06
Oct
11

what we’ve lost

I mourn, often repeatedly, when the world I know loses someone who still has a lot to offer.

Jeff Buckley comes to mind.

07 Lover, You Should Have Come Over

Going a bit further back, Robert Kennedy.

And now Steve Jobs.

I know I’m “late,” his death “old news,” but I had a busy day, and this is the first chance I’ve had to really sit and think and write.

I’m typing this on a MacBook; I just checked my Twitter account on my iPad. I used my iPhone for email and texting and phone calls at least 15 times today. It’s not even the devices themselves, but the elegance and synergy they provide and represent. My contacts and calendar files scroll like a rolodex, my “files” go into file folders, when I send a text to my son I can read every text, in consecutive order, (amusingly, in little speech-bubbles like those in cartoons), that we’ve exchanged since the last time I emptied the file. The virtual world he has created works the way the real world does, which makes things intuitive and easy and fun.

And then there’s the aesthetic. Things are clean, sleek, clever; from the way the power cord wraps around it’s own self-contained brackets to the way the pages in the iBook “fold” and “turn” the way a real page turns. The keys click just enough when you type on them, resolution is crisp and rich and realistic.

It’s been said all along, and especially today — he was a visionary, a genius, not for the grade point he didn’t earn at the college he dropped out of, but for his ability to learn from mistakes, make new opportunities for himself, and judge well what the world wanted/needed next.

You’ve probably all watched it/read it/heard it today, but today I heard his 2005 commencement address to the graduate class at Stanford (an audience apparently quite amused by his confession that he never graduated from college, and that quitting college was one of the “smartest” things he ever did), and a few things really hit home for me.

Especially these:

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

and

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

If the measure of a successful life is what I seem to think it is: that you have done what you loved, and done something good for the world, you have been a resounding success.

Good-bye Steve. We thank you, and we’ll miss you.

 

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