I recently ran across the written, final words of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, Pixar, and NeXT, to name just a few of his accomplishments in the high-tech world. This gentleman died at the very young age of 56. While going through some of his personal effects, an envelope was found with the words, “Do not throw away without reading” on the front of it. The following is an excerpt from just one of his written thoughts found in that envelope:
“Treasure love for your family, for your spouse, love for your friends. Treat yourself well and cherish others. When you have mates, buddies, and old friends, brothers and sisters, who you can chat with, laugh with, talk with, have sing songs with, talk about north-south-east-west or heaven and earth, that is true happiness. Eat your food as medicine. There is a big difference between a human being and a being human, very few really understand this. The six best doctors in the world are sunlight, rest, exercise, diet, self-confidence, and friends. Maintain them in all stages and enjoy a healthy life.”
In the same writing were his thoughts and feelings regarding money and material possessions:
“I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. Aside from work, I have little joy. My wealth was only a fact of life that I am accustomed to. All the recognition and wealth I took so much pride in have paled and become meaningless in the face of my death. A $300 or a $30 watch tells the same time. Whether you fly first class or economy, if the plane goes down, we all go down with it. Don’t educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be happy so when they grow up, they will know the value of things and not the price. You will realize that your true inner happiness does not come from the material things of this world.”
When Steve Jobs died, he was worth over ten billion dollars.
I like to think that, in the end, Mr. Jobs, got it right.
What Is True For Me
I was surprised to recognize that my life, except for being in the same tax bracket as Mr. Jobs, abides his letter. “How did this happen?” I thought. “Caregiving,” I answered. “Caregiving happened.”
In the beginning of my caregiving journey, I quickly learned I had three choices: fight, flight, or stay. "Flight" was not an option for this kid, but I did “fight” against caregiving’s chaos and frustration. I fought against never getting it right. I fell down more than I was able to get up. I fought because I did not know what I was doing, and it almost took my life. Therefore, the only other choice was to stay. That was when “Surrender” rapped quietly at my cottage door. Wisely, I let “Surrender” in. I poured us a drink. And we sat down to have that dreaded “Come to Jesus,” talk.
I still wrestle with my loud, obnoxious, blathering voice telling me I need to be someplace, or that I still have this and that to get done, or that I need to talk, call, or see this person or that person. However, I have s l o w l y learned to make better choices to quiet my mind consciously. Now I keep it simple, and, most importantly, lasso my temper and patience. Yeehaw for me.
Caregiving was my wake-up call. For Mr. Jobs, his imminent death was his wake-up call. His final words tell us beautifully what to strive for and what to let go. His final words are as appropriate for caregiving as any other vocation, no matter who we are or what our bank statement says.
I am sure Mr. Jobs would also tip his cap to simplicity. How else could we honestly take his advice and “Treat ourselves well and cherish others. To love our family, our spouse, and our friends"?
Rest in peace, Mr. Jobs. You did a hell-of-a job while you were here.