April 13, 2011

On Absolutism

I recently ate lunch at one of the Chinese buffets in town. When I told a new acquaintance where I was going to eat, he was extremely surprised.

I write, think, and talk a lot about sustainability and living my beliefs. I have worked hard to reduce the negative impact I have on our planet, and to increase the positive impact I have in my own community. I am working on growing and preserving more of my own food, and I buy a lot of local, bulk, and organic foods. And like everyone, I am also human.

 A mostly local breakfast with a kiwi from California

When I was vegan, people often said to me "I would be vegan if it weren't for ________," where the blank was cheese or ice cream or even bacon. I hear people make similar statements about other things "I would do x, if it weren't for y exception."

My response is always "So go for it." There are always going to be exceptions and shades of gray. If we wait until circumstances are perfect, chances are we'll never do anything. I do think commitment and follow through are important, but getting started is more important, and many people need that gradual easing in or the occasional exception.  

That's OK. Give yourself permission to not be absolute about everything, to not be perfect, to allow yourself exceptions without having to feel guilty. I enjoyed my Chinese buffet lunch, and that's OK. Those exceptions and shades of gray are all OK, as long as you are moving in the direction you want to be going. So get started. NOW.

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