As I mentioned in my last post, I’m trying to make more time for reading. Luckily for all of you, I didn’t start this last month. Had I started then, you all would be seeing a rather lengthy post on the Harry Potter series, which I finished re-reading in its entirety once it became available on the Kindle. Don’t worry though, fellow HP fans. The likelihood that I re-read those another time is pretty high which would definitely result in at least a couple of posts on different themes.
This post is about The Last Lecture. I bought this book for my mom a while ago; she likes stories that you can learn a lesson from or that inspire in some way, so this was something I thought was right up her alley. She really enjoyed the book and recommended it, so I decided to borrow it from her while we were home in Tucson earlier this month.
This book isn’t complicated. What I thought made it special was the simplicity in its message. This book was written by Randy Pausch. He was a healthy man in his 40s, married to a wonderful woman and father to three kids when he found out he had pancreatic cancer and roughly three to six months to live. Sounds like a downer, right? That’s where this book surprised me. I had expected it to be deep and a tear-jerker, but I was taken aback at how optimistic this man was despite his condition. Yes, I did cry a few times while reading, but I was struck more by his commitment to leave something for his family, especially for his kids, to remember him by. As he puts it in one chapter, he had a Tigger mentality (as opposed to Eeyore) and was dedicated to living life that way.
As I read his book during my work trip to California last week, I couldn’t help but think about an interview Ann Curry did with Hoda Kotb, a breast cancer survivor. Towards the end of the interview, Ann Curry said that talking with cancer survivors were her favorite types of interviews. Why? Because, as she put it, they know how to live life. They have clarity. This definitely applied to Randy Pausch and is what I’m taking from this book. While his life ended painfully early, he was grateful for the time he had to thank all the people who had made an impact on him and to leave loving videos and notes to his children. Most people don’t know when there time on earth will end and they will be called to live with our Father in Heaven. As cheesy as it sounds, I was reminded by this book how important it is to live each moment fully, to always strive for more from yourself and to love those around you. I sure hope I can better embrace each day I’m given with joy the same way Randy spent his last few months.
If you’ve read the book, I encourage you to watch his actual lecture online here.