I found the announcement of the death of Robin Williams troubling and sad, but not the least bit surprising. Anyone who has followed his career knows that his life was also troubling and sad. He had long fought a personal battle with addiction and depression. His comedic brilliance and hilarious persona apparently couldn’t defeat the demons that tormented the rest of his life.
This is just another example of the problem we all face if we let our lives get out of balance in any area. And we don’t have to look very far to see many more examples of people who are well known for their talents and abilities and achievements, but who also lead troubled lives filled with arrests and hospitalizations and angry confrontations with family and friends. Unfortunately most of these people are also role models for our young people. What do we tell them about someone who is paid millions of dollars to perform for us, but spends the money on things that are dangerous, degrading, and illegal? How do we convince them that being “famous and fabulous” in one endeavor does not guarantee them a happy and successful life? It seems to me that too many people are now focused on their “fifteen minutes of fame” and little else.
For the rest of us ordinary mortals this tragedy also begs the question, “Who are you?” Are you well-rounded, confident, and leading a basically happy and successful life? Or are you so focused on your occupation, hobby, sport, health, family role, religion or relationships that other aspects of your life suffer from neglect? We can’t have tunnel vision for very long without suffering the consequences. And too often those consequences are troubling and sad.