Being a vegetarian for 18 years comes with a whole lot of identity issues and emotional baggage. How do you let that go and start eating meat again?
All the questions I linked to above are about the health and ethical questions associated with going back to eating meat. They ask "what will happen if I do it," "what's the best way to do it," and "why should/shouldn't I do it."
I've got a different question. As an 18-year ovo-lacto vegetarian (I'm 30), I've become "the" vegetarian in my family and friend group. It's become very much a part of my identity. Over the last 5 years or so, I have periodically considered eating meat. While living in Japan temporarily in 2010, I allowed broths but not pieces of meat, simply because I was in a culture that made it very hard to be 100% vegetarian (I don't speak Japanese, either, so it was hard to ask).
But every time I consider eating meat, I always run into the identity issue. I feel like those guys in Brokeback Mountain
...I don't know how to quit you, vegetarianism. I still need to resolve the ethical hurdles for myself as well, but the identity ones are the worst for me. I can read all kinds of things about ethics on both sides - Lierre Keith, Michael Pollan, PETA, etc. But nobody seems to have the answer about identity. And yeah, I don't have
to quit, but I kind of want to...and yet every time I think about it, I run in fear from what it will mean for my identity.
Can anyone give advice on such identity shifts, whether as a vegetarian going omni, or on some other transition in your life?