It’s a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I’d say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.
I am sitting up at the lake on my last day of our annual week long vacation. I am feeling a little melancholy. It’s hard enough to relax and get in vacation mode, then once you do, you have to get back to reality… I look across the lake and the fog is rolling out, I figure I should take a picture. So I step outside, trying not to get the dogs all worked up, and as I raise my phone to take a photo, suddenly an eagle that has been hanging out in the tree in front of our place swoops down and in front of me. As I probably did to him (or her), he startled me. It was wonderful. Peaceful.
I quietly returned to the cabin and sipped my coffee. I scanned Facebook and saw a post – that two my friends had shared. I read it. It startled me. It was wonderful. That empty scary feeling of having to return to the reality of life after vacation, suddenly was filled. Saunder’s speech inspired me. I guess I fall into the category of being older, but there is still plenty of room for me to be kinder. I had recently made a career move. I don’t regret the move at all, but his speech somehow made me feel like I had made the move for the right reasons.
Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial.
So maybe instead of today being the last day of my vacation, it is the first day of conscientiously trying to be kinder.
You can read the entire piece The New York Times did about Saunder’s Advice to Graduates here.