reverb10 Prompt: Try

Prompt: Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?

I have already blogged a lot about the things I want to try in 2011 – going into business, for one. I won’t rehash. Instead, I want to focus on the second part of the question, because the answer makes me so darn happy.

This year I tried veganism. Well, I went vegan, but I guess there was a moment when I was not yet vegan and I was simply trying it out. There was a moment when it could have all gone horribly wrong. But it didn’t! It was the best thing I did all year!

I dug up a post I wrote about it on Worst. Vegan. Ever., detailing my observations after a few weeks:

I’ve been vegan for a couple of weeks now. I feel awesome. There are some major changes going on for me, and they are not what I expected at all:

1. My tummy is happier. I’ve mentioned that I have a really sensitive stomach. Well, knock on wood, my tummy doesn’t seem to have a problem with a plant based diet. Even all that tofu. I am stunned. It’s not like kale or beans aren’t a challenge to digest, but apparently cheese is worse for my little ol’ system.

2. I’m sleeping better. Duh. This leads to…

3. My energy is up. Way up. I had read that animal products took more energy to digest, but I had no idea. Not only do I not have the post-meal sleepies anymore, I have been excited about working out like never before. I’m excited to go to the gym at the end of the day. I’m craving that yoga in the morning. I’m contemplating riding my bike to work. And this is not from a girl who loves the gym. Or getting sweaty. And this is a hard point in my year. I worked a 14 hour day yesterday. I work this weekend. Suddenly the workout routine is no problem.

4. My job is easier. I said it was a hard time of year. I’m a college guidance counselor and May 1st is the deadline for seniors to choose a college. I’ve been working with my seniors for a year and a half at this point. I’m attached. They are attached. They are making a huge decision about the next four or five years of their lives. These two weeks are the weeks where they come in and have emotional conversations with their parents about the future.

This is the time they find out mom and dad won’t let them go out of state, or have so much debt they can’t qualify for loans. Or whatever. The college decision process brings out everything – issues of money and sexuality and politics and values and cultural assumptions. Some sob. Some yell. Some are so cold and detached it makes me want to sob. Some are paralyzed with doubt. Some just need one adult in their life that can give them advice free of agenda or guilt. Some parents need one person to say “this is normal” and “no college is worth raiding a 401K.”At this point last year I was a mess. I was crying every night into a glass or two of wine. This year, not so much. I made a kid cry yesterday and I went home and was fine. I did the right thing to say what I said, and the next day he came in to say thanks.

This is not to say I’ve gone heartless and cold. Quite the opposite. My heart feels so open right now. But it’s as if I was carrying suffering in me, the suffering of animals, and their suffering would trigger it and I’d have to cry it out. Now, I don’t carry suffering with me and so the suffering of my anguished teens is just that – suffering of anguished teens making a tough choice. I’m not adding my own crap to it and so I’m just there for them.

And this has to be about the food. There are other points in the year that are as bad as this one. Every season in this job has its challenges. Before spring break I had to make a snap decision on a Friday if a kid was suicidal or not. That messed me up but good. (He is, thank goodness, fine.) So I know that it’s not just that I’ve magically gotten better at the job all of a sudden.

5. Last but not least, I’m losing weight. That wasn’t the goal. I’m pretty thin by nature, but once I turned 30 I noticed that most of my pants were a bit snug. Now they fit. I haven’t lost more than a pound or two – and have no intention to lose anything more – but it’s a nice perk. I didn’t need that little pooch right there and I hate shopping for pants.

These are great reasons for vegan. And this is just two weeks! I can’t wait to see what other changes are around the corner!

In April of 2011, I will have been vegan for a full year. I cant wait to see what changes I notice then.

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