2020 the year I’m asking: Are we willingly being guided off the cliff?

An ex always used to make this comment about how he felt people acted like sheep and just followed the herd, so to speak.

We all do the same things, talk about the same things, take the same paths in life etc. I heard what he said but could never understand fully what he meant and therefore always disagreed. On the surface, materialisticly we looked so different.

Over the course of the past year I have learned a lot. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is to not be a follower. And no I’m not talking about you taking on the leadership role during a work project or school project. I’m talking about your course in life. I’ve come to realize it’s a lesson many never learn .

This journey started a few years ago when I quit my management job at a nice hotel downtown and to go back to serving tables in a restaurant. It wasn’t the normal path to take in life. To take a ‘step back’ in my job felt uncomfortable and I had many people (friends, family, coworkers & strangers) question my decision or even straight up tell me I was making a mistake.

I wasn’t following the herd anymore. At the time though, I wasn’t consciously aware of what I was doing. All I would ever be able to say is: I have never been career driven – when I thought of my future it was always about being a mom and having a family. I just knew in my heart I couldn’t continue to live my life working the way society tells me I should.

It wasn’t until my husband and I educated ourselves on vegan and plant-based diets and made the switch that I felt a lightbulb had gone off. I found and continue to find myself asking why it took me so long to see something that seems so clear. The facts are out there. Why is our government lying to us so much about the food we eat? Telling people to consume products that are literally killing people by the millions not to mention all of the animals that are slaughtered and being the biggest polluter to our dying planet. Is there a reason? So much is hidden, why? If there’s nothing wrong with it then why hide the facts? Why hide the truth? 

I never thought twice about why milk is produced in the first place (just like humans, when a cow gives birth, she naturally produces milk to feed her baby) and if humans are drinking that milk, what is the baby calf eating? Every time I pour a glass of milk I’m taking that from a baby calf.

I never thought about who created the national food guide and who backed those studies.

Or about how much land is needed to farm animals.

I didn’t think about how pharmaceutical companies and the government make money off of giving us something to mask the problem — not by fixing the problem. 

But that’s just it, I didn’t think.

I was told information and because it was routine from the second I entered the world I told myself it was right and its what should happen because it’s always happened. But why?

Because it’s routine? It’s what we know? Because change scares us?

Interesting thought eh? This is exactly how systematic racism works. Once again, I never thought about it (which in itself is my privilege shining through). We live and breathe it daily without even realizing it.

The government makes statements and the education system creates text books all referring to past people and making claims like

It’s better now.

But, just because it’s better doesn’t mean it’s good enough.

We are hiding behind the idea that we’re good just because we consider ourselves to be better. But let’s remember who we’re comparing ourselves too.

We should be better based off of our societal and technological advances.

Personally, I thought I was on the right path until the recent spotlight on BIPOC (black indigenous and people of colour) racism movement. It came to fruition just how much myself and society really do just follow the rest of the pack. I felt I had the realization already about being a follower and creating my own path based off of my own research, education, experiences, knowledge etc. but came to realize I still have a lot more growth ahead.

As North American citizens we have created a culture that encourages followers and discourages free thinkers.

I’ve been seeing the statement “unlearn racism” a lot. And it’s true, it’s something we all need to unlearn. But we also need to unlearn our need to follow. We need to unlearn judging others for being free thinkers, for taking a different paths. Otherwise change for racism, change for homophobia, change for people who are differently abled, change for our climate, change for our treatment of others including animals will never happen because they are all on that different path.

It’s easy to point the finger at your government, at people of the past and whoever else that isn’t you. But change happens with each individual. The government won’t change if the people are blissfully unaware. Why would they? Their aim is to keep the people at bay.

Expecting someone else to solve the problem is just as much part of the problem.

…And that’s the problem. We expect a better world. Expect change. Want to make a difference and see a difference but don’t hold that expectation on ourselves.

To blame our education system and government on not educating us in detail about various different subjects when we are unwilling to go and search for that information on our own when its easily and readily available at any moment is ridiculous. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way saying our governments are innocent or are defending them. Rather, why expect them to put in the work for change when you are unwilling? They are just like you and I — doctors, educators, government officials.

If you get enough people talking change will be forced to happen.

It’s time I/we stop putting the weight of our successes, failures, diets, physical health… essentially every aspect of our lives 100% in the hands of others.

Educate yourself about the country you live in past your grade 12 education.

Want to loose weight? Actually study nutrition and physical health and learn about the inner workings of your body. Don’t just turn to some opinion piece that’s paid for by a diet company online that some Facebook friend you never actually talk to shared.

You want to fight climate change? Do research on what is actually affecting the planet and make a change in your life.

You feel tired all of the time? Stressed out? Have joint pain? Research on what the causes are, trial and error. Put the effort in. Don’t just turn to a general practitioner hoping they have all of the answers and complain when they don’t. Again, you’re turning to someone else to solve your problems. Why have we created this society?

We expect information to come to us because it does just fall into our lap.

But companies know this.

Governments know this.

People know this.

To be good at marketing you need to know this.

So they take advantage of our laziness.

They take advantage of that fact that we’d rather just hear “take this pill that worked for 400 other people to loose 10 lbs in 10 days” and believe it then actually put in the work to learn, to question and to educate.

They’re feeding us and herding us through life and we’re just nodding our heads smiling while anyone who doesn’t fit in that perfect box ends up suffering. But is this working for any of us?

We have riots happening in the middle of a world wide pandemic that sent billions of people into lockdown.

This herd of sheep is currently getting guided to the edge of a cliff where we’re falling off 1 by 1 at unprecedented rates. While all it’s going to take is for enough sheep to see and join the free thinkers who changed direction and are surrounded by beauty, freedom, love, happiness and life.