Yesterday it was my birthday (getting old!). All day my phone was buzzing with texts, tweets and facebook updates, wishing me for the day, and saying lovely things. When I got home my flatmate had bought me flowers and there was a pile of cards from people I love telling me how much they love me too. I felt, as I think you probably ought to on your birthday, very special.
One of my work colleagues finished work at our company yesterday too. We shut up the office and headed out to celebrate her for the afternoon. We had mocked up a magazine cover with fake coverlines about her to give her as a leaving card, and we’d all written how valuable she had been to us, and how much we would miss her on the back. Our managing director gave her a speech that was full of high praise. I hope she felt the deep appreciation we have for her.
And then at the end of the day came the news that Steve Jobs had finally succumbed to the cancer he’s been fighting for years. Around the globe people paid tribute to his genius, his creativity, his inventiveness and his persistence in the face of opposition. The irony of reading his obituary on my iPhone as I travelled into work wasn’t lost on me. He was part of a revolution in how we communicate with one another. A truly remarkable person.
It’s a curious quality of humanity that not a single one of us is identical to another one of us, who has lived, is living or will live. There is, and only ever will be, one version of you. Meandthegirlfromclapham version 1.0. And the fact of our living has an effect on those close to us, and those who we will never meet.
Some people receive more acclaim in their lifetimes than others. Some never live to hear it, like the Nobel Medicine prize winner, Ralph Steinman, who died a day or two before the announcement was made. And some never receive it at all.
Famous or not, known by many or by few, every one of us is remarkable with a remarkable contribution to make.