thought it was strange. It didn't sound so much to me like giving up smoking as giving up a relationship. The one where you suddenly realise it isn't for you any more. There comes a moment when you realise however good it has been, it's just not a good idea to continue with it. So you go through the same process as the person quitting smoking. Decide to end it. Pluck up the courage to do it, psyche yourself up. Go through with it. Tell him. And miss him. Spend all your time thinking about him, sleep badly, wake up feeling sick wondering why you have done this and ask yourself if you have done the wrong thing. You remember the good times. You look at the 'phone, wait for it to ring. When it rings, you don't know whether to answer it or leave it. If you do answer it and it's not him, you are annoyed with yourself for feeling disappointed. Or these days, you're just as likely to break up by email. So you rush to look at your mails. Disappointed when it's not from him. Stomach churns when it is and you close it without replying. But he's persistent and you can't resist, so you start all over again. And it's good for a while. Although you know it's really not doing you any good. So you try stopping again. And again. Going through the same process each time. Feeling guilty for starting again, enjoying it but knowing at some point you are really going to have to end it for good. And one day you do. You don't know at the time, but as the days pass and you think about him less, don't have the same desire any more, and don't look at the 'phone all the time or dash to your inbox - that's when you've got it beaten. I don't know if it's the same for smokers, because I've never started, so I've never had to give up. Guess giving up anything - chocolate, alcohol, cigarettes, a relationship - is difficult. The only difference with giving up a relationship is that there is someone on the other end. Maybe finding it as hard as you. Or harder. Or maybe easier. But when you've given him up, you'll never know what he thought. Best not to think about it either.