Another week has come to an end, and before you know it the first month of 2020 will be over. New Year not so new anymore? I understand. But here’s what I’ve come across this week.
Reading: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’m about half-way through, so it should get wrapped up, maybe this weekend. There’s a familiarity I feel when reading this. I’ve only done one solo hike – the Wicklow Way just south of Dublin – and that was mostly accidental. Much like how Strayed went from concept to hike in, I believe, six months. Becoming found by getting lost is a concept I think many, perhaps all of us are familiar with.
Listening: Let the Games Begin by Aloe Blacc. I heard this at work one day, and it ear-wormed itself into my head so I had to track it down. It’s uplifting while at the same time being catchy. I hadn’t really listened to Aloe Blacc since 2010 and his Good Things album.
Spending time: Watching a lot of Jeopardy. I’ve taken the test twice – once in 2016, and again last year. Neither time I was satisfied with my performance, and, since I’ve not been called by the show’s producers, I’m guessing they weren’t either. But I’ll try again next week, and testing is January 28-30.
It’s been three years since I’ve become a vegetarian. I’m often asked why. No, it’s not because I was chased by a killer turkey.
I had toyed with the idea before. When I was younger, twelve maybe, I tried to go vegetarian. I didn’t receive much support from my family.
But the reason behind it was that I felt guilty for eating an animal that had died just so that I could eat it.
There’s a branch of Buddhism that sends it monks out on pilgrimage. They are graciously welcomed into houses, and allowed to partake of any meal that the family is providing. However, if the family slaughters an animal to celebrate the visiting monk, the pilgrim may not eat of it, as it was killed explicitly for his arrival.
In much the same way, I decline to eat any meat. Of course, no animal was killed expressly for me. Yet, the animal was killed with the intention that someone would purchase and eat it. So I refrain.
It’s easier being a vegetarian now than even ten or fifteen years ago. Beliefs that were on the fringe not so long ago have come to the forefront, and even current fringe beliefs are generally better accepted by the public. So it’s a good time to be a vegetarian.
I’ve been bothered by the news reports concerning abortion bills over the past few weeks. I stand on both sides of the issue – I’m anti-murder in a mostly Buddhist outlook, which includes vegetarianism and opposition to the death penalty. I’m also a strict believer in a woman’s right-to-choose, as we all have inherent rights that others should not impose their beliefs on.
I won’t ask you, beg you, or try to pass legislation so that you can’t eat meat. This is my choice, and I do it a) because I feel it right not to allow an animal to die for my sustenance, and b) it is completely personal to me.
As a personal matter, I would rather abortions not be necessary. As a political matter, it’s not my body – the choice belongs to a woman primarily, and her partner in most cases.
I don’t know that there is an answer to this political quagmire, but I know the current rhetoric is only leading to disaster.