This blog was started as part of an online challenge to write and run every day for thirty one days, but writing and reading have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. My family is very literary and books have always been a form of retreat and restoration for me. No matter how crazy life is, I can always pick up a book and sink into it to just escape reality for a while.
Well, that is not entirely true. I went back to college in 2009 after taking about nine years off. Since the fall of that year, most of my reading has been required. My love for it has not dwindled at all, but my freedom and time to read things that strike my fancy certainly have. I find that I am usually reading text books, and occasionally devouring something light and funny, just to keep the love alive. Now, as I wrap up my Bachelor’s Degree and look towards law school, I enjoy my required reading a lot more. For the three classes I am taking this semester, I have to have nine books. While the pragmatic economist in me rails against the cost of those books, the bibliophile in me cannot wait to start reading. These books are about the American legal system and death penalty, contemporary political thought, and the history of the European settlement of North America. It is a lovely feeling to know that I will be spending so much time enveloped by these subjects.
As for writing…that is a tricky one. I love it. To feel the thoughts in my head sort of unwind and form straight lines and wind up on paper is cathartic. Getting all the little pieces together in my head and making some sort of sense out of them somehow helps me make sense of everything else in my life in the process. Writing is not something I have made time for over the past few years. Its absence is something I notice, something I feel. But it is not something that has been easily remedied, which is why I have embraced this challenge.
Running. This started a few years ago. I was a smoker who spent far too much time drinking and just generally misbehaving. For some reason, I decided it was time to quit smoking. I was terrified that if I quit, I would replace cigarettes with food and gain ten thousand or so pounds, so I bought a treadmill. It worked. I ran on my treadmill through the winter since I chose December to quit smoking, and by the time spring rolled around I felt confident enough to venture outside and the rest is history. Over the last few years, things have changed in a lot of ways and my love affair with running and staying fit has definitely waxed and waned. There have been fantastic moments where I felt I could run around the world powered by nothing but positivity and there have been moments (ok, months) where the sight of running shoes could incite the most terrible feelings of despair and inadequacy. Now, running and I are cool.
Being vegan. I watched Food, Inc. on Thanksgiving day 4 years ago. That was my last Thanksgiving with turkey. I cut out most meat, but continued to eat fish for a while, so technically I was pescatarian. Eventually I cut out the fish entirely but continued to eat dairy and eggs. When the boyfriend and I started dating, he challenged me to cut out those and go completely vegan. We watched Forks Over Knives, got the Engine 2 cookbook and just never looked back. It was not an extremely difficult transition, probably because our diet was already very close to that recommended in Engine 2, and we looked at it as a lifestyle shift rather than just some diet we were trying out. Now, after being vegan for a little over a year, it just flat out seems like the right thing to do. It is not a matter of health or environment alone, it is simply a deep and total conviction that this is the right way to live. To me, living compassionately is about so much more than going to church and following some set of guidelines put forth by one’s religion or culture or family. Just do no harm. As sentient beings with big, beautiful brains and a world of privilege and opportunity, just do not harm anyone who does not have those same privileges and opportunities. That’s all.
So how does all this come together in this blog? I am really not sure. I hope that a person or two finds it an can relate to it, but I suppose really it is more for me than anyone else. It’s possible I got a little off topic here, but that is just fine. This blog is about compassion, health, and exploration and discovery. At least that’s what we’re going with for now.