The Dash? Yes, it is that tiny dash (-) that punctuates our lives as we write our chapters through life. The dash tells the world about our commas, semi-colons and full stops that mark our milestones, some glorious and some inglorious, in our earthly trek. Yes, the dash speaks about our achievements, failures, lessons, hopes, regrets, friends, enemies, betrayals, family, wealth, properties and so on. One fine day, these are movingly eulogized when we reach our final destination. Was our time on earth well spent and meaningful? Or did we squander it deserving only to be mourned, buried, and forgotten?
“For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.”
This verse from a poem by Linda Ellis reminds me of Steve Paul Jobs, the ‘Apple Guy.’ He was born on February 24, 1955, and soon after his birth, he was given up for adoption. His adoptive parents sent him to study at Reed College in 1972, but he dropped out soon after. Steve then travelled to India to seek “enlightenment” and to learn about Zen Buddhism. Upon his return a year later, his life started to bloom, transform and succeed. Sadly, Steve died on October 5, 2011, leaving behind his wife and four children. It was too early, too soon. He was only 56 years old, but his ‘dash’ was a power-packed period with multiple accomplishments.
Steve Jobs was the co-founder of Apple Inc, Chairman and CEO of Pixar and Board Member of Walt Disney Company and Founder of NeXT. He would have been a lot more if his destiny was kinder but he lost the battle to pancreatic cancer. The world lost an innovator, but his works continue to push the boundaries of science and technology, especially in computer innovations. To know Steve Jobs, you must read his books, or catch the Danny Boyle movie, Steve Jobs. It’s on YouTube. Go, watch it!
Here is the full version of Linda Ellis’s poem that she wrote in 1996 in memory of someone close to her heart.
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
So, think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.
To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?
So, it’s the quality of the ‘dash’ that makes one’s life truly memorable and unforgettable. The more dashing, the more attractive! As for me, I am still working hard to add more dash before the final ‘dash.’