“A wiser fella than myself once said, ‘Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar, well, he eats you.’”
This is a play on an old cliché that uses “bear” instead of “bar,” which is a far more logical metaphor. But when the Stranger, The Big Lebowski’s baritone narrator, recites this to the Dude, the two men are sitting at a bar in a bowling alley, and the Dude is drowning his sorrows in Kahlúa and vodka (hence the bar reference). Either way, the meaning behind the quote—some days, you win big; others, you lose just as big—remains true. It’s similar to a slightly cruder quote: “Sometimes you’re the dog, and sometimes you’re the tree.” If you’re in a bad spot, have faith that things will eventually turn around. Such is the cyclical nature of life.
“Happiness is only real when shared.”
Christopher McCandless, the young man whose tragic story inspired the book Into the Wild and its movie adaptation, wrote these words in his diary shortly before dying of starvation alone in the harsh Alaskan wilderness. He embarked on the dangerous journey that led to his demise in order to find happiness and peace as an individual within nature’s beauty, eschewing convention—as well as the advice and love of his family and friends—in the process. At the end, he realized all too late that happiness can only be found among the very people he pushed away. True inner contentment comes from being selfless and finding a way to spread the joy you possess to those around you. Happiness can result from developing oneself individually, as McCandless tried to do in the wild, as long as it’s not done at the expense of your connection to your fellow humans.