October 10, 2016
My 35th birthday was about two weeks ago. A memorable one, for sure.
Even though for the last few months I have been telling people that this is how old I am. Now it is true. Reduced down (3+5) I am a fresh 8 years old. Eight candles on my vegan cupcake. Except it was hard to celebrate this birthday since we had to pack all of our animals and whatever could fit in our cars to evacuate* our home due to a forest fire.
I digress. What do you do at 8 years old? Play, enjoy life outdoors and inspire your curiosity (or at least that is what I did). Explore the world through your senses and participate in the institutionalization that we call formal education. Our programming as a child is not really something we can see happening to us but it is occurring nonetheless. As an adult, we have no excuse not to reeducate our selves.
Ironically I work at an institution of education and when I recently sat down to be interviewed by some students they asked me what advice would I give to my child self? Well child self: find your passion and practice it a lot, participate in school and educate yourself and never stop asking questions.
The better question is evaluate your adult self? Are you living life to the fullest, making ethical choices, finding the right information and path? Not just being a bystander? Doing the same old things and expecting different results- classic insanity. Our world is pretty insane right now, or at least the majority of adults that live on it.
So during your mid 30 birthday month its time to: reinvent your self, buck social norms and institutional conditioning- lead the way. Be an activist. Stand up for something, even if the road is hard.
If not now, when?
This is my evaluation. I am choosing to keep the fires of curiosity burning.
I have a keen memory of the first birthday celebration at the most recent iteration of my Mother’s children’s house preschool.
She set out a candle in a glass votive in the middle of the carpet area and had the children sit in a row on the edge. She sang the months of the year song with the children as she set out the laminated month names around the votive. She then placed the world (a small globe) in the hands of the birthday child and had them walk around the candle sun for every year of their life till their current age. I wonder if we did this when I was a child too, in the school room off of our house?
As an adult, this play was symbolic to me in many ways, the most being how each of us is part of the Earth and how our years on it can either be helping her and all of the other creatures that live upon her, or not.
There is no middle ground here,
if you are not helping then by default you are hurting.
Sound harsh? This is where we are today on planet Earth. Idiocy is not an excuse, we live in the age of the internet. How do we make sure this trip around the sun is better than the last? Do we work less, be more creative, take more trips, practice more mindfulness, eat our ethics like the people at the Food Empowerment Project would have us do? I do. I want to get in touch with my inner child and see the world through her eyes again. To experience wonder. To listen more than I speak.
The world certainly does not look the same, there are almost two times as many people on the planet then there were in 1981. We know the climate is changing and we also know the leading cause [insert animal agriculture], by overwhelming percentages. And the topic for most is off limits. I mean how could we possibly talk about our diet. Why in the world would be admit that animals have sentience? Like with most problems, admitting it is half the battle. We are at rock bottom. We need to be mindful of how many people are trying to life the western lifestyle and begin to model a more compassionate one.
The simple fact is this our meat and dairy laded western diet is killing conscious sentient beings and harming our planet.
Plain and simple. Like Sumano’s garlic and rosemary sourdough toast with earth balance and nutritional yeast flakes. If you are ever in the 831 you need to find yourself a freshly delivered loaf, stat.
The good with the bad is that from a child’s perspective the world is also alive with possibility. There are solutions galore to all of these issues that we do not need any politicians to advance for us. We have the choice multiples times each day to change what we put into our mouths. Easy as switching to vegan buttery spread and opting for a can of beans or putting some in a crock pot instead. Protein galore in the bulk section and vegetable sections of the grocery store.
The changes really are not that hard.
Talk to vegans who have been so for a decade or more and they will tell you about hard. Today it is easy, the alternatives abound. With these easy changes come lightness of spirit, a leaner waist line, a longer life and a reconnection with the superorganism.
What are we waiting for? Our next birthday, that could be our funeral instead- either individual or collectively. I know that humanities expansion is nearing the tipping point, just check the google analytics for vegan.
My birthday wish:
That I can make a difference as I shine a light on what I know, in the depths of my being, to be how humanity can atone and attempt to repair what we have done to billions of other sentient beings, ourselves, our children and our planet.
Let us sit at a vegan table for the experience.
And stay there to dine. Then repeat.
Like all things worthwhile, it will not be easy but it is worth the effort.
Will you join me?
*This leads to a whole different story that I may or may not write at a later date.