Thanksgiving is now behind us! I’m delighted to report I’ve kept nearly all my daily habits, including writing, exercise, and mindful eating for the entire time we’ve been at my parents’ house. Not only does it feel good, but the positive reinforcement motivates me to keep going.
We’ll see what happens when my family and I head to Hersheypark’s Christmas Candylane today. I suspect there may be a peanut butter hot fudge sundae in my future.
One of the best parts of being in Harrisburg is that my 21-year-old niece is also visiting. She’s a junior Chemistry-Economics double-major at UT-Austin, and the smarty-pants that she is, she’s participating in the Archer Fellowship in Washington DC this semester as a science policy intern. Note: NOT scientology, which is what my Dad heard her say at the Thanksgiving table.
My niece seems to be fully embracing my anti-consumeristic, eco-justice, pacifist tendencies. She also seems to be passing me on some levels of intelligence, which is both scary and awesome. Although, I will never let her live down this sentence that she wrote for a class paper a few summers ago when she was feeling more than a little burnt out: War is wrong and bad.
Someday I hope to have this saying printed on a t-shirt.
But, honestly, how could I not be proud of someone who creates Snapchats like this:
My niece and I are going to take a bus back to Washington, DC tomorrow so we can hang out a little bit longer. On our agenda are the National Zoo and a walking tour of the National Monuments. I can’t wait to see the pandas! Although I appreciate our Founding Fathers (and Mothers, but you don’t see much representation of them), they aren’t quite so roly-poly:
When I was younger, I used to have a fantasy that I’d be famous enough to be a guest on a talk show that coincidentally happened to be the same day Jack Hanna was also a guest. And he just happened to have brought roly-poly baby animals with him.
Okay, maybe I still have this fantasy, but as an animal lover I just can’t help. I think this is why my niece and I get along so well. We both feel a kindred sense of connection with all creatures great and small.
As I get older and become more aware of my place in this world, I’m realizing just how much my love for animals is a major driving force in my life. Before I developed a host of health issues, I was a vegetarian because I felt hypocritical for loving dogs and eating cows.
Now that I’ve regained good health, I slowly find myself returning to my vegetarian ways. But because I did have such severe health problems, that return is limping along at a snail’s pace. I suppose it’s partly fear – I don’t ever want to be that unhealthy again – and partly selfishness – animal meat can taste delicious.
This year I’ve stopped eating pork and next year I plan to stop eating fish. I suspect giving up fish will be quite easy as most fish now consume so much plastic that’s been dumped in the ocean, it’s found in their bodies in significant quantities. So gross! Humans can ruin everything, including the ocean.
Whenever I start feeling depressed over our ravaging of the environment, I remind myself of the incredibly bright and motivated people, like my niece, who are working to protect our planet. Sometimes I’m also one of them.
Lately, I’ve been thinking I should be doing more. I feel some sort of positive shift coming with my connection to the natural world. I don’t know what exactly and I’m feeling excited. I’ve had a couple of ideas that I’m slowly refining, with some forward progress. I’m not quite sure what it’s all about right now, so I can’t really share more.
In the meantime, I will keep my eyes and heart open to the natural world around me. Perhaps something will inspire me, or I’ll receive guidance from an unexpected source. Maybe I’ll get to hold a baby animal at the National Zoo? Probably not, but I’ll never stop dreaming.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! My love, gratitude, and appreciation for your continued support and encouragement.