Friday, October 7, 2011


I only own one Apple product (a shuffle) and don't plan on buying any others. I may not a big Apple Fangirl, but I do appreciate good innovation when I see it. I also appreciate well-thought-out philosophizing. I first heard the now-famous Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech in grad school. It was a stressful time in my life, and when I'm stressed out, my OCD symptoms get worse. One of my biggest trains of excessive thoughts centers around aging and death. These are two things that no one really likes to think about, OCD or not - the difference is that, for me, these things literally keep me up at night. Many nights.

The way that Mr. Jobs talks about aging and death in this address really spoke to me. It was the first time that I had heard this kind of spin on the topic, and as I pondered it and admired the logic behind it, I felt a sense of peace on the issue for the first time, ever. Of course, the obsessive nature of my thinking assured that the peace was somewhat short-lasting, but it was there, nonetheless. When my thinking starts to spiral into sleeplessness or feeling like I want to crawl out of my skin, this is what I go back to. This is what refocuses my mind and helps me feel more ok with the fact that our lives are finite.

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

I can't thank Steve Jobs for the ipod, the iphone, or the imac, but I can thank him for speaking frankly on a topic that most people shy away from, and for the eloquence with which he shared his beliefs.

The rest of it is pretty amazing, too. Check it out.


  1. nice post.  I've loved the mac since I first used one in the early 90's at work.  Yes I worked in an engineering position that had mac's for everyone.  I thought the I-pod was the coolest thing.  Don't care for the I-phone but many do.  He was an excellent promoter and visionary.

  2. Great post, Jene.  One of the things I admire most about you is your ability to look past things that you don't care about (such as the iPod, iPhone, or other iGadgets) and see other positives about what is there.

    I had never heard Steve Jobs' speech before this year, but it spoke to me too.  He was truly unique.



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