Today is the one day during the past 364 that people take a look back on their lives and reflect, while tomorrow will be the occasion we spend the most time thinking about the future. Coincidentally, today also happens to be the first anniversary of the death of a close friend, Jim Bean. I’ve written about my “ALS Friend” on this blog previously, but this may be the first time I’m naming names. Jim’s confidence, attitude and public bravado in dealing with such a debilitating disease will never be forgotten by me. He never seemed too concerned about himself, his primary concern was for his daughters and ensuring they had a good education. As my 45th birthday prepares to meet me in just six weeks, I can’t help but think of Jim only making it to 45, or my father making it to 53, or another friend lost this past September, Craig Pound, at just 43.
One person certain to be a part of “those remembered” TV specials and top ten lists of all kinds is Steve Jobs. While many think of the Macintosh introduction in 1984 as the start of Apple fan-boys, my appreciation for Apple goes back even further. Upon arriving as a freshman to WHS in 1981 (Good god, have I really been diddling with computers for 30 years now…), I was genuinely intrigued by these interesting black Bell & Howell computers being used in the library and for gaming/warring conventions (this was also around the same time as my brief foray into Dungeons and Dragons). It turns out that these computers were basically Apple II’s in slight disguise and so began a 20 year admiration for just about everything Apple and certainly a strong respect for Steve Jobs and Woz as founders of the company. To this day, I still believe that Woz (Steve Wozniak) was really the brains behind the creation of the very first Apple and Mr. Jobs was always about sales and marketing (and eventually design at all costs). And if I’ve said it once, I’ve probably said it 13 times, if you know how to market, you can do just about anything.
Following Steve’s death this past year, there were so many tributes, quotes, Youtube videos, commercials, magazine covers and such that it became just a bit too much. While the old advertising adage says “sex sells”, so to does death. Probably the most circulated, or viral video following his death seems to be Steve’s commencement address in 2005 to a graduating class at Stanford, two years after his diagnosis for pancreatic cancer. Here’s the quote from within that speech that I posted on my Facebook wall on Oct 6th:
“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
-Steve Jobs (2005)
Are you following your heart? What are your dreams for your coming years? I don’t care about what your goals were when you were 8, 18 or 28, but what is important to you now? Just a few months ago, Aimee and I fulfilled an important dream by moving to North Carolina. And, even beyond that, moving to Carolina Beach, NC – a great coastal community with a strange, almost artistic mix of full-time residents and tourists. We truly love it here and have absolutely no regrets about the compromises or costs that have been made in order for us to be here every day. We sometimes feel guilty about shopping for Christmas trees in shorts and flip-flops, or Coastal Carolina BBQ for our Christmas dinner or even today, Dec 31, when the high will likely be near 70. But that guilt doesn’t last for long. As someone wise, probably a southerner, once said; God doesn’t give extra credit for living in crappy places.
As the new year arrives, and another year gets added to our lives, please remember that your life is now. Take some time on Sunday, January 1 to restate, commit to your dreams by writing your top 5 or 10 life goals; print them out and post them on your bathroom and closet doors. Do something every day that gets you closer to at least ONE of those goals. Each time Aimee and I took one more step to help us get to NC, I would state out loud: “Progress!” or “Momentum!” until it actually became a joke between us. Your true goals need to become projects, high priority projects, because they are really meaningless unless you are actually proactive about their accomplishment. There may be a lot of little bumps and shifts that eventually lead to a titanic change, but this is your only life.
Happy New Year Friends.
PS: The stars must be in alignment again as I start to think about online radio again and the top five things I did wrong with 80sAirwaves as a business. Wheels are turning, but very slowly. Stay tuned!