I got my first iPod when I was 14 years old. It was a mini and probably one of the only pink things I've ever owned. I found it this summer and it only works on my Bose sound dock, but listening to it has brought back the most surreal memories. While I grew up loving music (my parents instilled that in me long, long ago), it was this first iPod that really opened up the enchanting, magical, captivating world of music to me.
At fourteen, I was a little unsure of a lot of things. What was I going to be when I grew up, where was I sitting at lunch, who would I go to Homecoming with...all of those seemed to be pretty earth-shattering freshman year of high school. Whenever I felt something that I felt I couldn't put into words, I turned to that little pink machine. It was a safety net, a therapist, a reassurance that I wasn't the only one dealing with whatever I was dealing with. I can't begin to count the nights that I fell asleep with those earbuds in.
As I've gotten older, a lot has changed. It's no longer decisions about college, Homecoming, or who to sit with at lunch. It's jobs. It's leaving home. It's falling in, or out of, love. While all that is different, the way I process it isn't. I still put on my headphones, still press "shuffle", and still listen as song after song says what I always want to (or sometimes they say what I do say, those are fun). I walk around campus with my big, black headphones on and maybe some people think that's rude or that I'm ignoring the world around me. It's actually quite the opposite; I think I see everything (and everyone) a bit brighter when my iPod is on.
I always joke that my most-played songs could tell you more about me than I could, but it's probably true. While the songs I listened to on that pink iPod mini are different than the ones on my iTouch, they still mean the same to me. They still make sense out of what is sometimes senseless, good or bad.
So, Steve Jobs, thank you. Thank you for creating the technology that has seen me through more than I could ever say. Thank you for giving me a way to escape from the craziness for a little bit or that gave me a way to define it. Thanks for all the nights I have just closed my eyes and listened. Thank you for the days I get to dance around my room like a fool to the songs playing from my iTunes. While it is quite obvious you changed the entire world, it is just as obvious that you changed mine.
Rest in peace.
With much love and gratitude from the 14 year old me and the 21 year old one,