With much help from many people, I have made many major changes in my life.

I grew up in a mostly white Illinois farm community. I now enjoy living in a mostly people of color neighborhood in New Mexico’s largest city. I grew up in a 10-room, two-story house, plus attic and cellar. I now enjoy living in one sunny rented room 9 ½ by 12 feet.

As a youth I was spoiled with too many toys, clothes, books and records. I now enjoy living on less than half the U.S. poverty level for me, as a single person.

I was a very religious kid, president of the Youth for Christ Club in high school, a Bible major in a church college and a sincere Christian preacher at 21. I had not yet learned to question deeply! I now am a humble, truth-seeking agnostic.

In high school, I did not dance. I believed it was wrong! This past June at the San Felipe Fiesta in Old Town, I enjoyed dancing to most of the music for 5 ½ hours at age 71.

As a child, I wanted my foods separated on my plate. I have drunk my urine for health (as practiced for thousands of years by many people) every day since Nov. 10, 1999.

As a youth, I seldom wore shorts in public other than school physical education. I now am the most well-known nudist in this city. For many years I posed naked for hundreds of artists at UNM and elsewhere.

As a youth, I wasted many precious hours addicted to TV westerns and other crap! I have owned no TV in Albuquerque since I first moved here 47 years ago.

In high school and college, I did not know I was gay. I never had sex with any male until I was 31. Since that, I have had sex with many men. I treasure romance with certain men. I am the most well-known openly gay man in this city.

I owned one car decades ago. I have ridden in no car for 16 years. Sometimes I ride city buses, but I walk mostly!

Many years ago, I ate much meat, dairy and junk food. I now eat only raw plant foods. I stopped cooked food on Dec. 12, 1998.

In high school, I hated physical education class. I now exercise 1 ½ hours almost every day at home.

In my 30s I stayed up late many nights and felt like crap the next day. I now go to bed 9 to 10 p.m. most nights and get up 5:45 to 7 a.m.

Many years ago, I worked part-time in my parents’ cattle and hog business. Sadly, I participated in much cruelty to animals. Now I eat no meat!

We can wake up, wise up and change! If I had my life to live over knowing what I know and do now, I would aim to do many things differently! I am deeply indebted to many people who have taught me, who have loved me and who have inspired me!

Don Schrader