The world can’t afford to lose any more stars…
With the death of Anthony Bourdain, the world lost one of its most captivating stars. After all, who doesn’t love to eat or travel? Bourdain demystified the world and its many eclectic, challenging and (sometimes terrifying) cuisines and cultures to many of the people who feared it most. A chorus of “I never would’ve done or tried this, had it not been for Bourdain” would rival the largest ever assembled. But Anthony Bourdain took his own life long before his brilliance was done, and I’m here, against all better judgement to tell you that I’ve suffered from serious depression and am lucky not to be in the same place. Now it’s time to listen.
If you think this article is about me, it’s not. But I am writing it, partly because I’m one of the last people you’d expect to hear this from – and that’s exactly the point. This article is really about you, your friend, your family member or the person who looks too happy, or has too many good jokes for you to ever stop and consider their sadness or internal struggles. Everyone is a star, in their own right, and we can’t lose another one. Especially those who haven’t gotten to feel like one yet. I spent most of my life as a relative failure and it plagued me. On the surface I was always a happy, generally easy going guy – but internally a storm was brewing. Now, many wise people would say that any learning experience is far from a failure, but some people get tired of failing before they learn to learn from them. My past failures now pave the way to any successes, however large or small. I was a depressed 20 year old and remained so for many years. The thought of going the way Anthony Bourdain ultimately chose had crossed my mind in very real terms, on more than one instance. Travel is one of the reasons I’m still here. Had it not been for getting up, getting out, getting on a plane and seeing the world, I’m not sure I would be here.
Travel lead me to my wonderful wife, and a career most people could only dream of. I’d always loved to travel, I’d always had a passion for it, and a desire to see the world kept me alive in my darkest days. I couldn’t die before I had sushi in Tokyo, or had seen the sun set over Camps Bay. Since Anthony Bourdain’s untimely death, I can’t help but think of the many dreamers out there, who left the world before they were able to experience their greatest days, and never got to see the places and things they dreamed of. I could’ve so easily been one of those people and there’s not a day that I don’t recognize it. I’m writing this because I am one of the very, very lucky ones. I met a wonderful person, I followed my passions, and I hardly ever have a truly sad day. And I get to travel the world. I think my best days are still to come, and the thought that I came so close to missing out on them is a thought I can’t bare to stay quiet about, knowing some mother, father, brother, sister, friend or loved one could have to say goodbye to someone before their best days.
The world just can’t afford to lose another star. And by star, I do not mean public person. Whether they feel it or not, everyone is a star to someone, no matter how under appreciated they may feel. To the public Anthony Bourdain was an icon, someone who everyone wanted a picture with, and someone who every guy probably felt some level of envy toward. He was a modern rockstar, but inside, we’ll never quite know what he battled, or if he actually felt the adoration. Last night I was on the train and met someone down and out, clearly going through the worst times. They are the reason I ultimately decided to publish this. On most days I would’ve kept my headphones on, but they asked me a question and within moments I knew they needed to talk. They needed to hear good news. Had it not been for the suicide of Anthony Bourdain, I probably never would’ve been so engaging. I’ll never know if anything I spoke of made any difference to this person, but that’s not the point. The point is we can’t lose another star, and you are a big part of that.
Don’t be oblivious, don’t ignore what’s around you. Ask people how their days are going. Listen to people when they talk. Plan that spontaneous trip with that friend you miss, or at least send them a picture of that place you always talked about. And if you’re the one struggling, there is so much in the world you just can’t afford to miss out on. Don’t rely on other people. Make yourself happy, but never ever miss an opportunity to connect with people and let them know everything you’re feeling. There’s too much to see, so many strange things to try and even if you’re not ready or able to do these things today, you will be someday. Tell someone, reach for help and help others. It’s a beautiful world out there. I take no pride or pleasure in showcasing my life’s struggles or shortcomings to the world, but like I said, I’m one of the lucky ones and I wasn’t always going to be here. Now that I am, I can’t bear the thought of someone else missing out on life and its many wonders. Don’t let another bright star fade away too early. Be the friend, family member or loved one that makes a difference, be the one that makes them wake up again to watch the sun rise.
Thanks for listening. Please don’t let it go to waste.