Randy Pausch On How To Live Life
Bob Dylan’s song, Blowin’ In The Wind, asked the question
How many times must a man look up before he can see the sky?
I have looked up and seen the sky in its million different moods. I have seen it without a wisp of a cloud to mar its pure cerulean blue. I have watched puffy white cumulus clouds billow up over the horizon where the sea meets the sky. From a sheltering doorway I have waited out gray skies that poured rain down on Bangkok, revealing a sparkling new city as the deluge swept litter and grime from the dirty sidewalks into the storm sewers. There is such beauty in the sky, and I never really noticed it before. I was so caught up in life – or what I thought was life – that I never took time to look at the sky. It wasn’t until I decided to pursue what brought me joy that I began to notice all the beauty in this world.
There is risk in what I have done. I walked away from a very successful, albeit unfulfilling career. I moved to Florida despite the fact that my house in North Carolina has not yet sold. I am unemployed, with large mortgages to pay each month, no income, and a declining balance in my savings. I spent lots of money on a six month round-the-world trip because my goal is to recreate myself into a writer with a focus on travel. To be honest, it’s all a bit scary. I realize I could end up losing everything. But….I am writing. I have a book in the works. I am interacting with fellow writers here in Sarasota. And for the first time in my life I am happy. So if I do lose everything, well, it’s only ‘stuff.’
Life is short. Life is precious. Life should be lived to its fullest. In order to do this I need to stay focused and operate from faith rather than fear. Sounds easy, but it’s not. I can get off track so easily. Today was one of those days, until I received an email from a friend who sent me a link to a video featuring Randy Pausch, a 46 year-old professor, husband, and father of three, who was invited to participate in a lecture series called the “The Last Lectures” at Carnegie Mellon University. The premise of the series? Hypothetically, if you knew you were going to die and you could give one last lecture, what would you say to your students. In Pausch’s case, however, it’s not hypothetical because he is dying of pancreatic cancer and has only months to live.His talk is not about death, rather it’s about how to lead your life. It’s definitely worth a listen. It certainly put things back into perspective for me.