Between games of Swashbuckler, Word Munchers, and Sticky Bear, I somehow learned to write on that thing. I would type anything and everything: nonsense, stories, I even made greeting cards with Print Shop (seriously). For lack of anything better to do, I kept myself occupied with that computer. I didn’t have video games. So this my outlet when it was raining outside and no one wanted to play.
When I was about eight or nine years old, my parents brought home a Macintosh Classic. This was a major step up. For one thing, this was the same computer we had in my classroom. For another, this was the same computer that D.J. Tanner had in her room on Full House. The occasion was momentous.
On that little grey box, I became a writer. A real writer. I wrote fiction and non-fiction. I published my works, stapled them together, and handed them out as gifts. Most kids got their dad a tie for Christmas. I penned a novel. As a third grader.
As I grew up, Macs became irrelevant. The power shifted to Windows and Microsoft. Many of us (myself included) have still not re-warmed to Macs. I haven’t used a Mac since high school. I’ve never had an iPhone. My exposure to Apple is limited to the iPod. But I do love my iPod. (You got me there, Apple.) So as I write this, just know that I don’t even really like Apple products. They just happen to exist in my world (or maybe it’s the other way around…).
With all that said, you, me, and everyone else you know is well aware by now that Steve Jobs passed away on Wednesday after a battle with cancer. Who was Steve Jobs? None of us really know for sure. I mean, outside of being recognized as the founder of Apple, we can’t say we knew the guy. He was just a person like the rest of us. Except he happened to do a few great things. And became famous as a result.
It’s interesting though, because when you think about it, all the stuff that Jobs did had a lasting impact on society. Chances are, every single one of us has been impacted by one of his creations. Whether you were stricken by dysentery on the Oregon Trail, devastated by a falling rock on Super Munchers, or addicted to the App store on your iPhone, Steve Jobs had his fingerprints all over you.
For me, though, the relationship went deeper than that.
I’m confident I wouldn’t be communicating with you right now if it weren’t for Steve Jobs. I developed a passion for writing using his machine. And now, in between the rigors of daily life — work, the gym, dating…typical first-world obstacles — I do this because I love to do it.
There are dozens and dozens of people who help each one of us find the things we love. Our family, our friends, educators, coaches, the list goes on. What we rarely find, however, is one person who has shaped so many of us. And that’s what Jobs was. A guy who had an impact on average scrubs like you and me, who transcended different walks of life to the point where he’s being talked about on a sports website.
So why should you care? Well, that’s a good question. Because in reality, this article has no business being here. But there is a reason. And now it’s up to me to tie this all together.
Back in 2005, Steve Jobs gave a speech at Stanford University’s commencement ceremony. He talked about life and death, about the things he had invented, and about finding meaning in the everyday. I’ve embedded the video at the bottom of this post. I’d urge you to watch it if you get the chance.
The thing is, I’ve found it coincidental that Jobs’ machine gave me my passion for writing, and similarly, his words in this one speech reinforced my own desire to perform an action that pays no bills and may prove to be little more than a hobby in the end.
I am a realist. People live and they die. None of us are invincible. We may postpone death, but we will never thwart it. And that’s what makes living so special.
With his passing, Steve Jobs will be memorialized for any number of reasons, from the material to the ephemeral. I choose to pay his life tribute for the simplicity of what it was: the act of living.
This dude lived for all the right reasons. He found something he loved to do and he did it. Very few of us can say we’re doing that with our lives right now. With adulthood comes obligation, and with obligation we tend to leave behind the things we actually enjoy doing. We squander our existence fulfilling obligations when we should be allowing ourselves to become the passionate forces of life that we’re capable of becoming.
So regardless of whether or not you care about him, me, or anyone else, I urge you to live. Think of how much trouble we’d all save ourselves if we just lived every day. No worthless emails clogging the inbox, no animosity towards those who probably don’t deserve it, no wasting our existence.
I live to write and write to live. I’ll do it until I die, whether that’s next week or next century. This website, and every one of you who happens to read it, is a testament to that. I’m incredibly grateful for the fact that my life — through writing — is impacting yours. You’ve made my life more worthwhile just by being around.
And so with that, I request just one thing of you: find what you’re living for and go do it. It’s that simple.
Thanks for the help, Steve.