Friday, September 11, 2009

An Inspirational Passage From Laird Hamilton

"The point is: Your path is yours alone. And if it's the path less traveled, that's absolutely fine. The world doesn't need more conformists. The world needs more people who create and question and search. If you don't fit in, celebrate that, and then get ready to stand your ground. Our society has some rigid roles for people, and when you decide that you don't want to play the same game as everyone else, you might not get much support for your decision. Don't let that discourage you. The best way to find your path is to start with a dream and then refuse to listen to anyone else's opinions about what you 'can' and 'can't' do in the pursuit of that dream."

This is a paragraph from Laird Hamilton's book Force of Nature. Laird is not a vegan or even a vegetarian but is an incredibly inspirational athlete and person. Despite that, I find this paragraph to so powerfully represent those who have boldly moved on to veganism. Although this piece by Laird holds a lot of meaning to me outside of my diet, it really can be pieced apart to represent all that we believe in and are going through.

Your path is yours alone. Go to school. Be a good boy. Get a good job. Eat your meat and potatoes. Adults don't play games. Retire at 65 and prepare to die. Screw that! We're not in training for the real game. This is it! This is the real game. There are no reset buttons. You don't get to do it again so, do it right now! We don't need anyone's approval to do what we want to do in our lives.

The world doesn't need more conformists. The world needs more people who create and question and search. The only people who want us to be conformists are the government, Nike, Mcdonalds and the rest of the corporate world so profiting off us is as easy as possible. Sandra Winn, a great writer from Pensacola, Florida, has a great post on how the term Un-American is being thrown around as soon as someone fails to conform, questions or searches for better answers. Imagine a world where people are truly free to do what they want instead of spending time trading hours for money at an unproductive job then spending the rest of their time mindlessly watching a very minute portion of our population on a flat lifeless screen re-create what the ideal world should be. All our worldly problems would be non-existent and we'd be off to space to explore the infinite worlds that lay beyond us.

Get ready to stand your ground. Becoming vegan, or doing anything outside of the norm, will always be met with friction. This friction comes from people who are ashamed of their own fear to follow their dreams. This is your chance to be a positive influence and lead by example. You don't need to argue your situation. You don't need to fight back. Don't be self-righteous. Just stand your ground and stay the course. Be positive and others will see your success and happiness. They may not come around to support you but they will stand down.

You might not get much support for your decision. Don't let that discourage you. You are living your life and no one else's. The only support you need is from inside. If you have a significant other that doesn't support you, you may need to do some serious thinking about the compatibility between you and him/her.

Refuse to listen to anyone else's opinion. Opinions are formed from something as simple as a drunken conversation with a stranger at a bar 5 years ago in a city 500 miles from home. Read reviews from if you want to see how many widely varying opinions people can have about the same resort/hotel/attraction. My parents were skeptical about me running right from the beginning because they had one friend who used to be a runner and injured his knees. The reason why the friend had a hard time walking in his 70's was because of running and only because of running, according to them. He was a runner in the days before Bill Bowerman and proper footwear. He had arthritis that certainly wasn't caused by running. But, that is how the opinion was formed and solidified - 1 person's experience. You have a better chance of dying from hypothermia in Cuba than you do during a running race yet when someone does (probably someone who hasn't trained 1 single kilometer in their lifetime before the run) it makes headline news and the running nay-sayers come out in droves.

This, of course as we all know, applies to veganism in an extreme measure. I tried going without meat once (for 2 days), I just couldn't survive on lettuce. Heard that one before? People don't know the facts, try something and when it doesn't perform miracles immediately they write it off as bullshit. I don't want to waste away, be pale, lose my hair, lose my teeth, be weak... Take a look at Mac Danzig, Carl Lewis, Woody Harrelson, Alec Baldwin, Georges Laraque, etc. Do they look sickly to you? Please try and tell Mac Danzig he looks sickly and weak!