When I was a young child I found the family cat dead in front of my house, he had been hit by a car and tried to crawl back home. I remember feeling a immense sense of loss and always missed my cat. A couple of years later I met a kid visiting his family at my grandparents neighbors. He had a BB gun and thought it would be fun to shoot a rabbit.  I remember him shooting it and then watching it die. I could see the pain in the rabbits eyes and I felt horrible , I could see the life drain out of the body as the blood flowed. I cried and the kid made fun of me.  I am still haunted by this event to this day.
As I got older I met some people and we joked about being a vegetarian.  I got dared to not eat meat for a month.  I did but at the time I was still stupid and thought fish and chicken where not meat (I am sure we have all heard this before). I made it past the month and kept going.  About a year later I discovered one of my favorite bands The Smiths and heard a song of theirs called Meat is Murder:  it changed my outlook. I quit eating meat altogether and learned about the cruel treatment of animals.
As fate would have it in 1990 I sprained my ankle skateboarding and got stuck on the couch.  While I was watching bad day time TV shows I came across the Oprah episode with River Phoenix and Lisa Bonet and a guy who I had not heard of named John Robbins. John  was talking about his book Diet for a New America. I was amazed to see other people like me and I went out and got a copy of the book from the library.  I read it on the way to my first Animal Rights march. I went vegan that weekend and have not looked back 19+ years later.  I am living proof that a person can lead an active healthy and very happy vegan life.
I hope if you are not vegan you will give it a chance.

*post by Shawn