– my journey, from childhood to vegan –
I was privileged enough to have the opportunity to learn how to read at a very early age in life. During this time, I read many books written from different animals points of view. I loved the plush animal toy figures from WWF, as well as the ones my mother sewed for me, and I used to play pretending to be various animals. The environment I grew up in however expressed dislike for vegetarians and similar thinkers, and with these prejudices I was not strong enough to realize the connection between what I ate and what was going on behind that. I sometimes justified my habits by identifying the animal my name Björn is taken from, and the image of an omnivorous animal. But something felt wrong far far back in my mind.
A life with diseases
My life until the last few years was plagued by many various health problems. During my childhood I had allergies, colds, nausea and stomach sickness, in my teenage years I got appendicitis, acne, depression, pneumonia, salmonella infection, ulcerative colitis and psychosis. In my twenties I suffered from colds, addictions of different kinds, depressions, and moodiness.
Two events had a great impact on my journey.
First, I met two very friendly and generous vegans who cooked the most delicious vegan food! Experiencing this helped me start eating much healthier.
Then, at the age of 34, I visited a pig/sheep farm. I remember the contrast between a relaxed summer vacation on the Mediterranean coast and entering a concrete paved dark hall with thousands of eyes watching me in fear. All their bodies were moving as one, like a school of fish. In such a place there is no other reference than the prisoners standing next to you.
A few months later I decided to go vegetarian. On New Year’s Eve, 2013, the decision to become a vegetarian popped up in my head and struck me as so true and right as nothing ever had in my life. Over time I realized that I had to be vegan as well, anything else would just be hypocrisy and turning a blind eye to the impact of my choices.
Where I am now
Looking back on my life, I can see how much has changed since becoming vegetarian/vegan. Now I am never sick, I don’t even get the common cold, even when people around me have it. I am connect with more people than ever before, both around the world and locally. When I talk to people I am much less concerned about their social status, origin, gender or age than before. I am stronger, more fit and more active than ever, working simultaneously on a wide range of projects while also taking many actions to improve myself. I am constantly realizing and working towards my highest goals and dreams, while creating a life and lifestyle I never before thought possible for me. I try as much as possible to help others and have never been more at peace with myself as I am today!
We are all born without labels or names. Being vegan is not all we are, think and do. But it is a useful label to help me guide the choices made in life for me and many others.