The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. --JOSEPH ADDISON
So does this mean that vegans are the happiest humans on earth? Snort. Because boy do we have enough to do, enough to be passionate about (including enough someones to love), and hopefully have enough belief that change will happen. But happy? I try to be, but am not quite sure I can truly say I've become happier since becoming vegan. Being vegan brings with it a mixed bag of emotions, and while being vegan is generally much healthier, there are days where I think I can literally feel my blood pressure going through the roof while reading about yet another atrocity. For someone who still struggles with anger issues from pre-vegan days, anger specifically related to the abominable use and treatment of other sentient beings is another form of anger that rises up almost daily. And underneath that anger is sadness and fear. Sadness at the amount of unacceptable and seemingly unlimited pain needlessly suffered at human hands, and the fear that it can't or won't be stopped quickly or wholly enough.
And what about the sentient beings we're fighting for? What about their happiness? If the author of the above quote is right, then what about all the animals who don't have something to do? Who don't get to exercise their basic right to do what their species is meant to do? Who are physically confined so that they literally don't have a choice? Who are prevented from having something or someone to love? Who can't possibly have any hope other than perhaps of having their miserable existence ended sooner rather than later? Why shouldn't their right to happiness be as inalienable as ours?
And is it selfish of vegans to want to be happy despite the massive suffering we are witness to? How do we reconcile happiness and grief? How do we continue to be effective activists amidst the emotional flux of anger, sadness and fear swirling all around or inside us? How do we be strong activists for life and prevent burnout, compassion or even vegan fatigue? How do we find that right mix of hope, inspiration, action (vegan + nonvegan), and rest that will serve not only ourselves but also others?
As usual, I have more questions than answers...