By now I'm pretty sure you are aware of the passing of Steve Jobs. I'm also pretty sure you found out of his passing via some Facebook post mourning his death. The adulation that Jobs has received in the last 24 hours has been unmatched in recent past, and is perhaps eclipsed only by the death of Michael Jackson.
The tributes have been moving, emotional, personal and somewhat unanimous in their message: "Steve Jobs changed my life, and he was the most inspirational and motivational person I knew".
I too was sad at the news; the man was iconic, and his views on design and technology were unique. Either way, it's always sad to hear of the death of a person well before his or her time. I had no idea his cancer was at such a terminal stage; in fact, I'm sure most people did not, which just added to the shock of the news.
While people continue to debate his contribution to the world, I spent time on another line of thought. I admire Steve Jobs' vision and his technological advancements, yet I cannot claim that he was someone who inspired or motivated me personally. I have been influenced by many people, and I continue to be influenced today by the amazing and unique people in my life, yet the only people I would elevate to such a status would be my parents.
Yes, perhaps it's cliche to say that, but be that as it may, it is also very true. My father and mother have been through a lot, raising me, because I wasn't an easy kid to raise. I have often rebelled, thought of leaving home and running away (ah that familiar teenage fantasy), yet somehow I have arrived where I am today - hanging up the phone after talking to my Mom, laughing and joking and just messing around.
My father and I do not share such a vocal relationship, yet our bond has been tested by fire over the years, through trying and gut-wrenching experiences. While I once used to ignore his opinions and advice, now I won't do anything if it meets with even the faintest whisper of disapproval from him.
(now the hard part)
When the day comes when they pass away, I know that I will have reached that point solely because of the values they instilled in me, and the expectations they had of me. My family is by no means a regular, 'normal' family. We don't hug things out or sit down and discuss life lessons with each other when we're going through tough times. Yet somehow, these two people have spent half their lives raising and nurturing me, the best way they could.
As I watch the moving images of people paying tribute to Steve Jobs, candles, testimonials, tweets, FB updates and all, I have to say that I cannot identify with the emotions. "Inspirational"? "Motivational"? I can't think of any celebrity, let alone Steve Jobs, that I would feel that way about. For me, at least, that place is reserved for my family only.