The Last Lecture

If there is one book you shouldn’t read in an airport, an airport lounge, or on an airplane, it’s “The Last Lecture,” by Randy Pausch.

I’m sure you’ve all see the lecture by now….and if not, please check it out, with tissues and not where anyone can witness you having some sort of meltdown, like I did.

So.  When you watch it, you’ll see why I was all emotional. 

The book is not the same as the speech.  It’s alright in comparison to the actual speech.  The writing is decent and if Randy were to go on living, I’m sure he’d have never written a book.  So it’s not the book that actually gets you, it’s the dying part that just kills me, and I’m sure others. 

Not to get all depressing on you today…(because I’m actually having a great day but this was on my topics of things to write about this week…) …here are a few thoughts on the book.

Sometimes I wonder if people would rather know they’re going to die so they can prepare themselves and the people they love.  Or, would you like to have no idea so that you live each day to the best of your ability?

But would you, really?  Would you really do the things you always put off for another day?  I doubt it.  We’re all like that.  It’s not just laziness, it’s the little thought in the back of your head that silently whispers, “Don’t think about it.  You’re never going to die.  Ever.  Why worry? You’ll always have tomorrow…”

Reading Randy’s story was saddest because in knowing he had less than a season left of his life, he needed to write down and videotape and say every last thing he had in him before there would be no more words.  You could feel his sense of urgency in his storytelling.  You could hear the desperation in his voice as he rushed to leave behind a legacy for his children.  You could feel the heartache and sadness as you read about him preparing to leave behind the love of his life.  But all the while, you could picture him in his last moments, smiling and optimistic, refusing to accept defeat to his awful and aggressive disease.

And I think that is admirable.  And sad.  And so heart breaking that it left me in sobs and streaming with tears all over Europe on Sunday. 

So.  Everyone has an internal last lecture they’d give as a lessons learned and way to make leaving ok with the world.  Everyone knows the last letter they’d write and last hug they’d give. 

I think a lot about things I should tell people that go unsaid.  I think more about things I should accomplish that I have pushed to the side.  I think about the regrets I have in 31 years…all regrets about what I haven’t done yet, not so much about what I have, as regretting choices in life is not a way of life I subscribe to.  I think about how I can love more and be more and give more but how life will always get in the way if you let it.  And I suppose sitting down now, while we’re all healthy and happy and going about our day to days isn’t the best time to sit down and bang out a “Last Lecture.”  Seems a bit too morbid and dark and sad. 

But, maybe we should all give one “last” every day, just in case.  An extra kiss or smile or letter or email or phone call or declaration of love never made the world a worse place to live in.