I’m writing this tonight, not as an editor or as a journalist, but as a person who has lost someone important.
In the last year, I’ve told people how important Steve Jobs was to me. How he’d changed my life in ways that I never expected. People would laugh, noting that not only did I never have a conversation with him, but also that we’d never even met! And yet, here was this person that had a profound effect on my life.
It wasn’t through Apple products, although arguably, I am a fan. Steve got to me by being Steve. Something about his words, his charisma, and his drive really captured me and taught me more than anyone can say they have.
When I learned of Steve’s death last year, I instantly bought a plane ticket and flew out to Cupertino to be as close as I could to the person I never had the chance to meet. I wasn’t even 23 at the time, but I had a bucket list, and the first item on it was to meet Steve Jobs. When he passed, I knew it would be an impossible mission, and so I did what I had to do for me to take the time to mourn my idol.
This year, I’ve returned to Cupertino, not to mourn, but to remember. To retrace my steps, and to be near the company Steve founded.
Steve’s passing didn’t change my life so much as make me aware of just how much he had been slowly affecting my life since we crossed paths (virtually, of course) in the mid-2000s. It is his Stanford Commencement Address that sticks out in my mind as some of the most influential and inspiring prose I’ve ever heard. The most important that always makes me think about priorities is this:
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Steve taught me that focus has nothing to do with concentration, but rather how to say no to doing certain things to drill down and create the most absolute creation you can. That to iterate is necessary, and that nothing happens overnight. He taught me that being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t make any sense, and that making mistakes are necessary for change. Steve taught me that you can’t connect the dots of your life looking forward, so you have to trust that they’ll somehow connect in your future.
Steve Jobs taught me to live.
Rest in Peace, Steve.