Lessons Learned from Being Vegan

San FranciscoIn 2012, I wrote 365 daily vegan tips on Facebook to make it easier for those interested in becoming a vegan. Some of my favorite tips were published in the first week including:

Tip #5: Do not miss meat, eggs, dairy, leather, wool, etc.The book, Voices from the Garden, presents the stories of 45 vegans. The story, Because I Care, by Erin Moore stuck with me. One sentence helped me immensely: “There is no point to missing it, because I will never have it again, and that would be torture.” This concept allowed me to let it all go—the desire to consume or wear animal products. Think about it. Why miss something you have decided to give up?

This concept can apply to almost any type of chosen change, such as packing up your belongings and moving across the country from Chicago to Berkeley, CA. For the past six weeks I have lived in one of the most beautiful places—the Bay area, specifically Berkeley Hills. The house we are renting has a view of the Bay. There are hiking paths just minutes from my front door that lead me to views of amazing vistas. This unique neighborhood combines homes of varying sizes and architecture mixed with a variety of flora all situated on a mountain with winding roads and hidden paths. I could walk along the winding streets for hours continually finding something new or unexpected. I have also been lucky to encounter wildlife, such as deer, hummingbirds and geckos. I’m in love with my new neighborhood.

MarinWhen I left Chicago after 18 years as a resident, I was excited to leave the urban grime behind. I don’t miss stepping around the trash on my daily walks, but I was also well aware that I would miss my friends, job, yoga class, routine and Lake Michigan. So for the past six weeks, my mind has been on the Midwest—so much in fact that I keep wondering when I am going home and then I realize I am not. I am home and I am also homesick.

But as I was riding the BART into San Francisco this morning, I remembered tip #5. Do not miss what you gave up. When it comes to being vegan, I don’t miss any of the foods I willingly eschew. I never looked back, but lately I have been in a constant state of looking back, yearning for what was. But remembering this lesson brightened my day and I knew what I needed to do—be here, be home. (It also helped that I made a new friend too.)

What have you learned from being vegan that applies to other areas of your life?