I missed my vegan anniversary (veganniversary?). April marked 14 years that I’ve been vegan.
In my mind, that’s a good thing. Losing track means being vegan is no biggie; it’s a natural part of my life. I’m not trying hard to make it to the next milestone. It is part of who I am.
I remember the date, only because April is the month I moved from Canada to the USA. I’d read John Robbins’ Diet for a New America in 1998 and immediately cut out milk. I stopped eating eggs (except the ones hidden in baked goods). Cheese was the one thing I hung onto.
But a big move, an empty fridge, new grocery stores, restaurants, friends, and habits. What a perfect time to draw a line in the sand, step over it, and go vegan.
I’ve never successfully reinvented myself (partly because I bring myself with me everywhere I move); however, I did use April 2000 as a time to reinvent my eating habits.
I was already a staunch animal advocate and long-time vegetarian. Moving and “starting over” was a great impetus for taking the big leap.
After I settled down in Seattle, I connected with the Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN), met some terrific (smart, funny, passionate) animal rights people, and plugged into AR events around town.
That was it. It stuck. But it wasn’t a chore. It was–and is–an uplifting experience. Being vegan fills me with joy! I’m healthier for it, and I know I’m making a difference to animals who have no voice.
Sure, I’ve seen my share of unspeakable horrors in undercover videos and exposés. I’ve read about injustices and cruelty to animals that I never could have imagined in my worst nightmares. But I need to know the truth–and fight for those who can’t. Turning away doesn’t stop the cruelty.
I’ve also learned that it’s easy to burn out. So I make sure I lead a balanced life, complete with hobbies, interests, friends, and work. As important as it is to fight for animals, I know it’s also important to unwind, relax, recharge, and enjoy life.
I really believe we’re on the cusp of the next big social justice movement. I want to be on the right side of history. When generations from now, people ask why these evils happened, and who fought for the animals, I will know that I did. In some small way, I will have played a part in changing the world.
Grandiose? Perhaps. But hope and optimism fuel me. Well, that and delicious vegan food.
You are so right Jean. A vegan lifestyle becomes easier and easier. Initially I found I read a lot of labels but now I know what to buy and it is truly a wonderful lifestyle choice ❤
Yes, reading labels was my pastime for a while 😛 I still do, but I know what foods are vegan and gravitate to known brands. I also love the “v” logo I sometimes find on packaging. Very helpful. It’s easier now that it used to be. And very rewarding!
I love this post! I am glad every day that I am vegan, and that I am connected to a network of people that are vegan and see the true injustice that the food production and entertainment industries do to these creatures. Congratulations on 14 years! What a wonderful accomplishment!
Thanks! I’m glad you like it. I’d never thought I’d say “be vegan and make new friends” but I’ve met a lot of wonderful, likeminded people and it’s truly motivating! Even if you’re the only vegan in the room, it’s great to know there are literally millions of other vegans making similar choices and fighting the same battles for animals. That keeps me going.
I so agree!
Fourteen years – WOW! Just think of all the animals you’ve saved in that time. I really hope you’re right that we’re on the cusp of the next big social movement. Some days I feel like that, but other days…
Anywho, I also wanted to let you know that my blogger friend, Mike, is moving to Seattle soon. He’s a transitioning vegan who’s been struggling with the vegan transition, so I’m gonna tell him about you so that he’ll know of another vegan in town. Celeste 🙂
You’re right: I haven’t eaten a lot of animals 🙂 That does make a difference. It’s frustrating sometimes to see how slow the pace of change is, but I am optimistic. Compared to when I first started this, when people just looked at me strangely, we’ve made progress!
Tell your friend Mike to get in touch with me when he gets to Seattle. It’s (as you know) a vegan-friendly town. There’s a Seattle vegan blogger group on FB and Vegan Haven is a great place to buy groceries and meet like-minded people.
Congratulations!!! 14 years… I wish I can say ‘I’ve been vegan for …teen or …ty years’ very soon! For us it’s easier to remember, because it was our NY’s resolution. The best resolution one can make. So now, every NY we appreciate another year of being vegan and celebrate it with vegan deliciousness )))
Very nice (and encouraging) post!
Thank you! I like how you made your switch to veganism on NYE! You’ll never forget and you’ll always have fireworks to celebrate! Thanks for your comment. I’m always happy to meet other vegans!