It’s graduation week at thousands of colleges and universities. The gowns and mortarboards will soon be returned to the rental companies in various states of dishevelment, and textbooks are going back to campus bookstores by the truckload. For more than a million new graduates, it’s over.
You might imagine that, out here in the leafy suburbs of Long Island, I have a quiet, stress-free life with nothing to worry about except squirrels on the bird feeder and the occasional leaking faucet. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every day brings a new drama, a new cliffhanger, and more often several of them, so I live in a state of constant anxiety.
From time to time we are all called upon to give advice to a friend or family member who is feeling gloomy, or lonely, or just plain bored with life. Giving advice is never easy, and most of us aren't trained for it. There are literally thousands of books with upbeat titles like The Happiness Project and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living that offer a road to happiness via one therapy or another, with new ones being published every day.
After what seemed like a long time crawling around on the floor I learned to walk at the age of about fourteen months, and I've been walking ever since. I liked walking from the start. It is more dignified than crawling, and faster, and allows us to see more things. Some medical authorities have even suggested that walking may be good for our physical health, although we should probably reserve judgment on that.
Wednesday will be Earth Day. So what should we do? Back in the 1970s, when Earth Day began, the answer was fairly simple: plant a tree, raise consciousness, promote cleaner air and water. It was a ritual of purification and celebration, a feel good day.