I'm going to try to do this without sounds preachy or trite, but I'm not sure if it's going to work. As many of you know, my main computer is what's called a 'hackintosh'. That is, I run Apple's Mac OS X on a computer I build from parts I put together myself. I do this for a number of reasons. Certainly the cost factors in (about 1/2 price), but mostly I do it, to quote JFK, not because it's easy, but because it is hard. I like figuring out how things work and making them do things they're not supposed to. That's the true essence of 'hacking' that they don't teach you in the movies.
In the forums on one of the sites I frequent on the subject, www.tonymacx86.com there was a user called RevoGirl who was one of the people who figured out the really hard stuff that's way beyond me. Getting off-the-shelf motherboard bios software to talk to the Mac OS hooks and stuff like that. Real low-level assembly code that looks like a scene from Numb3rs. One day I ended up on her blog where she wrote in detail about all these things she was doing. Then on her 'about' page she mentioned that her name is Samantha and that she's all of 16 and already had her college degree in engineering. I shook my head and sighed. Yep, she's one of THOSE kids that make 37 year old guys like me feel like we've wasted most of our lives. All I could think was that if she'd done that much in her first 16 years, what is she going to accomplish in her next 16?
Well yesterday I logged onto the forums to find out that Samantha had died at 6:33AM that morning. Apparently she had leukemia and that a last ditch bone marrow transplant from her brother had failed. Even though I barely knew her online, the news got me quite upset. I have lost my father and grandfather to cancers in the last decade, so there's still an open wound from that. But really it's another reminder that so much of what we use our energy on in life, be it money or the latest iPhone or who's got the biggest ring are just a big pile of crap when it comes down to it. None of it does you a lick of good if you're not alive. I may sound like an old man, but the greatest asset you have is your health. Everything else is secondary.
The reason Samantha was such an overachiever was likely that deep down she knew that she might not have another 16 years. What she had though was a purpose and a community of friends many of whom she never met. Her blog was taken down off of Wordpress yesterday as well, though I'm not sure why, must have been by the family. Kind of sad really, the things she wrote about to help people are a big part of what she leaves behind and should remain available to keep helping. Though you can still read the first page which is cached by google, including a couple of the most recent posts by her brother about the treatment and her death.
So what's my point? Well I guess it's a few things. Take care of yourself and maybe get some exercise if you don't already. Go to see a doctor if you think something is wrong. But mostly my point is this: Do what you love with the time you have and, if you can, share it with the world. You never know who you're going to inspire or effect. Life is like a giant game of billiards and we're going to keep moving if we slam into each other once in a while. Ok, I'm done preaching for the day.