The death of Anthony Bourdain: Thoughts on productivity, pleasure, and depression

Warning: This is a rare GRS post that contains salty language. If you don't like salty language, don't read this article.

Anthony Bourdain killed himself Friday morning.

“So what?” you might be thinking. “He's just another fucking celebrity who didn't know how good he had it.” Maybe you're right. But his death has weighed heavy on me all weekend.

On Friday morning, as I wrote the weekly Get Rich Slowly email, I thought about Anthony Bourdain. On Friday afternoon, as Kim and I worked in the yard, I thought about Anthony Bourdain. On Friday evening, as we soaked in our new hot tub with a friend, I thought about Anthony Bourdain. Yesterday, I thought about Anthony Bourdain. Today, I thought about Anthony Bourdain.

Now I'm writing this article as an act of catharsis. Maybe it'll help me to stop thinking about Anthony Bourdain.

The Depression Trap

I believe Anthony Bourdain's death touched me deeply for a couple of reasons.

  • I was a huge fan. Since listening him read the audio version of Kitchen Confidential a decade ago, I've loved his work. Parts Unknown was probably my favorite travel show: raw and real — and filled with food. Bourdain connected with everyone he met. His joy for life was contagious and his mind was sharp.
  • Like Bourdain did, I struggle with depression. All my life, I've experienced periodic descents into darkness. The first time this happened, I missed five weeks of sixth grade. In the nearly forty years since then, I've developed a variety of coping mechanisms but they don't always work. In recent months — since the middle of March — the darkness has deepened and I don't know why. (And just as I missed five weeks of school back then, I've been unable to get my work done in the present.)

Let me make it clear that I am not suicidal. Right now, the biggest symptom of my depression is my inability to get shit done. But whereas suicide seems strange and senseless to most everyone else, depressives understand the appeal — even if we'd never consider it personally.

One of the many stupid things about depression is that the condition doesn't care how awesome your life is. It doesn't care how successful you are. It doesn't care how much money you have. Depression is not rational. If it were, it'd be easy to think your way out of it.

Paula Froelich, one of Bourdain's ex-girlfriends, put it like this:

Tweet about Anthony Bourdain's suicide

Bourdain's death didn't just make me introspective. It also led to a couple of interesting conversations about pleasure and productivity — and about what really matters in life.

The Productivity Trap

Friday afternoon, I received email from a GRS reader we'll call Michael:

I'm sure you saw Anthony Bourdain killed himself. This to me was a telling quote:

“When asked during a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal whether he ever thought about stepping back from the breakneck pace of a job that kept him on the road 250 days a year, he replied, ‘Too late for that. I think about it. I aspired to it. I feel guilty about it. I yearn for it. Balance? I fucking wish.'”

Obviously I didn't know Bourdain personally, or even know much about him as a public figure, but I think that mentality is common: Once you've become successful, the thought of ever ratcheting back seems unthinkable. Obviously, suicide is rare, but I think this mentality is common among successful people — they stay in an unhappy status quo simply because they have so much invested in their self-image and public perception of themselves as successful people.

I think Michael is onto something. I've seen this in my own life, in the lives of friends and family, and the lives of colleagues. They fall into what you might call the productivity trap. (Here's an article I almost linked to the other day about the productivity trap: If you're so successful, why are you still working 70 hours a week?)

I have one friend, for instance, with an enormously successful career. He has a popular blog, a popular podcast, best-selling books, and even an annual conference that attracts attendees from across the planet. Yet he's never satisfied — not with himself nor with anybody else. He's always looking for ways to make things “bigger and better”. He seems unhappy with who he is and what he has. He's written publicly about his struggles with mental illness, but he hasn't revealed its full effects.

It's not just my friend. It's me too. I see this pattern in my own life, and it's something I've deliberately decided to approach more mindfully. Why do I want to have a hot tub or travel to Ecuador? Why did I repurchase Get Rich Slowly — and how often should I publish here? Why do I keep agreeing to public speaking gigs? Do I really want these things? Are they aligned with my personal mission statement? Will they really make me happy? (Sometimes the answer is yes. Sometimes the answer is no.)

In his email, Michael continued:

I think this is really the key to personal finance and early retirement — actually stepping back and figure out what is important to you, and doing it, even if it seems like you're turning your back on a great career, or a nice house or whatever. That is the hardest part, which keeps most people in a life they don't want. They think “I went to school X or work at company Y, so therefore I must live in this city or have that job or have that wardrobe” and never ask themselves what, as individuals, makes them happy.

The Pleasure Trap

As our email conversation continued, Michael brought up another interesting point. He noted that our culture — and this is especially true in the world of financial independence blogs — is obsessed with “experiences”, such as travel. Yet in many ways, collecting experiences is no better (nor any different) than collecting things.

Here's Michael again:

[Bourdain] had the ne plus ultra of modern life: rich, famous, a job that 99% of the population would kill for, saw everything he wanted to see, ate everything he wanted to eat, I'm sure slept with tons of women if that is what he wanted, took all the drugs he wanted. You name it, he had it. And, he hung himself in a hotel room in France, a twice-divorced man a continent away from his daughter and girlfriend.

I'm not bagging on him. I just think he illustrates something: A meaningful life doesn't consist of a series of cool experiences, or traveling or eating cool stuff. Bourdain did that stuff to an incredible degree, and it still didn't make him happy.

I think that is what our society has forgotten. I feel like we're always being told we should move a lot, travel a lot, be vaguely or overtly dismissive of the town or state we were born in, move for college and never move back home…in short, basically be a free agent with fewer and fewer personal connections, or weaker connections. And, we get this [higher suicide rates].

[…]

I think this relates to personal finance. There is always this thought that thrift requires these huge sacrifices — less travel, fewer new experiences, fewer new restaurants. But what if [these aren't sacrifices]? What if irrespective of cost, that stuff isn't really a source of happiness? I mean, people accept that with respect to possessions — nobody says a Cadillac or a 5000-square-foot home is the key to happiness — but many, many people in our culture think new experiences are crucial to a happy life. It may be the opposite — the continuity and free-time to invest in loving relationships may actually be the key to happiness.

I told Kim about my conversation with Michael. “It's the pleasure trap,” she said. “People fall for the lie that momentary pleasure equals happiness. But pleasure isn't the same as happiness.”

She's right, of course. Happiness is like planting a garden, watching it grow, then enjoying the harvest. Pleasure is simply eating the fruit. Happiness is deeper and richer and longer lasting. Pleasure is fleeting; happiness is not. But happiness involves time and work and patience.

Now, I'll admit: I'm guilty as anyone else of falling into the pleasure trap, and in oh-so-many ways! I have to make a deliberate effort to look past immediate pleasure in order to consider long-term happiness. This often requires enduring unpleasant activities. Do I really want to go out in the cold and the rain to dig in the mud and plant my garden? No, not in this moment. I'd rather sit in the hot tub. But if I don't plant the garden, I'm sacrificing greater happiness in the future.

Final Thoughts

While I think that Kim and Michael are onto something — the productivity trap and the pleasure trap are both real and both problematic — I keep coming back to Anthony Bourdain's battle with depression.

During my recent road trip through the southeastern U.S., I talked with two friends who are fighting depression in their own lives. One friend has a spouse who cannot shake the condition despite counseling, despite exercise, despite a loving family. The other friend fights the condition himself and it's led to weight gain and addictive tendencies. Therapy has helped some but it's not a cure-all.

As for myself, I haven't yet returned to therapy although I'm considering it. (Not so long ago, I spent a year working with a therapist to find ways to cope with anxiety and depression. It helped.) I want to stress again that I am not suicidal. But the depression has most definitely affected my daily existence, including my relationships, my health, and my work here at Get Rich Slowly.

It sucks. It sucks. It sucks. But I know that it'll get better — someday.

More about...Psychology

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Kingston
Kingston
2 years ago

I’ve come to believe that contentment, not happiness, is the name of the game. Pleasure and happiness are both beautiful but fleeting, in my experience. Contentment is the sense that what I have is enough or on its way to being enough, and I’ve never known contentment to be followed by an emotional crash. As I get older (I’m 55) that’s what I strive for.

Peter
Peter
2 years ago
Reply to  Kingston

Absolutely agree with you. In my experience trying to achieve happiness is pretty futile and disappointing while being content is achievable. The concepts of the hedonic treadmill and the happiness set point come into play. If you have a very good life event you will return to your “normal” level of happiness, the same happens for bad life events. I.e. you will never find bliss but always return to your everyday mood.

olga
olga
2 years ago
Reply to  Kingston

I love this comment.

WantNotToWantNot
WantNotToWantNot
2 years ago
Reply to  Kingston

Kingston, I’m almost a decade older than you are, and could not agree more with your statement about Contentment, and knowing what is Enough. As I get older, little stuff matters less and I’ve been freed to concentrate on the things that matter most to me: my family, friends and community. Contentment, however, is no antidote for depression. If only it were that easy! Depression can be a pernicious companion, leading one to constantly question everything in life in an attempt to find out why it (the psyche) is hurting. Having been through bouts of depression myself, at various times… Read more »

Joe
Joe
2 years ago
Reply to  Kingston

I think contentment is more sustainable too. Contentment punctuated by occasional happiness sounds perfect to me.

Agnes
Agnes
2 years ago
Reply to  Kingston

“I suggest that the ability to feel contentment is a key component of emotional well-being. It is also a goal of many religions and philosophies that recognize that the source of human unhappiness is our habit of comparing our experiences to those of others and finding our reality to be wanting”………Andrew Weil in Spontaneous Happiness

JR Knoxville
JR Knoxville
2 years ago
Reply to  Kingston

Thank you for your intimate disclosure. As a physician specializing in psychiatry I understand the horrible stigma of brain illness. I just want to remind everyone that we have excellent medical treatment which includes medicine and psychotherapies which help most people.

Stacy
Stacy
2 years ago
Reply to  Kingston

I love this little comic because it says with wit and humor and tenderness what your blog post says about travel and experiences.
It’s brilliant and true on every level.
https://www.moretothat.com/travel-is-no-cure-for-the-mind/

Josie
Josie
2 years ago

I just want to drop a couple reminders here for you or anyone else that might need them, and if they’re not needed, that’s wonderful to hear, I just wanted to make sure 🙂 depression lies and my friends and I often remind each other of these truths: 1) returning to/seeking out therapy is not a sign of weakness or failure. It shows that you know yourself well anough and are brave enough to seek outside advice for something new going on in your life or head 2) finding a therapist and/or going to therapy feels like an overwhelming time/money… Read more »

mike
mike
2 years ago

Pleasure Trap. I like it. One of my all-time favorite books.

I look at depression as being on a see-saw. It can be a delicate balancing act behooving one being aware of what keeps the saw from staying grounded in the wrong direction.

tim
tim
2 years ago

Robert Lustig recently wrote a book about how we have confused pleasure and happiness. The Hacking of the American Mind.

You might find it an interesting read.

Yohai
Yohai
2 years ago

Going to therapy is giving yourself the time and effort that you deserve. It’s a sign of strength; you improve yourself by investing in yourself. I never went personally but I’m quite jealous of people who go. On a personal note J.D., we don’t know each other and I don’t usually comment but your writing is touching. It’s not just matter-of-fact articles, they are truly enriching on a personal level (not just this one which is clearly geared towards that goal but all of them). You have a lot of friends that you’ve never met, and I am one of… Read more »

Jo
Jo
2 years ago
Reply to  Yohai

And I’m another.

L
L
2 years ago
Reply to  Yohai

Yohai, I like this thought: “Going to therapy is giving yourself the time and effort that you deserve. It’s a sign of strength; you improve yourself by investing in yourself.” My friend and I were just talking about this at lunchtime. Both of us have been to therapy, although he for much longer, and he was mentioning how much $$ it has cost him over the years… yet I couldn’t help but think how the investment he has made in doing so shows strength and an impressive commitment to bettering himself, trying to dig deeper into what makes him “him”.… Read more »

Yohai
Yohai
2 years ago
Reply to  L

I absolutely agree that many more people people could benefit from going to therapy. Most people only go when they’re in crisis, but that’s like waiting until you’re sick to see a doctor. No, you should do yearly checkups and get a vaccine now and then.

As for me, I’m sure I will some day. I’m very interested and curious to see what this can do for me.

Josie
Josie
2 years ago
Reply to  Yohai

I’ve found therapy useful as a tool to explore my true feelings on the goings-on in my life. I’ve gone when I’ve been overwhelmed by life circumstances, I’ve gone when I’ve needed an objective opinion on something I’m processing, and I’ve recently found myself going because as a society we don’t make the space to dig in deep to our emotions and how they ebb and flow, and I’ve found a lot of value in exploring that once a month or so. When I try to do it with friends it becomes a different kind of conversation where we’re all… Read more »

JanBo
JanBo
2 years ago

Thank you for addressing depression. I do not see it as any sort of trap, but a feeling that simply can overwhelm- even on the “best day”. I think those with depression can see it and those who don’t – never will understand it.

Tammy
Tammy
2 years ago

Thank you for this post. It helped me to understand what those who suffer from anxiety and depression experience. It is also refreshing to read something so honest and unfiltered.

S.G.
S.G.
2 years ago

JD, this is what I was getting at a few weeks ago when I said fishing all day might be a goal, but it’s not a purpose. Meaning might not fill all the holes inside us, but it can help. You hear of suicides who felt their life was DEVOID of meaning. I haven’t gotten the impression than Bourdain looked at his success in terms of bringing joy to people, but as a stressful job he was trapped in. I think most people struggle with depression, just some more than others. But as common as it is, I’m not sure… Read more »

Matt Spillar @ Spills Spot
Matt Spillar @ Spills Spot
2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your experience J.D., this was a really raw and thoughtful post. It’s easy to say, “Stay positive, things will get better” but we often times forget the different struggles that people around us are going through.

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai
2 years ago

The productivity trap is tough. You get so addicted to the success, the momentum, the money, that it’s hard to take a step back. I’ve tried my best to step back w/ the birth of my son… but it keeps pulling me back in b/c ironically, I feel I now must work harder in order to take care of my wife and son. It’s interesting you mention buying back GRS. Although you bought it back cheap, has it inadvertently created a lot more stress because now you feel like you have this tremendous responsibility to grow it back to the… Read more »

Fred
Fred
2 years ago

Frank, honest posts like yours are helping me begin to understand depression. 25 years ago I went through a multi month dark period. My world was collapsing. I’d pace the floors at 3 AM, weeping, and failing in my efforts to decide a course of action.

If depression is anything like that, then I sympathize.

RayinPenn
RayinPenn
2 years ago

My 2 cents…
1) talk to someone (a professional).
2) avoid sad stories, movies, toxic people
3) Targeted reading success stories and feel good books. (Some are a real help)
Lastly make a conscience decision to feel better and work hard at it.

john klabunde
john klabunde
2 years ago

wherever you are standing now, I don’t care where you live , draw a 3 mile circle around you and all the mysteries of life are there. All it takes is for you to stop look and listen. No need for travel. The internet has all the pictures and you can learn to cook the ethnic meals from home.

ALICIA
ALICIA
2 years ago

I’ve been wanting to kill myself since I was 10 years old. I’m 70 now. The only thing that has sustained me is my relationship with God. I find great comfort in knowing there is a God up above who watches over me, will never leave me, is always constant and is my best, best friend. When I put my life in His hands, I feel great comfort and I know that whatever happens was for the best. I’ve been rich. I’ve been poor and hit rock bottom. But God said is was AOK. He helped build me back up… Read more »

Joe
Joe
2 years ago

JD, you should talk to a therapist. Maybe make it a regular appointment. Once a month or something like that. You can afford it and you know it will help. I got hit with depression once. That was when I really hated working. I had panic attacks and various other problems. I got out of that situation and I’ve been good since. Normally, I don’t get depressed. The productivity trap is a tough one. I’m cutting back on blogging this summer to take a step back. I’ll post just once per week and that’s good enough. Summer is slow anyway.… Read more »

Anon
Anon
2 years ago

There is a form of therapy that is less well-known and is more effective than CBT and it’s called EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming. It is particularly helpful for negative events that haunt you and particularly for negative thoughts that bully you in your own mind. If you’ve had these troubles for a long time, please do check into Pete Walker’s accounts of Cptsd and his books, articles, etc.

You’re worth it. Please stay. Keep going until you find the right help for you. Please stay.

Ris
Ris
2 years ago

Therapy helped me with my depression, but what really made a difference was going on medication. It corrected the chemical imbalance in my brain and has made the last three years the most stable, happy, and content years of my adult life. If you’re wondering if medication is the right choice for you, talk to your healthcare provider and be open to trying it. I cannot believe the difference a low dose of a common antidepressant has made in my life. My only regret is that I resisted it for so long.

Peter
Peter
2 years ago

Thankfully I’ve not experienced depression myself, but I’ve seen it’s crippling effects in the lives of those close to me. It really isn’t a rational thing that can be easily shrugged off, it’s just a feeling of complete and utter loneliness despite being surrounded by people, and even those who love you dearly. It’s a sense of not being able to move or function, like there’s a heavy weight pressing down on you. A friend who has experienced the crushing weight of depression who came close to the brink of suicide, said the only thing that was able to pull… Read more »

Katherine
Katherine
2 years ago

I did not personally know Anthony Bourdain but I loved him. When I was young someone closed to me committed suicide. That hurt has never left me. It makes me so sad to think how tortured Anthony must have been to not have any other way out. JD have followed your writing here and elsewhere since approximately 2008. Please do whatever it takes to lift yourself from that darkness.

Erin | Reaching for FI
Erin | Reaching for FI
2 years ago

I’ve been thinking a lot about all of this the last few days—I’m more or less at an okay place mentally right now, but of course the two very high-profile suicides last week were something I couldn’t stop thinking about. I’ve been ridiculously busy so far this year, partly for reasons out of my control, but I’ve absolutely also been bad at saying no when maybe I should’ve. But as much as I hate feeling like I’m constantly behind and running to catch up on my own life, part of me absolutely welcomes the busyness. I don’t stop too often… Read more »

Vania Silva
Vania Silva
2 years ago

Hi J.D. I’m Vania. (I tried to e-mail you but your e-mail doesn’t appear to be working). I read your blog and wanted to reach out to congratulate you on your content and continuous success! I admire the way you expose yourself – especially in this article. We are all fighting a battle. Please do seek help and focus on yourself – you deserve it and sharing such personal information with your readers only shows your strength. You’ve already received lots of love on your post and encouraging words, so I will leave it at that. But if you ever… Read more »

Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies
Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies
2 years ago

Depression is a bitch. It really is.

Giving yourself permission to step away when you need to or want to or simply have to because you can’t write a single thing was the best thing I ever did. One of the most important things I’ve ever written was a post about finding contentment in enough (you even shared it once! ah!), but I’ll be damned if I’m not constantly losing sight of it when I’m in the personal finance world.

I’m always glad you write, but I’m especially glad you wrote this. Thank you.

lmoot
lmoot
2 years ago

I think his depression and his witnessing and knowledge of human suffering (I noticed that was often the theme of his shows, and probably why he was drawn to certain places) got to him; the disillusionment of discovering there were more bad guys than good guys in the world, and too many of those who were supposed to be the “good guys” were baddies in disguise, causing much of the suffering, made him feel hopeless. Obviously I didn’t know him personally, but anecdotally my experience with depression in those close to me, is that some people suffering from depression feel… Read more »

Larry
Larry
2 years ago

“…this mentality is common among successful people — they stay in an unhappy status quo simply because they have so much invested in their self-image and public perception of themselves as successful people.” I’m surrounded by this as I work at a top tech company which, almost, exclusively recruits from the top grad schools in the country. I don’t have an MBA and went to a state school. It’s a constant challenge to keep the boundaries set with my peers and Directors/VPs when it comes to the whole work/life balance. Some work every day of the week, including weekends. Work… Read more »

Caroline
Caroline
2 years ago

My husband when thru a severe depression and eventually got help, both therapy and medication. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it wasn’t enough to help him and he ended his life anyway. If you feel depressed or suicidal, reach out and get help. If you know someone who seems/is depressed, be there for them and encourage them to get help. And if you can, try to donate time or money for research on mental health, so they can keep improving and providing help as needed. Close to 800,000 people die of suicide every year, most of them are not celebrities, they… Read more »

Aaron
Aaron
2 years ago

JD, thanks so much for writing this. Like yourself, I’ve been a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain, eagerly anticipating each new episode of Parts Unknown. I loved how he let other people tell their stories without getting in the way. What a rare and beautiful gift. I was devastated by the news on Friday and have only been able to stop thinking about it when consumed with some other activity. I never met him, yet it feels like I’ve lost a friend. I think that “Michael” is on to something, but I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around it… Read more »

Debbie
Debbie
2 years ago

Thank you for writing a real article for I know someone if not many someones, it will make a difference in them taking a step forward to help themselves. Even with qualified help, there are times Depression is very difficult to live with on day by day basis. Sometimes even hour by hour. I’ve heard so many people commenting that they do not understand why he committed suicide due to his being famous, rich, etc. But they are comparing his outside personality without giving thought to the real person hidden inside. Money and fame do not cure what ails the… Read more »

Cindy in the South
Cindy in the South
2 years ago

One of my sons (the middle almost 28 year old) texted me today, that he wished I would kill myself. He does that when I do not pay for something he wants me to pay for. While it depresses me, and makes me cry sometimes, I have to understand he has issues of his own. His other three siblings (two other sons, one daughter) are not like that at all.

S.G.
S.G.
2 years ago

I hope he’s not in your will.

Caroline
Caroline
2 years ago

Hi Cindy, it must be awful. Is he getting help? Are you?

teinegurl
teinegurl
2 years ago

Cindy- even if he’s your son you shouldn’t tolerate that kind of language. Cut him off financially because its just enabling and he will never get on his own two feet and cut him off emotionally. you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you can keep others. Your #1 in your life

Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life
Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life
2 years ago

Cindy, I’m so sorry he feels that’s an acceptable way to treat you. Of course it’s not but some people just fail to see past their own noses and wants. You know I have a sibling who is like that, and I saw or heard stories of him being horrible to my parents in a similarly self centered way, and have all the empathy. I hope you’ve protected yourself and your finances from him, as best you can.

Manuel
Manuel
2 years ago

Great article. I beleive real happiness is more self spiritual than experiences, money or whatever. People are always trying to build happiness. You knw what’s the problem about that ? : They forget to see they’ve already got everything inside them. Even in the depression. Even in the anxiety. Even in the shitty periods. Real happiness, to me, starts when you are happy living good and bad experiences. Especially bad experiences. When you start smiling in shitty periods – and I mean sincerely, you’ve won everything. Yet it still can be hard and it is okay to cry or whatever.… Read more »

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai
2 years ago

One more thing I am realizing: the desire to be relevant.

It seems like the majority of folks who sell their sites because of the lure of money seem to feel despondent after a year or so because they no longer become relevant to the community they were in. They realize they traded their relevancy for money, and that feels bad, so they decide to start another site or buy a site.

Isn’t this the typical case that money doesn’t buy happiness, but a good social network does?

Sam

Maura
Maura
2 years ago

Thank you, JD, for writing about living through depression. My brother died by suicide, and it makes a huge difference for other men to be public about mental illness and about getting treatment. I appreciate your strength and courage and hope that your symptoms abate soon.

Agnes
Agnes
2 years ago

Thanks JD for writing this article and I hope you are getting all the help and support that you need. I too was a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain and his sudden passing on Friday really hit me hard. And to make it worse it was my birthday this Saturday and I couldn’t bring myself to celebrate it since I was overwhelmed with sadness and I still am. I never knew him in person,however, I felt such a connection with him and it saddened me that he felt he had to end his life the way he did. As much… Read more »

Will
Will
2 years ago

Not being someone that is typically very moved by celebrity deaths, I found Anthony Bourdain’s recent suicide to be something that I kept coming back to over and over, whether mentally or in conversation. Bourdain had an intelligence, authenticity and good humor that was rare in a television personality, and seemed to be someone that had lived a real and multi-faceted life. I also never really considered the possibility that Bourdain would commit suicide, as for public purposes he seemed to have a rather ideal professional life and a deep interest and commitment to what he was doing. Obviously, we… Read more »

Kristy
Kristy
2 years ago

Great post. Thanks for your honesty – it’s why I love GRS and follow you. Money/finance thoughts & tips shared by a real person!

Dani
Dani
2 years ago

Thank you.

Gui
Gui
2 years ago

Thank you for this posting. Kingston you are spot on, and at 55 I think you are on the right track of what life is about: Contentment. The main points I walk away with are: 1) Pleasure 2) Happiness 3) the by-product of not having control of 1) and 2) which leads to depression and worse. I agree that both pleasures and happiness are fleeting. We know that pleasures are short-lived and to maintain them the resources of time and money may be required…putting one in an hamster-wheel to perpetuate 1) and 2) Happiness is the result of this “something”… Read more »

Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life
Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life
2 years ago

Depression is a tough beast to wrestle. It took me three years to write about it, and longer to admit to people in my life that I had been through a suicidally depressive period, but for me, being able to discuss it at all was an indicator of progress in my journey. I’m glad you were able to write about it. I hope it was cathartic enough to get you further down your journey away from the depressive period. If not, I hope you find the thing that helps you out, soon. I know it’s incredibly hard to self motivate… Read more »

Katharine
Katharine
2 years ago

Sending heartfelt wishes to everyone commenting here. This post reminded me of two things a recently saw and wanted to share: From The Cut, an article on the Yale class on How to Be Happy: “An abundance of money is considered a status symbol, while an abundance of time is considered shameful. That’s why, in America, there’s a premium on busyness — on having a deficit of time. (According to research, this does not hold true in many other cultures, where there is no stigma to an abundance of time.)” https://www.thecut.com/2018/05/how-to-be-happy.html From The Financial Diet YouTube channel: I don’t remember… Read more »

Mysticaltyger
Mysticaltyger
2 years ago

I don’t believe Anthony Bourdain’s death was a suicide. Alternative explanations are out there for anyone who’s interested.

Ms. Fiology
Ms. Fiology
2 years ago

His death is tragic.

JD, a lot of people listen to what you have to say. The fact that you are willing to be raw about your struggles is what can help them.

Leah
Leah
2 years ago

Thank you for writing this. I’ve been wondering lately whether retiring early will really grant me the happiness I think it will. Will controlling more of my time, having the freedom to travel for long stretches and explore the world, and living more slowly truly make me happy? I want to make sure I am managing my own expectations of how I will feel once I reach my goal. The answer I come to is that it probably won’t make me significantly happier than I am today. One of the things I’ve realized is that just having a long-term goal… Read more »

Cubert
Cubert
2 years ago

I’d like to meet up with you someday and reminisce about AB with you over a few beers. He was one of my heroes.

I’m still thinking about what went down a full month later. The guy was seemingly living the dream. I’d always tell people, “THAT’S my ideal job.”

We can be grateful that he showed how travel, even later in life, can inform and enlighten.

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