The Puzzle

A couple of years ago I gave my mother a puzzle for Christmas. It’s been sitting in a corner unopened ever since. Every time I’m visiting I can’t help myself and I playfully tease her about it.

It got me thinking about people and puzzles. We probably all have tried completing at least a puzzle or two in our youth. Cute kittens in a basket 100-pieces puzzle certainly springs to my mind.

Much of life is a puzzle in itself, starting without a doubt with our very existence. Why is there a little me on this big planet?

My point is, we get a wide variety of puzzles of all shapes and sizes handed to us just because we exist, here on Mother Earth.

The difference lies in how we each deal with puzzles.

First, lets consider the box itself. Some people, like my mom, leave the box in a corner forever. Who knows if they’re even going to bother opening it in their lifetime?

 Then, you have people who actually open the box.

I would say they fall into two camps. Tossers and organizers. Are you the type who dumps the pieces on the floor and starts digging through? Or are you more of a “let’s set everything on a table and organize the pieces by color scheme in neat piles”?

Mind you, both types are as likely to quit as they are to finish.

In terms of solving the actual puzzle, again, you have different styles.

There’s the overachievers who won’t stop until they’re done. You have the “routine” solvers who will spend 10 minutes everyday on it, until completion. You have the “let me do it alone!” vs the “teamwork is dreamwork”. Strategists “if this color goes there than this goes here” vs trial and error die hards.

Obviously what is true for puzzles doesn’t necessarily translates to real world problems. However, I think it applies to a lot of them. Many issues about ourselves and the world we inhabit are sitting in their puzzle box in a dusty corner of our mind. There is stuff that will stay in that corner until the day we die. Other issues will take precedence and we will work on those instead. Sometimes we will accept help, sometimes not.

I think, in many ways, veganism is definitely a puzzle box we all have in our minds. For most people, it’s sitting in a corner and will stay there forever. Others will open it, look at a few pieces and give up. Some will work on it very slowly, alone, piecing it together for years.

I’m here with my completed vegan puzzle and I wish everyone would complete theirs. It feels so good to look at the final image. However, I know that some people will never bother taking the box out. I also know that most don’t want to be reminded that they have this puzzle somewhere. Of those who do have it out in the open, most don’t want to be told how their pieces go together.

Vegan activists have it hard. People are all at different stages of their puzzle. It takes a huge amount of finesse to be able to cater to all. Some boxes were willfully thrown in the trash, others are lost in the attic, some have just begun looking through the pieces.

No matter how painful it might be to watch others disregard their puzzle, how annoying it is to see how the pieces they are staring at go together without being allowed to tell them, how frustrating it all is, I will do my best to cheer everyone on, regardless of where they are and how they go about solving their damn puzzles!

*Photo credit Jesus Abizanda flickr Creative Commons 2.0 

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