Millions of people are collectively mourning the death of celebrity chef and writer, Anthony Bourdain, including my husband and I.
We didn’t know him personally, but his work has touched our lives. He made us laugh, he made us look at food from a different point of view, he shared traditional meals with people from many cultures; he connected all of us with each other through his work.
I remember reading his jaw-dropping memoir, Kitchen Confidential, and not being able to put it down. It was shocking and friggin’ awesome! He was snarky as heck! He blew open kitchen doors and exposed the underbelly of a chef’s life.
Like millions of his fans, we sat down at the table with him and enjoyed his company, while he shared his wit and insight through television shows like No Reservations, Parts Unknown, and Mind of a Chef.
But, there was something he didn’t share with us.
On the outside, he had everything: a string of successful shows, best-selling books, a job most people would die for, a beautiful girlfriend, a daughter he was proud of, friends, loved ones, and millions of fans.
But, on the inside something was amiss.
What was going on, Anthony Bourdain?
Unfortunately, we may never know.
But, now that he has the entire world’s attention, it’s time for us to look at a BIG question.
What is going on with human beings as a whole that there has been a sharp increase in suicide rates over the past 15 years.
Suicide is not a new phenomenon, but it certainly is gaining popularity.
A few decades ago, I remember reading a column by Dear Abby. The topic was about suicide. She said, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I don’t recommend it.”
I’ve never forgotten that sage advice.
Especially, after my own attempt at suicide as a teenager. I still remember the pain in mom’s face as she wrapped my wrists and cried. She wanted to know “why.”
Why would I want to hurt myself?
I didn’t have an answer for her. But, I’m thankful that I didn’t succeed with my early exit plan, and I was able to care for her in her time of dying years later.
My feelings of being completely lost in this world eventually passed. And, I can’t lie… those feelings do come back occasionally, but they always pass.
According to the experts, “The problems most frequently associated with suicide, are strained relationships; life stressors, often involving work or finances; substance use problems; physical health conditions; and recent or impending crises.
Our live’s are always going to be filled with ups and downs, and good times and bad times. That’s just a part of being here.
But, I think there may be something else going on right now.
Is something missing from our human experience that the future (and the present) looks bleak and hopeless?
Are we feeling lost?
We need to start asking the question, “What’s going on?”
Ask your friends.
Ask your loved ones.
Ask your neighbors.
Are we creating a world that humans just don’t want to be a part of anymore?
Are we feeling unsatisfied, unfulfilled, unhappy, and unloved?
Many of the ancient teachings say that we see the world as we are. Our inside world (thoughts and feelings) create our outside world.
If we are unhappy and lost on the inside, nothing on the outside can change that – not money, nor fame, or adoration. Nothing.
We are more connected to each other now than ever before, externally, via social media. But, have we lost our internal connection to something deeper?
Thank you, Anthony Bourdain, for sharing with us one last gift and bringing this dark subject to light.
We need to sit around the table, enjoy a good meal with our loved ones, and have deep conversations about what’s going on.
There is a solution to the temporary problems we are experiencing.
Let’s find it while we are still here.