Hello reader! How are you this morning? Good weekend?
One day last week two friends and I were pootling towards central London on a Piccadilly line train, asking each other ridiculous questions and generally amusing ourselves. One of these friends is a vegetarian who has decided that she will never eat meat again. My other friend and I were impressed but perplexed: who can promise themselves that they’ll never eat bacon ever again? Even if you could manage a few months or years, surely you’d crack eventually? And if the bacon doesn’t get you, surely the burgers will. No? What about steak? Pulled pork? Chicken nuggets?? Apparently not. Not to be put off by something as trivial as our friend’s important life decision, we started baiting her a bit:
“Would you rather eat meat or poo yourself in public?”
“Would you rather eat meat or have to sleep with your gay best friend?”
“Would you rather eat meat or have us follow you around asking these questions for the rest of our lives?”
I’m very proud to say that our silliness did not deter our veggie friend one bit: she will never eat meat again. She was a bit taken aback by our fascination (partly, I think, because she has no idea what she’s missing – roast dinners, for crying out loud!) but mainly because in her head this topic has never even been up for debate. She has never doubted her decision for a second, and no matter what we threatened her with – career failure, being single forever, bad hair – she was unmoveable.
I have an enormous amount of respect for her, and for her certainty about something that must inform quite a big part of her lifestyle. I think that we all have things that we are fairly sure about without being absolute. For example, I don’t think that I will ever watch a Keira Knightley film ever again, BUT if someone casts Christian Bale in a movie with that talentless ironing board of a human being, I will have to do some serious thinking. I’m getting stressed out just thinking about it. Ooh, coffee…
We all have opinions that we’re pretty sure of, and beliefs that we don’t think we could compromise on. To a certain extent it’s more difficult in our generation to have any absolutes in our mindsets, because the internet, the news and the people who monitor equal opportunities can all throw us a curve ball at a moment’s notice. New information, new opinions and new possibilities emerge all the time, and it can be a struggle to hold on to your beliefs in the wake of them. I’m not suggesting that it’s a good idea to cling to an opinion that’s been proven wrong by science or what have you, just that if you’re a Christian (for example) and the Richard Dawkins brigade are throwing copies of his books at your house, it’s hard to keep resolution without becoming discouraged.
Well, let’s not be discouraged. Let’s have some faith in ourselves and our beliefs. Your instincts, thoughts and feelings are all valuable and worth hearing, and you mustn’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I might be incredibly sad for my vegetarian friend that the joy of a cooked breakfast is forever unavailable to her, but I am very proud of her conviction.
Have the best Monday that anyone has ever had in the history of Mondays.