Yesterday morning I was on page 19 of Randy Paussch's The Last Lecture. By the time I climbed into bed last night, I had finished every word.
Randy died in July of pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancers around. This book is the story of the last lecture that he gave at the university where he worked as a professor. Randy left behind a wife, 3 small children, and a large number of friends, colleagues and former students who knew him, loved him and respected him. Definitely visit the website if you'd like to learn more. You can even watch the video of the lecture.
Andrew had passed the book along to me about a month ago, so I told him last night that I had finished it.
"Did it make you emotional?" he asked. Yes and no. It of course touched my heart. If of course made me feel sad for his family. But I also knew before I picked it up that this man had already died. I already kind of knew the story. For me, I read the book and discovered a man with a cheerful disposition in light of his cancer. I found a man who was determined to have fun and enjoy each and every day he had left on this earth. I found a man who clearly always possessed a personality that revolved around joy and optimism. It was hard to feel too sad as you read his light-hearted stories and touching words of wisdom.
I found that I could apply a lot of what he said to my own life. I know he intended to leave something of him for his children, but I believe his lecture can provide wisdom for anyone who hears/reads it.
Some of my personal quotes from the book?
"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted."
"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They're there to stop the other people."
There are so many other fantastic lines from that book I could share with you, but by the time I do that then you could just read the whole book yourself. Randy seems to me to be a man that tried his best to live a good life, and I think he has some great recommendations for the rest of us.
As for being emotional? It hit me today. I was thinking more about what I had read, and the next thing I knew I was tearing up. One scene in particular came to mind... one where his wife hugged him and whispered, "Please don't die." I can't even imagine how hard it must be to lose the love of your life. I'm glad to know that their family knew what to expect and were able to spend some precious time together before he passed away.
I definitely recommend reading this book. It's not terribly long and provides a quick read with really short chapters. Check it out.
I know that so much of what he said has motivated me in a new way to go after my goals.. to go after my dreams...