“To be [vegan], or not to be [vegan], that is the question.”
At this point, it’s nearly sunset on the east coast and here I am sitting on my chocolate-colored couch with my head rested on my hand thinking deeply about what to do. To be vegan or not to be vegan, that is the question (in my case, not in the case of Hamlet). I have not been vegan all too long. I would say it’s been a month and a half. Since becoming a vegetarian and eventually vegan, I have learned to appreciate vegetables much more. They have permanently wiggled their way into a large portion of my diet. I feel both healthier and happier knowing that now my beliefs match my decisions.
This is where the “but” comes in. There is always a “but” with big decisions. But, I miss being able to casually go to breakfast, eating baked goods (all of them in general – Can’t there be a closer vegan bakery than Babycakes NYC?), and not being questioned by my family like I’ve made the decision to go run off with a man I’d only met a month ago. Mainly, I miss the social aspect of eating. Not of eating meat. I don’t miss that at all, but I do miss the idea of being able to go out and have ice cream or actually being able to eat when I go out and “eat” breakfast. I know all of the horrible things that happen to animals and I don’t agree with any of them. I’m at a point where I’m wondering if I should follow Voltaire’s advice and Gretchen Rubin’s secret of adulthood, which is “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
Just because I don’t believe in animal cruelty, doesn’t mean I can’t go find an ethical source of eggs to eat or use in my cooking. Does it? This issue has been on my mind for a while. Being vegan doesn’t allow for much flexibility. For me, when I choose to do something I usually want to do it “perfect” and I dearly try not to screw it up. Maybe being vegan is just too confining for met. I can do it and I’m mostly happy doing it, but I want to be free to have an egg once in a while if I want one or to eat something that contains dairy on a special occasion. While those aren’t the perfect choices in terms of health or animal cruelty, maybe I have to be more forgiving of myself. Forget maybe, I know I do. So many times, I’ve downed myself for being who I am or the decisions I’ve made (or not made). I will admit it, I am not “perfect” or anywhere near close. I have flaws. I am only human. I am an indecisive human, at that.
I’m at a point where I have to stand behind my decisions proudly. I will still have a heart if I eat a little bit of feta cheese. It won’t have disappeared and I won’t have started to melt to the ground like the witch in The Wizard of Oz. My head may not be completely at ease or guilt-free about the decision, but life is about compromise. It’s about standing up for what you believe in (for sure!), but also about accepting yourself and your limits. I may have reached my own limit at vegetarianism. I’m not sure yet. It’s all so confusing with so much research backing a plant-based diet. But (and this is the last but) ultimately, I and I alone, am the only one who has to live with my decisions. My decision has yet to show itself with clarity, but (okay so I lied a bit – this is really the last one) when it does, I know I will make peace with it.
Do you believe that it’s all or nothing? I truly stand behind the idea that when we are actually ready to change we do, and when we aren’t ready for a change we don’t. We reject that change until the moment comes along when it is finally right.