Thanks for all the positive feedback to the post on Abe. He actually passed away around this time of the year, that’s why I was by his graveside that day, and that’s what inspired me to write that tribute to him. I wasn’t trying to tug heartstrings or tearjerk, but I thought it’d be a great way to end 2011, and another solid year of The Hundreds — by educating the world on a profoundly influential person in my life. Someone whose words and wisdom have trickled down to the brand and company you see standing before you today. Shows you how much of a difference one person can make, right?
There were some questions. Some people asked if Ben and I finished law school after that summer spent with Abe. The answer is Yes. We finished what we started, even though we didn’t necessarily want to. We worked it to our advantage (Ben taking classes that helped him with business and negotiations, I wrote a 50-page-paper on the legalization of street art and graffiti). I know I preach a lot of passion-talk on the web, but there is something that is actually more pressing and of worth than even chasing your dreams. And that is Responsibility.
Upholding and fulfilling responsibility comes first. Always. Before your passion, before your heart. Another wise man once taught me, “A boy is led by emotions. A man is led by principles.” It’s imperative to listen to your heart and live a passion-filled life, but first, you’ve got to clear your obligations. If you’ve made promises to others or even to yourself, complete them before you concentrate on your own selfish desires. Be smart. Be selfless.
Yeah, I can sit here and tell the 16-year-old kids on the other side of the screen to abandon all sensibilities and do whatever their heart desires, but some of them are taking care of their family, nurturing a single mother, trying to stay in school and earn a degree. Some of you are stuck in the inner-city, trying to make ends meet, maybe with a child of your own, your friends are in jail and you don’t want to meet up with them.. And some of you are dead-ended in lackluster jobs, you may even have a bachelor’s in something but your life has spiraled down to a cubicle, staring at a pushpin board of Post-it notes. But you’re upholding your responsibility and handling your life, one duty at a time; that’s nothing short of commendable. Sometimes life isn’t about what you want to do, it’s what you need to do so you can get to where you want to go. (If I haven’t lost you yet, I probably lost you there). Just make the most of it, because even a research attorney you’d never heard of or cared about until now, who memorized books and mentored students in a dark library for decades, made the most of it, and the ripples of Abe’s work and life have touched every shore that The Hundreds is sold on.