What David Bowie's death can teach us about living

Many of us woke up this morning to the devastating news that, on Sunday, rock legend David Bowie died at age 69 following an 18-month battle with cancer.

Dylan Dulberg, who was a freelance photographer with The Oakland Press when I worked there, described Bowie best: "David Bowie, whether intentionally or not, taught people that it's perfectly okay to be yourself, and to be anything other than yourself is what's weird."

Bowie didn't care what others thought of him. He did what he loved and was who he was with no apologizes.

In an interview with 60 Minutes in 2002, he said, "I'm just an individual who doesn't feel that I need to have somebody qualify my work in any particular way. I'm working for me."

Did you know that despite his apparently high self esteem, Bowie, in fact, suffered from anxiety and extreme shyness? Of course the man who painted a metallic red lightning bolt across his face and publicly wore spandex pants couldn't have been shy, could he?

But becoming "Ziggy Stardust" is how Bowie coped with his anxiety and "explored a world where he wasn't afraid or panicking," reports Beyond Anxiety and Depression.

While some people feel debilitated by what they may consider weaknesses, Bowie overcame his anxiety and found success despite it, or, maybe even because of it. For Bowie, he drew strength from his music. Music was how he expressed himself when he couldn't find the words.

"I'm not too articulate when it comes to explaining how I feel about things. But my music does it for me, it really does," he said.

The world lost a legend this weekend, but his memory lives on. And there's much we can learn from Bowie and the time he spent on this planet.

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