This is When You Are Happiest

There are all sorts of wonderful moments in life. Moments of accomplishment. Moments of recognition. Moments of pleasure. But one of the things you discover as a parent is how the best moments, the ones that really hit you, are the ordinary ones–the ones you spend with your kids.

Before his tragic death, Anthony Bourdain gave an interview where he explains that he was, “never happier then when I’m standing in the backyard being like a TV dad.” His life had been so exotic and glamorous before fatherhood, filled with travel and fame and money and, of course, delicious food. It had also been filled with struggle–addiction, depression, loss. But there was something so normal, he said, about just having a normal family, standing in the backyard, wearing an apron, flipping burgers. “When I find myself doing that,” he said, “I am like ridiculously stupid happy,” he added.

It would not be long after that Bourdain was found very far from that idyllic backyard, on another trip, to film another show. That depression, that addiction, they came with him and ultimately took him very far and very finally away from the thing he loved the most—his family. It’s a sobering reminder to all of us. First, to enjoy the present while we have it. Second, to remember how little we actually need to be happy, how wonderful the ordinary moments can be. Third, to understand how quickly it can all be taken away.

If you’re struggling with addiction, if you’re in that dark hole of depression, please just know that as difficult as it is to fight, to break free and climb out, the simple joys and tenderness and compassion you will find in victory with those you love will come with equal ease and ridiculously stupid happiness.

If you or someone you know is in a mental health crisis and you live in the United States, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. For resources outside the United States please click here.

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