Earlier this summer, Anthony Bourdain passed away. His passing was marked by a remarkable outpouring of grief, not just from people who knew him, but from his fans as well. This grief felt more widespread than when we’ve lost other public figures. Perhaps his cause of death was part of this, but I have a feeling it wasn’t just Bourdain’s death itself, but something more that made this loss so deep. Bourdain was an example to many of us of what it means to live a full life. He was an inspiration or, perhaps, an aspiration, to all kinds of people across the world.
Bourdain began his career as one of the first celebrity chefs, though he famously rejected that title and insisted he was, at best, just a cook. His experience working in kitchens in New York City restaurants led to his memoir Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Before long, he landed a TV show on the Food Network. In 2005, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations began airing on the Travel Channel and Bourdain began to morph into an authority not just on cuisine, but on traveling the world.
He visited hundreds of places—from Ecuador to Uzbekistan, from Laos to Chicago, and Beirut to Paris. It seemed there wasn’t an adventure or journey that Bourdain wouldn’t take. His most recent show, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, which aired on CNN, followed a similar formula. Bourdain was the everyman, doing the thing everyone wishes they could do—living life to the fullest. He was respected around the world because of this, but also because he treated everyone with respect, always inquisitive to learn more so he could connect better with the world around him.
But it wasn’t just the adventures Bourdain went on that made him so special. His image as the everyman made him feel like one of us. Despite his fame, he remained a figure that many people felt close to. Shortly after his death, Helen Rosner, a columnist for The New Yorker, wrote “Bourdain felt like your brother, your rad uncle, your impossibly cool dad—your realest, smartest friend, who wandered outside after beers at the local one night and ended up in front of some TV cameras and decided to stay there.” When we see someone we feel like we know, doing everything he can to get the most out of life, it’s easy to ask ourselves, “If Tony can do it, why can’t I?”
Bourdain met a tragic end, one that reminded us that we didn’t truly know him. But if seeing some of ourselves in Bourdain helps us prioritize those parts of our lives that feed our souls—whether we travel to distant lands like he did, finally learn to sail or cook or ski, or simply take more days off from work to read the books we’ve let pile up on our nightstands—then I think we would do his legacy justice. It is because he felt, as Helen Rosner said, like our rad uncle or cool dad, that we want to carry on his spirit. He wasn’t a celebrity sequestered in a mansion somewhere living a life that was so unlike our own that we couldn’t connect with him. He was just like us, doing his best to live fully.
We can help you live fully. If you’d like to know more, please contact us. When we first meet, we’ll take the time to learn about 5 key areas of your life that help us identify what is most important to you now and for the future. Through careful and thorough financial planning, we can help you ensure that your life is filled with those things that bring you happiness.
If you’d like to read Helen Rosner’s article about Anthony Bourdain, it can be found here.