I suppose we all have our notion of how we’ll confront death, when the time comes. Carnegie Mellon (CMU) created a platform for its professors to imagine such a confrontation and gave us the invaluable gift of Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture. CMU’s tradition asks professors to imagine the end of their lives and address graduating students, sharing with them their philosophy of life and what they might have done differently if they could do it again. For CMU’s computer science professor, Randy Pausch, things were a little more real. He was diagnosed with cancer and given a few months to live. His Last Lecture was indeed his last.
Randy’s lecture was a keepsake. It did the rounds online and became one of the most inspiring, most viewed videos on youtube [The Last Lecture, view here].
“Under the rouse of giving an academic lecture, I was trying to put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children. If I were a painter, I would have painted for them. If I were a musician, I would have composed music. But I am a lecturer. So I lectured.” – Randy Pausch.
It convinced Randy to write a book too, entitled The Last Lecture.
The Last Lecture takes you through a swift journey of Randy’s life. It inspires you to dream big, mend relationships and live happy. It makes you smile, wonder and believe. Saying your goodbyes, leaving behind three little kids and your life partner, dying, cannot be easy. But Randy is enthused with optimism, more than can be expected of someone in his situation. Instead of wallowing in self pity, instead of blaming and cursing creation, Randy is happy he lived a fulfilling life, found love, and was fortunate enough to get an advance notice on the end of his life. The book leaves you a part of Randy’s life and his family, a part of you that dies with him. If there ever is a true story of bravery and courage, ordinary yet very special, this is it. A book that can move you to tears and gratitude. An evaluation of your own life.
Whether you’re a student, a parent or a professor, or very simply, an adult, The Last Lecture will give you a whole new perspective on life. I promise.
Thanks Randy. I hope you have found your peace.