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Journal

In this way, I can be just like Steve Jobs

Adam Parks

A post about the emotional impact of losing someone you didn’t know.

“Steve [Jobs] made choices,” Dr. Ornish said. “I once asked him if he was glad that he had kids, and he said, ‘It’s 10,000 times better than anything I’ve ever done.’”

Steve Jobs's death has hit me a little harder than I would have expected. I find it difficult to grieve for people I don't know personally, but there are some hard-hitting and poignant lessons and reminders in his premature passing. Especially now that I have a son who will have to come to terms with my mortality sooner or (hopefully) later.

When I first heard that Steve Jobs had died, I was hanging out with my 15-month-old son, Oskar, while my wife was out with friends. I got unexpectedly and overwhelmingly sad. All I could think was "No matter how amazing your accomplishments or how much money and fame you acquire, you cannot buy more time." A terrifying realization, to say the least. I tried to hug Oskar extra tight, but he was as oblivious as any toddler should be and pushed me out of his way so he could get to the next thing he wanted to throw on the ground. "This?" he said, as he picked a book off the shelf, held it up to me, threw it down and laughed like it was the funniest thing he'd ever seen. And I watched his innocent insolence as if it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. And in that moment it was.

And then today, while reading the linked article in the NYTimes, I got another lesson in what's truly important. At the end, after everything he had accomplished and all the billions of dollars he had made, all he wanted to do was spend more time with his family. According to his sister, "His tone was tenderly apologetic at the end. He felt terrible that he would have to leave us." I can relate. Now that I have an actual family of my own, my fear of death has increased exponentially. Not because I'm scared of what's on the other side, but because of what I'll leave behind on this one and what they'll have to go through. What an asshole I'd have to be to die and leave this beautiful boy and his beautiful mom alone to pick up the pieces.

But there is hope and a wonderful reminder in there too. I might never be anything more than someone who's pretty good at his job and is appreciated by the people he works for, but I get to do the exact same thing that the most successful person of the computer era held most dear — spend time with my wife and son. In this way, I can always be just like Steve Jobs. In this way, I will always be just like Steve Jobs.