The Last Lecture
By: Randy Pausch and Jeffery Zaslow
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand” were the words spoken by Randy Pausch, a man with a wife, three young children, and the job of his dreams. Randy had a terminal disease, he had at least ten tumors in his liver and three to six months left of good health. Faced with the realization, Randy could have done many things with his remaining time, but he wanted to spend majority of it with his family. He wanted to prepare and ease life for his wife, Jai, and his family after his passing, so he moved them to Virginia where they would be closer to Jai’s family. He wanted to teach his children right from wrong, what was important to him, and how to deal with challenges, for he would not have the chance to do those. Randy wanted “to cement” how people remembered him, and, to do so, he was going to lecture, his last lecture, a lecture that was for his kids, talking about his joys of life, memories, honesty, integrity, and generosity; he called it “ Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” with the hope of helping others fulfill theirs.
Randy, expecting to live a long life with his friends and family, fell short when he found out that he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He overcame the obstacle of not worrying about death and freighting, and he formatted his life. Once, he heard his diagnosis is that he had ten tumors, he to get everything ready and set for his family. As a man who had expected to leave this world under, 80 he accepted his illness and started spending his time with his family and those closest to him. He wanted his children to remember him so he spent his last months dedicated to them and to tapes, films, letters, and his lecture that would be memories for them. He is admirable for his love and passion for his family and friends. He did everything and anything for his family and he tried to help all of his friends and students accomplish their childhood dreams.
Jai (pronounced Jay), Randy’s wife, his kids, and his parents inspired Randy. When he was little, Randy’s mother and father were very important to him. They were strict and taught him right from wrong. His dad was very wise man and always had something smart to say, and Randy respected that and, in his later years, found himself quoting his fathers’ wise words daily.
His children, Chloe, Dylan, and Logan, inspired him to get the best treatments and to do whatever to save himself. He didn’t want them to grow up not knowing their father or grow up without having a father.
Jai inspired Randy never to give up. She left Randy when she was afraid to commit, and he let her go. She eventually came back to him and committed to marriage. He thought he had lost her, but, in the end, he had climbed over a wall and gotten past the hardship to get to what he wanted, her.
Randy figured out one thing that made him very unique was that he had accomplished all of his childhood dreams of:
Being in zero gravity
Playing in the NFL
Authoring an article in the World Book
Being Captain Kirk
Winning stuffed animals
Being a Disney Imagineer
Randy was able to accomplish almost all of his childhood dreams. He took his students and himself on a NASA tour and they were allowed to hang upside down in zero gravity. He never was able to reach his goal of playing in the NFL, though. However, he did get his article in the World Book, it is under virtual reality. He was also able to meet the actor of Captain Kirk at his school. His father also taught him how to become really good at all of the carnival games, and he said it feels great to be the guy at the amusement park with the biggest stuffed animal. So everytime he went to a park he had to win one. Lastly, he became a Disney Imagineer, and worked this job for 4 years, he created part one of their Aladdin themed rides.
“Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people,” said Paush whenever he came upon a challenge he said this. There was nothing he couldn’t overcome; he would find a loophole, a way, to get over the wall. Even if someone had to pick him up and throw him over it, Randy got over it. The fact that Randy never gave up even when facing a terminal disease impacted me most about his personality and his life. It motivated me to try my hardest and not to stop until I reach my dreams.