The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

In 2011, a good friend of mine recommended that I check out Randy’s book. Without spoiling the contents, he encouraged me to think about the premise the author offered as the reason to call his creation The Last Lecture. Think about it for a second. How can someone be so certain they will have the last of an event? What could you be contemplating that would make you ponder such a thought and take action? The old adage of living like it was your last day on this Earth comes to mind but, do you think of the possibility that everything you do could be the last of?

As I mulled over the answers to these questions, the author makes a point that his repertoire is not about death but rather about life itself. Randy infuses humor and reflection to the chronicles of his life lessons making you relive his journey to becoming the person that he was at the time of the lecture. As I write this, I came to realize that to an extent this blog could become my last lecture. For starters, it is a legacy of accounts, opinions, thoughts and emotions that I have put down on virtual paper to ensure future generations and patrons discover them in the world wide web. This could happen long after I am gone. A similar medium, Facebook, has served as a tool for family members of the deceased who decide to keep their profiles open as a testament of their existence and relevance. In the end, all our social media posts and affiliations paint a picture of who we are, and of who we aspire to become, helping others understand us. The intention of keeping the memories of the dead alive isn’t to solicit pity from those who are still here. It is a healthy way to ensure no one is ever forgotten and that their contributions are written into the annals of history.

Because Mr. Paush also produced an actual last lecture on video, you can stream it instead of reading the book. -The audiobook version isn’t narrated by Randy, :(,  and lasts about 4 1/2 hrs.- Either way, the timeless morsels of knowledge and emotion provided by the once Professor are good food for the heart, mind and soul. The title and experience when reading or listening in is an excellent addition to your personal library and lesson collection, also doubling as a great gift for a friend. Try it with your book club and you will understand why this book is so much more than a last lecture.

Even though I can’t say my life was forever changed by the contents, I can say it was heavily influenced by it. The way Randy exhorted all of us to aim for the sky and never give up is genuine and remarkable. He had opportunities others humans will never have during his 47 years on this planet, including appearances on Star Trek and working with Disney Imagineers. All of this before his illness! He flawlessly concludes that his biggest regret will be not being there for his children as they grow up. Makes one treasure how lucky we are to have the opportunity to live in a time when it is so easy to document our experiences. Take a moment to let that sink in.

Never doubt there are better things to come if you work hard, voice your desires and solicit help from strangers. The world gives back to you as much as you give to it, even if it looks like some got more than others.  -MrsEnginerd

Life is a very precious thing, and I wish my friends who have since passed would have had an opportunity to host a last lecture. I wonder what they would have said about their life and dreams, what they would have emphasized. All I know is that when it is my time to go gentle into that goodnight I can do so with pride and joy. Never hold back and let fear or uncertainty take over. There is nothing worst than experiencing regret on your death bed.

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