“I should’ve died in my 20’s. I became successful in my 40’s. I became a dad in my 50’s. I feel like I’ve stolen a car, a really nice car and I keep looking in the rearview mirror for flashing lights. But there’s been nothing yet.” ~ Anthony Bourdain
Are you happy?
What is being happy? Is it an idea that we have of fulfillment or a plateau that we must reach?
Regardless of what the definition is, happiness is different for each one of us. No matter our status or our stake in life, one’s unhappiness can ultimately be his undoing, or even his demise.
So, I’ll ask again… Are You Happy?
A sudden sadness hit me this morning. Despite the pleasant thoughts I awoke to and the good morning that I had, I learned of Anthony Bourdain’s passing within a half-hour after waking up. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t instantly upset by this. A feeling in the depth of my heart resounded as though a part of my soul had caught fire.
It is in the wake of two well-known people falling victim to the demons that we all fight each day that I sadly write this post, as a most valuable lesson of life can be witnessed here.
And it is one that I hope all take heed to learn.
First it was Kate Spade, the well-known designer. Days later, Mr. Bourdain, celebrity chef and TV personality. Both taking their own lives. Both found hanging at the end of a rope, alone.
It’s a sad picture to be painted here, but one that begs to be made known.
I didn’t know much about Kate Spade. But Anthony Bourdain was one of my silent heroes. As I’ve always had a fondness for world travel and for experiencing new cultures, Chef Bourdain brought me to places I’ve never been, and vicariously through him I experienced the food and richness of places that I may never see, as did we all who watched his show.
I remember thinking how good it must feel, to be successful and to be able to do that job for a living. To travel to exotic places, explore unknown hidden haunts and trek off the beaten path, and have an amazing time while doing it. Sharing those experiences with the world, to me, would be a very fortunate position to hold.
The man always seemed so upbeat, so real and down-to-Earth. Rough around the edges, but a real human being sharing real stories about real people and places. Like many chefs I’ve known, he did battle his own demons, and despite all of his success and all of his money, he simply was not happy.
And that is the lesson that we all must learn in life.
We could have it all. And he did.
But it wasn’t enough to save his own life.
It wasn’t enough to live another day.
In our short lives, we might acquire all the gold and silver we could bear to adorn us. All the accolades of success could be ours to have and cherish, to lavish in and to flaunt.
These things we chase after are but fleeting winds blowing the dust of our dreams.
With that in mind.. Are You Happy?
No matter how much we have or how much we can stow away. No matter our status or clout, or the fame and glory bestowed upon us, none of this can ultimately make us happy. And unless we are at peace within ourselves, contented with the sound of our own inner voice, we may never know what true happiness is.
As we all suffer the elusive at times, we must remember those who’ve departed this world too soon.
I cannot claim to know that drove Mrs. Spade or Mr. Bourdain to take their own lives. And nobody ever truly will. All I know is that they will be forever missed, having left their now silent mark on the hearts and minds of the world.
Are You Happy?
I hope that you are…
Because above all this sad story speaks to the truth of our lives, that happiness must be found within, and that it simply cannot be found outside of ourselves. And no matter how happy one appears to others, a storm may very well be brewing inside that we may never realize.
So please, be happy..
And I hope that you cherish the life that you live. Because we are only here for a tease of time. And as you live, listen. Listen to the voice of true life, to the voice of the heart.
A soul sometimes begs to be heard. Not by others…
But by our own ears.
27 thoughts on “How Happy Are You?”
Hey great post! Love your blog!
Thank you kindly!
I believe happiness has to come from within. However, that doesn’t stop the demons from consuming us. We hide our pain behind the smiles because we don’t want to be a burden on anyone. We come to believe that suicide is our only option. It’s a brick wall that keeps us from feeling the love we need to sustain life. I, personally, have no desire to end my life but I can empathize with the pain one must be feeling to see that as their only way to cope.
You’re absolutely right.. as though love itself is suffocated by pain and sadness. Easy to conceal, but a silent and lonely horror to live with. Thank you for your words.. hoping all is well 😊
I had a rough week but I pushed through it. Suicide was at the forefront of my mind but I cling to hope. It also doesn’t hurt that I have a very supportive family and boyfriend who are quick to get me help when I need it. My desire for self-preservation is greater than my need for self-harm. Hugs!
I’m happy to hear you have this support and that you have hope shining upon you.. always remember, Love is always available.. I wish you all the best..
I really do love your writing. I’m going to have to look into the book you’ve written. I have one novel nearly completed and have started a second in my puny brain. Just hoping it’s worth publishing.
Thank you so much! And if it’s worth writing, it’s worth publishing 😉
Maybe I’ll let you read it sometime! 😉
I’m relieved to wake up today and read your post and know that I’m not the only one upset to the core, especially by Bourdain. It seemed he had the work I always dreamed of. As a writer and photographer, I love to wonder around with my camera curious about all that I see. As a mother of two girls, I had to forsake that dream so it gave me great pleasure to watch him live that life. It’s beyond disillusioning to find out it was not enough to make him happy and excited to live another day. It makes me wonder and pray for the meaning in all this. But it also makes me feel grateful for my small piece of earth, my husband, my children and grandchildren, my little town that I enjoy and yes, explore each day. I travel once or twice a year, but am always in a place and with those I love including myself.
Thank you.. and I’m relieved as well. The more people I talk to the more I realize what an amazing impact this man had on our lives, and on many lives across the world. I do believe it’s because he spoke to that genuineness we all seek in everything, and especially in each other. He lived a life most would dream of.. very sad to see him go.
Enjoy as you create, capture and explore.. All the best to you 😊
Yes, authenticity is all that interests me these days. You might enjoy a new blog where I contribute: https://www.thehummingbirdpost.com/home-page?category=An+Evolving+Life
Indeed I will! Thank you for sharing..
it saddens me that if even those ‘who have it all’ can’t find their happiness… where does that leave us mere mortals?
& on some level it angers me that they would choose to throw away the absolute gift of life. having lost my darling sister to cancer earlier this year I know the value of every single day. & that she would have given absolutely everything to just have a few more years…weeks…days. my grief has been overwhelming leaving me with much regret at not having that last goodbye.
& I wonder if Ms Spade & Mr Bourdain left their loved ones a goodbye … so very sad.
I can certainly understand how you feel about this, especially knowing others who’ve lost loved ones far too early in life. But above all I think this speaks to the truth of the matter, that happiness must be cultivated from within. And that it cannot be found outside of ourselves. As we’ve seen with two people who seemed to have everything, all of it simply wasn’t enough to be happy, or maybe.. what they had just wasn’t simple enough for them.
My heart is always greatly saddened by news of suicide. Not just for the family and friends left behind, or the world left with one less bright light, but for the person themselves. The pain and desperation they had to be feeling to drive them to that final choice….. may they rest in eternal peace – peace they couldn’t find while here in this world.
I too, feel the same each time this news comes about. It strikes a chord in us I believe to know that this level of hopelessness can result in such a horrible consequence. Having known people who have tried to commit suicide, each time what they’ve said when asked why they tried cannot be easily understood by anyone. I only wish peace upon those they’ve left behind and hope that their memory will be everlasting.
Yes, I am happy! And grateful for all I have, too. But sometimes these states still can’t make up for losing our sense of self as we age, or feeling we’ve outlived our purpose … or maybe discovering that having it all still isn’t enough. You’ve summed it up so beautifully: “… above all this sad story speaks to the truth of our lives, that happiness must be found within, and that it simply cannot be found outside of ourselves.”
My heart goes out to Anthony and Kate, and to their fans and friends everywhere who were devastated last week by the sad news.
Thank you.. and you are so right. Nobody can understand the process of growing older, as it has to be experienced individually. And losing one’s own sense of purpose or whatever reason might keep them going each and every day is tragic. I only hope people can learn from this and from everyone who calls out for help, silently or otherwise.
Hey! Great post!
In this journey of ours in search of peace and true happiness, I hope we all find them. Sometimes its too tiring to even go on but I hope we never give up. 🙂
Thank you! I too, hope we never give up.. best wishes to you. 😊
Beautiful post….made my day
Thank you! Glad to hear it!
Amen… Both losses are heartbreaking… This is the reason I try to really listen when someone shares themselves with me. This is the reason I try to really listen when I share my innermost feeling with me… We need to be here for one another and for ourselves.
I enjoyed reading this. I often wonder too, in light of “having it all” if we shouldn’t be chasing other things instead. Or at least minimize the amount of years our lives we spend in the “rat race.” You bring up some things to think about. I admired Mr Bourdain but it’s really hard to put yourself inside people’s heads battling with demons, which he never shied away from talking about. That’s why he gets my respect. Although I’m still saddened for those he leaves behind, I hope he has found some peace.
Thank you.. and yes absolutely; having it all is really being at peace within in my opinion. I’d watched an interview with Bourdain not too long before this happened, and in it he was asked what he wanted most, his reply was “just to be able to look out of the window and be happy.” It’s a haunting reminder of how we can lose ourselves in this race of life.