I am, and perhaps always will be, an idealist, but as I have gotten older, I have come to understand that it is best to temper, though not abandon, idealism with the understanding that one's idealism at best points toward an aspiration, not drives one forcefully towards a goal. I do not want to continue pig farming for another year. I will be honest, I want out now, today, but we do not always get what we want, even when it means doing work that we do not want to do. The "real world" that is opposed to idealism carries with it forces that powerfully constrain us.
The vast majority of people who become vegetarian or vegan need do nothing more than change their diet and get rid of a few pairs of shoes and some belts. I find myself in a position where I have to change my whole life, literally turn it upside down and shake it out. I have to give up a successful business 10 years in the making, just when it had taken off. I have to give up my life with pigs, a life that, while complicated and full of inner turmoil and conflict, has been wonderful. And, in the end, if vegetable farming does not work out, and there is a very good chance it will not, I will have to give up my life as a farmer completely and most likely have to return to a cubicle in an office somewhere bathed in the deadening, washed out light of fluourescence. I am willing to upend my life for the pigs, don't get me wrong. It is just not easy, at all. It is, in fact, incredibly difficult -- my chest tightens in panic every time I think about it -- in spite of being incredibly inspiring at the same time -- my heart swells with anticipation whenever I think about it.