What Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain taught me
This week we lost two giant members of society as Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain tragically took their own lives. Both of these public figures were wildly successful. Both of them changed the way we approach and think about their respective industries. There are countless people around the world who consider their Kate Spade bags and clothes as the defining aspects of their wardrobe. Anthony Bourdain influenced people to consider food as more than just sustenance but rather the way we approach life and the people around us. Beyond the standard way we engaged with these two, what they did most was inspire.
These iconic figures were successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams and seemed to live a charmed life. Nonetheless, they both made a decision to end those lives for reasons we likely will never comprehend. I don’t believe it’s my place to speak about mental health and comment on what people should and shouldn’t do. All I’ll say is that if you know someone who struggles with mental health issues please reach out to them. We always tell people to seek help, but if they are dealing with depression it can be uncomfortable to speak up. Simply reaching out to them can help a lot.
Many libraries offer digital collections of books on mental health. Sharing those with them is a great, non-intrusive way to help them find what they’re looking for without the need of worrying about being judged. If your library doesn’t yet have these materials, consider curating a collection for your community. It can make all the difference.
What I take away from the passing of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain isn’t sadness about all the things that were to come for their lives but rather an inspiration to live. Regardless of how long any of us get on this Earth, it is not enough time. Even if you can’t travel the world, you can walk through a local park or visit an animal shelter. Stop by a soup kitchen to lend a hand and search out local restaurants you’ve never heard of. Regardless of where you live, you’re never far from an art gallery or local clothing store waiting to be found.
If you are fortunate enough to travel the world, bring Anthony’s books along with you to find culinary treasures and wonderful cultural landmarks. You can also always grab a Lonely Planet or Frommer’s travel guide to keep on your phone as well. If you aren’t able to explore the world in person, borrow books of authors who have. Or explore world’s far beyond our own. Books can take you anywhere you want to go and they can also quiet your brain a bit as well.
Purposely take a new route while walking your dogs. Go for a run when you visit a new city and get a perspective on what’s lying beyond your hotel room. While you’re doing so, download an audiobook in a genre you usually wouldn’t read. Borrow a cookbook of cuisine you wouldn’t normally eat and try everything. Plan a themed party and create a time to dress to the nines for no reason at all.
Life is colorful. It’s emotional and painful and happy and tragic and an infinite amount of other adjectives. It’s also fleeting. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain left their mark on the world in the short time they were on it. We all have the ability to do the same thing. See as much of life as you can. Have experiences. Discover. And know that, for whatever possible thing you may want to learn or know, we’ll be right there in your pocket. Knowledge is just a tap away and life is waiting for us all, just outside our front doors.