Resources to help you go vegan are everywhere, it really isn’t hard to find a helpful guide or a written post that helps you through the first transitional phases and gives you all the information that you need about the lifestyle you want to live.
But things get tricky after going vegan because people treat it as a goal and once you reach it, it kind of stops being that much fun and it just becomes a big scary room filled with monstrous images and videos that haunt you. Suddenly, all you see is an image of you against the world and all the victims that you need to save before the world ends.
Not so fun, isn’t it?
Here comes Tanja to the rescue.
I thought that too. I was sure that once I go vegan my life will completely change and I will have all the answers to how to live a life and I would surely be a different person from my toes to my head. Not exactly.
It took me a few years to realize that going vegan was not a goal that I needed to attain; it was more of a destination to visit and then continue exploring other parts of the world. I became vegan but I also wanted to explore other parts, like learning about how to eat healthily and how to maintain healthy relationships.
Until I treated veganism as my identity and being vegan was the most important thing that I could possibly be, I was stuck. And when you are stuck you are unhappy. I treated veganism as my source of happiness and everything that wasn’t related to veganism was pushed aside.
But I wanted to explore meditation, psychology, languages, technology and everything in between. I didn’t want to be just a vegan. I didn’t want people to know me like that. Because some have and since my social media is how I pursue my journey of being an activist, I wasn’t really versatile.
But enough about me.
Let’s talk about you and what steps you can take after going vegan.
Let me ask you a few questions and you give me the most honest answer you can think of, okay?
- What do you honestly think of veganism and how much, from 0 to 10, do you believe that vegans only think or talk about anything else but veganism?
- Since going vegan, or becoming interested in it and spending many hours learning about it, is there anything that you pushed aside, that used to interest you because you felt bad that you wanted to learn about that topic when there are animals to be saved?
- Have you stopped taking care of your health (mental and physical) because you are focused on the moral aspect of veganism?
Let’s talk about me again for a second.
When I went vegan, I talked about veganism for almost three years straight. Day and night that was my primary source of conversation and everything else was a waste of time. I also pushed aside my other interests, such as my interest in writing about social issues and the environment, because I thought I needed to only be focused on the animals and that every minute I spent listening to a podcast about psychopathology was the time I could spend reading all the PETA articles. My health was on the bottom because the top consisted of learning about why it is morally right to treat animals as equals and not as food or clothing for us.
And all those things helped me become a better person, I am still a dedicated activist and I continue learning about animal rights – that hasn’t changed, but I found balance in my life. I can only do so much and I can only write so many posts about veganism and animal rights. Sometimes a girl has to watch a Ted Bundy trial and ponder on what went wrong in his genes. I’m not even going to apologize for finding him incredibly fascinating.
Veganism gave me so much and it made me a more aware person, but it was not a destination that I needed to reach. It was just a place that I needed to visit to open my heart even more and then continue growing and learning and becoming.
So what steps can you make after going vegan?
- Continue being interested in other things that are not related to veganism. When I went vegan in 2015, I dropped all other interests and only focused on animal rights, but it soon caught up with me because I was unhappy and felt empty due to not exploring my other passions. Its okay to have diverse interests, that’s what life is all about! How dull would it be if everyone was interested in the same damn topics?
- Continue learning about how to improve your health. Only eating plants does not make you healthy – you may still be drinking alcohol, taking drugs or working too much. Health is not just what you eat and how much you workout, it’s also who you hang out with, how mindful you are and what you do for a living.
- Continue growing as a person and being honest about your life choices. We are all evolving and we will be doing it until the day we die. The best way of honoring this part of our life journey is by being truthful about where we are and where we are going.
- Continue helping human-animals. One of the things non-vegans believe is that we should only focus on humans and not other animals, so let’s show them that, unlike them, we are actually open to helping all species. Find a cause that you are passionate about and volunteer your time or money to it.
- Continue being a better human regarding how you treat the environment. Mother Nature is giving us life and the best way of repaying her back is by treating her with kindness.
- Continue being a voice for those who need you; no matter what species or gender.
There is always room for growth and veganism should not feel like its holding you back. It should be a push to learning more. Knowing that you are a kinder person should motivate you to become even kinder, because believe it or not, even vegans can suck and be mean, and I would know that because I can be pretty mean.
Veganism is not a destination but a journey.
When we start living in a more compassionate way we are actually just living our life. We didn’t push a reset button and start a new one, we just evolved. Veganism is just a beautiful bonus to our life.
P.s. – If you want to learn how to help the animals this year, I have a beautiful post here where I share with you 12 things that you can do for other species.