Happy Birthday John and Jackson and Goodbye Steve

Today John Lennon would have turned 71 years old, had his life not been snuffed out by a man with a gun in New York City over 30 years ago.  John was always someone I revered – in the beginning as a heartthrob – later as an activist for peace and for living his life the way he wanted to live it  – despite what others thought.

Today is also singer/songwriter Jackson Browne’s birthday.  His music and lyrics have resonated with me since I first became acquainted with his songs back in the early 70’s when I was living out in California. I’ve been in and out of touch with his music over the years, but recently I’ve been influenced by his songs as well as his social activism. Jackson uses his craft to create awareness, gets people to think and moves  people to action.

Jackson Browne

A line from his song “Alive in the World” inspired the title of my documentary Opening Our Eyes, and I have been extremely fortunate to obtain his permission to use his song in our movie for community screenings and film festivals.  Next week, I will get the opportunity to personally thank Jackson when I get to meet him after his concert at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ.

Last week we lost one of the “great ones” – Steve Jobs. 

Steve Jobs

I’ve always admired Jobs for his vision and for what he brought into all of our lives.  But mostly I admire Jobs for remembering to “Stay hungry and foolish”. And for reminding us to march to our own tune.  He sums it up more eloquently than I in his 2005 Stanford University commencement speech:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

I admire these three men for  listening to their hearts and for following their dreams – for daring to be different. They have made our world a better place and have inspired me to do the same.  I don’t know how much more time I have on this earth, but I do know that I wake up each day and remind myself to make it count.

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