Being Vegan – What Kind of Legacy Do You Want To Leave?

Paul_G_NewBy Paul Graham

Las Vegas Informer

I am sure that we all have had moments when we consider our lives and the impact that we have had up to this point.  How have our lives mattered and what kind of difference have we made on the lives of those around us? How will we be remembered? I know that I can remember back to my teen years and first thinking about what I was going to do with my life.  I recall that one of the things that stood out to me even then is that I wanted to make an impact upon the world and touch lives.  It is one of the things that eventually led me as a young adult to begin working with young people and encouraging and influencing their lives.  It is something that I was able to do for almost two decades and I know that I made a difference.  As I began to raise a family I understood that perhaps one of the greatest things that I will leave upon this earth is what I have done as a father and the four children I was blessed with.  To see them grow to be adults and begin their own families and see now generations forming before my eyes and see qualities of love, kindness, compassion, and creativity being passed down is certainly one of the greatest legacies that I can imagine.

It is not uncommon to be at an event and as you are meeting people, one of the first question’s people ask is “So what do you do?”  That is seemingly an important question that is regularly asked.  To many people, what we “do” as a vocation seems to define us.  Not necessarily true.  People will change jobs and even careers a number of times in their lifetime.  It is what we do with our time and helps us to take care of the responsibilities that we have in life.  But it does not always speak to who we are as people and the impact that we have and the difference that we can have upon this world.  Who we are and what we do that can help bring about change and make this world a better place are ultimately much more important than our jobs and careers.  Sometimes this is tied in with our work, but not always.  We should not be limited in the impact that we have upon this world just by our vocation.  I do believe, though,  that the best possible place to be in is where what we do for a living is tied in with our passions and is directly making an impact upon lives and this world. This is a great thing for us all to strive for.

Yet we should never feel limited in the impact we can make, no matter what we do for a living.  The investment that we make in our family and friends and others that we know and meet can make a difference for generations to come and sometimes beyond. We should not fall into the trap of thinking too much about what others think of us, because truly if we are living out our lives in a manner that we know to be right and good we will find favor anyway with most of the people that matter anyway.  There are decisions that we make in life that can have a profound impact not only how we live our lives but also the rippling impact that our lives will have as a result.  I know the influence that I have had in others lives throughout most of my adult life,  I know I have made a difference.  Yet, when I think of the change that has taken place in may life over the past seven years that I have been vegan, the impact is on a whole other level.  What other decision could I have made that would have had a more positive influence upon my health?  What other decision could I have made that is actually saving the lives of living creatures?  This has happened as a result of my not consuming animals products for food or clothing. What other thing could reduce my carbon footprint any more upon this earth and help to preserve its resources than the decision to be vegan?  It has had a profound spiritual impact as well in that my spirit is buoyed by my conscious lifestyle.  It is revelatory to live in such a manner where your actions are not contributing in any way to harming another living creature.

Living a vegan lifestyle is one of the greatest legacies that we can leave upon this world.  The impact of it is so far-reaching that it is difficult most times to even contemplate the touch that it has, but know that it is happening.  Even though it begins with us, it is so much more than being about us.  It is about others, it is about the animals, and it is about the planet. We are seeing people make this move in unprecedented numbers. As more people move away from consumption of animal products in any way, we will see the difference that it makes magnified.  We can see more change come about in this generation that any other perhaps in history.  We can see rights given to animals for the first time.  We can see a shift as a result in how people treat other people.  We can see resources diverted so we can have enough food and water for everyone.  We can see our ground, our water, and our air clean again.  We can be right in our spirits knowing that by our lives we are contributing to and and bringing nothing but good to this world and every living creature upon it.  WIth every word that I write, every word that I speak, with every action that I take I want to make this kind of contribution to the world.  Let it be a grand part of my legacy. Let it be part of your legacy that you will give and leave this world.  It is never too late to make a difference.

Paul Graham

Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004.  He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer.  He has a daily vegan food blogwww.eatingveganinvegas.tumblr.com which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas.  He can also be reached at eatingveganlv@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/EatingVeganinVegas.

Paul‘s revised edition of Eating Vegan Vegas is now available in bound book form and can be ordered through Amazon.com or any independent bookseller.  The e-book version can be found at Kobo.com.  

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2 Responses to Being Vegan – What Kind of Legacy Do You Want To Leave?

  1. “One of the most destructive words we use when we speak of nonhuman beings, is “owner.” The notion that other species are “property,” or commodities or things that we can “own,” underlies every instance of animal abuse and exploitation. If we refer to ourselves as “guardians” rather than “owners,” we begin to get to the root of the problem instead of putting out endless brushfires; we are reminded of our truest values as compassionate individuals. And each time someone reads or hears “guardian” in our public and private discourse, there will be a tiny spark of recognition that we are talking about a role that requires responsibility, compassion and care.
    Jan Allegretti, Founder, C.A.R.E.

  2. Paul, thank you so much for this and your other Being Vegan pieces. I couldn’t agree with you more when you write that, “Living a vegan lifestyle is one of the greatest legacies that we can leave upon this world.” I have been vegan for the past 24 years (thirteen years a lacto-ovo vegetarian before becoming vegan) and I view as a defining moment in my life the decision to fully embrace the moral imperative of veganism. I view veganism and by extension animal rights, as the most important social justice issue of our time. Adopting a plant-based diet is the least I can do. I feel that we must also become advocates and activists in order to leave a legacy that truly matters. We must all, in our way advocate for compassion, kindness, peace and liberation. Thank you for doing your part to influence others to become vegan and I hope that for many that will be just the start.

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