This Boomer Will Never Die

I wanted to make you laugh. Last week was pretty heavy, what with my lament on the possible extinction of the American Dream. So this week, I was going to describe funny people and situations I’ve encountered tripping around Lake Havasu and Laughlin for the past couple days.

But then on Wednesday, October 5, we lost one of the most amazing Boomers ever. Steve Jobs, Dreamer, Dictator, Tech-Boss-In-Chief, passed away, assumedly due to cancer. Apple and we are left to figure out what will replace him. Probably nothing and no one.

One of the things Jobs was known for was his motivational quotes. Here’s a creepy one:

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”

What do you feel when you read that?

I have two reactions. The first is that he’s wrong. Sometimes I think all we have is the certainty that there IS something to lose. The love and respect of our family and community, and the chance to leave something of good and lasting value to them, for example.

Or maybe he was saying you only have so much time. Get it done. You don’t know how much time you have left.

Jobs was an imperfect Buddhist who didn’t worry about karma biting him on the ass for his bad behavior He wasn’t warm and fuzzy. More like vindictive, territorial and secretive. Did you know he’s been married for twenty years and had three kids from that marriage? Me neither. And yet look at all he gave the world, how far he helped us evolve.

It bums me out that Jobs, only one year younger than me, doesn’t exist anymore, at least in the corporeal realm. And this leads to one of the biggest mysteries: what happens to all the material you accumulate in your brain, all the effort you exert to learn about things. Where does all that effort go? I like to believe some part of it goes with you to the next life cycle but we’ll never know. There’s at least a possibility it dies with you, that there is no reincarnation into the energy of the next soul who will be farther along his journey thanks to you.

In writing you’re told to not hold back, to give it all away right up front. Maybe that’s your hedge against dying. Just in case there is no afterlife, you can at least pass something of yourself on. It’s like insurance, and you might even be able to help a nice young person achieve greater heights than s/he would have alone.

So go ahead, mentor somebody. Share what you know. Pour your knowledge into someone else’s mind. Guarantee your own immortality. Pass it on.

Just in case.

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  1. says

    Lynne, I like your subjects and the way you write. I’ve thought a lot about Steve Jobs’ recent death – my first reaction being: I’ll never be as accomplished as he and be the historical public figure postmortem he’ll become. I feel quite accomplished until I compare myself to the likes of Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey (with whom I’ve worked and share a similar professional background).

    That egoist viewpoint gave way to an admiration of his accomplishments and the recognition that with all his great achievements and his great wealth – he was still robbed of his life way before his time. And it’s along that line of thinking that his quote makes sense to me and provides inspiration. We have just this one life in this human form and it will be stolen at a time unknown to us. Allow that mystery to inspire us to do what we want, be who we want to be and reach for our personal stars.

    • says

      You know what, though, Joyce? I wonder if what SJ and OW accomplished is worth it to them. Both have so much but gave up almost an equal amount. SJ was driven and was often very cruel. He was bullheaded and felt the rules didn’t apply to him, which may have led to him dying earlier than necessary.

      And Oprah’s biography was unauthorized, but if you only believe half of it, you get the sense she’s given up a lot, too. At the risk of sounding negative, I think she’s in it for the glory (or love, to put it charitably). She has gone to great lengths to squelch negative revelations about her life, and can be heavy-handed in dealing with competitors and adversaries. Sure, that’s business, I guess. But I’m just pointing out that for all she has done, I wonder if she is truly content.

      Not to say I’m not grateful to both of them, though. Very much am. And thanks for stopping by. Hope to hear from you again.

  2. says

    I only wish I’d known more about Jobs’ background before he died. I knew he was a visionary, but didn’t realize he was a college drop-out. It’s unfortunate that he had to pass away to make us pay attention and reflect on our own lives.

    Thanks, Lynne. As usual, you make us think.

  3. says

    I think that you are right when you say… “give it all away – maybe that is your hedge against dying.” I don’t write because it’s fun; I write because I have to. I write to preserve memories, mark passages and reclaim my soul, to leave a trace of my existence. And when I am gone, I hope my “energy” will live on in the hearts of those who have loved me.

  4. says

    Hi Lynne, ah the great and wonderful Steve Jobs … our age in fact … and now he’s gone. It does give one pause, doesn’t it? For me the take-away from his life, his message, his style — believe in yourself not the dictates of society. Go against the grain to discover what lies on the other side. His spirit of discovery and adventure resonate with me. I recently wrote a guest blog post for The Women’s Nest, in fact, about Honoring Our Unique Selves … … avoiding a path of conformity. I love the fact that Jobs did it his way … and empowered individuals and the world with his products at the same time. A favorite quote of his … “I just want to put a ding in the Universe.” Great minds seem to be in tune with a force beyond sight and sound. It may not look perfect from a mortal perspective, but I think they are dancing to the beat of a higher intelligence. Thanks for sharing this post, Lynne. Great work, as always! –Daisy

  5. says

    Debbie, I wonder if he, like so many CEOs, went for it at the expense of his family or anything else on the other side of the work-life equation? He left us so much. I wonder what he left them? I think I’ll go read about more about his life.

    • says

      I think it’s a myth that anyone can “have it all,” Lynne. We women used to believe we could succeed in having a perfect home-life and a perfect working-life, but I think we realized somewhere along the line that it was impossible — something had to be sacrificed. I’m betting Jobs found that out, too. Perhaps his wife kept the home fires burning while he was off being a genius. I’ll be interested in hearing what your research turns up!

  6. says

    You pose some interesting points here, Lynne. I never really considered what happens to all the learning we accumulate when our lives here are finished. I like to think that, when we move into our forever home, we’ll find out just how little we know that really matters, though! Regarding Jobs, I think he was telling us to Go For IT! That life is brief and we shouldn’t let opportunities for good pass us by.That sharing our knowledge and experience is an excellent way of passing on something for the next generation.

  7. says

    Lynne, I think the main message I get from Steve Jobs is” life is short, you can do it, get it done- FOCUS” He used his own date with mortality as a wake-up call for all of us, maintaining humility despite his iconic status. I love your advice”share what you know, pour your knowledge into someone else’s mind, guarantee your own immortality. Pass it on.” I would add my own:we all have unique treasures within to offer. All we have to do is stay still long enough to recognize it. Share your stories ( as you do!) xoxox

  8. Jean says

    Great advice, Lynn! “Share what you know. Pour your knowledge into someone else’s mind. Guarantee your own immortality. Pass it on.

    Just in case.”

  9. says

    Yesterday, I heard the speech that included that quote. It was a commencement speech at one of the universities, back when he had come through his first bout with cancer. I think he meant it in the more positive way. He also went on to say that he would ask himself if it was his last day, would he be happy spending it doing what he intended to do on that day. If the answer was no several days in a row, it was time to rethink what he was doing. So I think he meant, go for your dreams, even if you might fail. I found that inspiring as I have been so afraid of failing that I don’t submit my poetry to get it published. And yet, what have I got to lose? And what if I wait too long?
    As for what comes next, I think that perhaps our bodies are simply hosts for a small portion of cosmic energy. When we die, it is only the body that dies, the energy leaves the body and returns to the universe. That it will return again, in a different form, but that it never truly ceases to exist.
    Of course, I am not sure what that does for our unshared stories. I guess we have to rewrite them on the next go-round, in some shape or form. Carol

    • says

      Carol, that’s the big question: what happens to that energy? I was taught that earth is a closed system. No energy is wasted. So then how can all of the efforts we put into learning, maturing, and becoming better people, be wasted? The only way to guarantee it’s not is to share it. Do it, girl.

  10. says

    Jobs was a poet/inventor, a dream spinner, a creative genius. All he was is in his story, which is still accessible to any kid with a bad haircut and a place to tinker. So, you’re already doing what you can, Lynne – sharing stories, telling truths and inspiring the dream spinners and storytellers who may be finding the adventure short and golden; or the young minstrels, taking their first creative steps.

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