As I’ve been pondering David Bowie’s passing, I couldn’t help but be struck by how well he orchestrated the sequence of events leading up to his death.
At 69, David Bowie was a member of the Boomer generation. Now, while he wasn’t your average, everyday Boomer, he lived through the same world events as Boomers everywhere. And, after all, haven’t we learned that there really is no such thing as an “average, everyday Boomer”?
While Bowie could be defined as a rock star, he certainly wasn’t a cliché. He didn’t die of a pathetic overdose. He didn’t take his own life in a fit of angst. He didn’t go out in a fiery crash. He went out doing what he wanted to do: create.
David Bowie didn’t share with the world that cancer was eating away at his body. That was his personal right. He chose to keep that private and, while it meant the world would be shocked by the news of his passing, it also meant he was free to create, right until the end. There weren’t tabloid shots of his fluctuating weight. There wasn’t speculation about how long he had, or grainy images of him in a hospital somewhere. He maintained his privacy and, therefore, his dignity.
As many have written, he had beautifully orchestrated his goodbye, with both his new Off-Broadway musical, “Lazarus,” and his new album, “Blackstar.” And to top it off? The entire run of “Lazarus” sold out in a matter of hours, and “Blackstar” garnered some of his best reviews — all without the benefit of a “celebrity death” to spark that interest.
He reflected many of the traits we’ve seen in the Boomer generation: a love for life, pursuit of interests, desire for control over his own life — ultimately making his own decisions.
David Bowie was art. David Bowie was passion. David Bowie was an individual — just like so many of his fellow Boomers.