One Year

Sometime this week, I’m not exactly sure of the date, is the one year anniversary that I quit smoking. I remember the very last cigarette, knowing that it was my last forever and knowing that I couldn’t wait to tell my Mom. I also knew that the first question after telling her I quit would be, “how long ago?” and it was. I knew that when I said, “a week ago,” she would be disappointed yet cautiously optimistic. I also knew what she didn’t; in exactly one year, I would write this message and we could all celebrate that I REALLY did quit smoking. Boo-yah.

Five years ago, I wrote the very last entry in my very first diary. It’s not on the last page, but it will be the last thing ever written in that book. I was smack dab in the middle of my “quarter life crisis” as it is wretchedly refered to and desperate for the hand of God or a career counselor to annoint me with “the answer.”

Like everyone my age who grew up with hippy parents and Oprah telling us that, “anything is possible if you put your mind to it.” and “follow your passion,” I was sick with the pressure to limit my passion down to one neatly defined goal and then “put my mind to it” so that I could be the best at my chosen passion (which is also somehow implied in the message). Actor, writer, cartographer, midwife, advertiser, vagabond, momma my mind marched on and on and on and on. Completely overwhelmed I quit school, my job and my boyfriend.

None of it was a plan, none of it was “putting my mind to it.” For a year and a half I simply was doing and it felt right. I made a lot of good art and good friends. I took control of floundering relationships, I laughed all the time, I confounded my loved ones with my decisions. I lived without regard for other people’s expectations and was really, really, really free. I worked a job with people I LOVED even though the work itself left something to be desired. It was a raucous, joyous, simple and easy time that could have gone on forever.

The very last line of the very last entry of my very first diary is, “maybe I should travel.” I lied to my hair dresser that the reason I had so many split ends was because I had just finished a trip around the world and was too afraid to get my hair cut overseas. Somehow planted a life seed without even knowing it.

Five years later, I live on the other side of the world and my mind chants, “actor, writer, cartographer, midwife, advertiser, vagobond, momma and on and on and on.” And I get overwhelmed. And I write in my journal. And I KNOW that Oprah and my hippy parents are right. I just wonder what seeds I’m planting right now. But most of all I’m really happy that I FUCKING QUIT SMOING!!!!!!!!! because what more proof do I need that anything is possible?

I hope you all can take this as an excuse to stop worrying about “the plan” and realize that you are probably doing more planning than you know.

Love, Laurel

PS A special shout out to all my homies that quit smoking this year too (I can’t wait till you get to write this message): Dad, Emily, Evan, Jason, Hilah, Mark, Kim and Sigmund. A special FUCK YEAH to all of you!

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