Conveying the Absence of Effort

I’ve been growing a beard for approximately 6 years without once shaving it off. For the most part, this consists of simply not shaving, though I trim it from time to time — not nearly enough to keep it tidy by any stretch of the imagination. So it’s kind of funny when I get complimented on it — I literally just didn’t do something and here you are congratulating me for it. I say thank you, of course, I’m not a psychopath.

Being lauded for inaction is a bit uncomfortable because it often carries the implication that there was some action involved. People say “nice beard” probably partly because they think I put time and effort into making sure it looks good. (I don’t.)

Veganism is similar, actually. Others suspect that vegans spend significant amounts of time planning meals, driving to far away grocery stores that carry specialty items, purchasing vitamins and supplements, etc. The reality is that veganism is just another form of inaction — or alternative action, if you will — that typically takes no more effort than that involved in growing an unkempt beard.

And this undertone, the idea that veganism requires that we all think about not eating meat and animal products every waking hour, is one that prevents a lot of people from doing it themselves. Indeed, it’s very common for people to say upon learning of your veganism that they “could never do it.” To them, it’s time, it’s effort, it’s expense. But to most of us, it’s not much different than our previous life of omnivorism.

So how do we convey that veganism, for most of us, is rather effortless once you get over the hump? I don’t know. It seems like one of those things where if you insist too much it comes across as overly defensive. Maybe just living our lives, showing we are not overly burdened by eating plants, is how we can get that message across. If you have any ideas, I’ll be interested to hear them. For now, just enjoy this meme.

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