Monday, July 28, 2008

What A Shame

I was sad as I read Richard Roeper's editorial today and had to take a pause to share my thoughts on what I think is a very tragic event.

Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, passed on Friday.

It's not the fact that he was a computer teacher or one of the world's biggest experts on virtual reality or even that he died of pancreatic cancer that makes his death so sad to me. It's that he knew he was dying and could talk about it as candidly as you or I would talk about the day's weather.

He delivered a speech to his class, his "last lecture". It's a tradition that if a professor knew he was going to die he gives a lecture as kind of a way for his class to remember him. He gave some of that very lecture on Oprah a couple of months ago, and I happened to catch it. It almost made me cry to see this man standing on stage delivering that speech. I can only imagine how immensely emotional it was for his students.

It takes an incredible amount of strength to actually look death in the eye not with vengeance or anger but acceptance.

My outlook on life has certainly changed but until something like that happens to you, there's a sense of "I can do it tomorrow". I've thought about a lot of things lately, especially with all of the killing and disease, and I wonder: should I be doing something? Taking risks? Changing my life plans? My answer is no. I already am living my dreams and I have a lot to be thankful for. I would much rather be happy in my day to day life than to try to fulfill some huge event hoping it will bring me instant happiness.

Randy Pausch will be missed.

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