The Caps, Anthony Bourdain, and Diane Court’s Theory of Convergence

Going from ecstatic last night (CAPS!!) to gutted this morning (Anthony Bourdain) has me thinking about Diane Court’s theory of convergence from the movie Say Anything:

“I have this theory of convergence, that good things always happen with bad things. I know you have to deal with them at the same time, but I just don’t know why they have to happen at the same time. I just wish I could work out some sort of schedule.”

In reality the schedule would suck, because you’d be dreading the bad things and trying to avoid them… and unfortunately that isn’t life. The truth is that part of what makes the amazing things so relevant and thrilling is that they don’t happen all the time. But when they do, you have to recognize them. And appreciate them. And feel fucking joy about them. I see a lot of people on social media focused on the things they’re mad about, or the things they don’t have that they think they deserve, or the reasons they think they or their lives are not good enough. I want to scream JUST STOP IT!!! But I know that I can’t — because I can’t change someone else’s perspective. And I shouldn’t — because I don’t know what’s going on for them on the inside. But if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that happiness and fulfillment aren’t things that the universe just magically bestows upon you. You don’t get them because you somehow deserve them. (Think about the corollary of that — unhappy people therefore don’t??) You get happiness and fulfillment because you have the willingness to work for and create them for yourself, but also because you realize and accept that they won’t always look like what you thought they would. In fact, they VERY OFTEN DON’T.

You can’t create a life where bad things will never happen. You create a life and a circle of support where you will be able to handle them when they do. You can’t insulate yourself from the world, no matter how hard you try. In that direction lies despair, because it will never truly work. In the words of Good Will Hunting’s Sean Maguire, “You’ll have bad times. But they’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” I love that quote (and yes, I live my life through movie lines), but I think an important point is missing: waking up to that good stuff requires you to be willing to recognize it. And cherish it. That recognition — that “waking up” — is a conscious choice.

True happiness is difficult, because it requires vulnerability. And being vulnerable is HARD. Allowing yourself to be open to the unbelievable possibilities of the world also means leaving yourself open to its ability to leave you gutted, like I feel right now. Good lord I loved Anthony Bourdain. His openness to experience and his desire to understand people had real influence on me and my perspectives, and truly inspired me to want to be out in the world and make as many connections as possible. (I mean really, his shows were never actually about food.) I am so sad that he is gone. I am so sad that he ultimately couldn’t win against the alligators. But man I am happy that he lived such a wild, beautiful life. Cherish the good things and the hard things and the tiny things and the immeasurable things. Hug your people. Call your mom. Walk your dog. And at the end of the day, remember that YOU CAN DO THIS. Live. Out. Loud.