books, career, childhood, dreams, Randy Pausch, technology, travel

Randy Pausch

A few months ago, I wrote a post about Randy Pausch after seeing The Last Lecture on YouTube. I followed his blog, read his book, and thought a lot about my childhood dreams. At 47, Randy passed away on Friday leaving us inspired to have as much courage to live our dreams as he did living his. Even as he was dying from pancreatic cancer, he was still having a blast, still living out dreams. 


As adults we sometimes forget about those dreams we has as children. We become too realistic, too practical. We box up our dreams, tape that box shut, and shelve it under the title “nostalgia”. We can lose sight of ourselves, living out lives that we never intended to have. Who we really are is housed in that little box, and it’s worth re-opening. 

One New Year’s Eve, I made a little list of the dreams I had for myself. I’ve lost track of the paper in all of my moves but I remember some of the dreams I had. Of the 7 I can remember, I’ve done 3, and I’m working on a 4th:

To travel to a foreign country

To go on an archeological dig
To be fluent in a second language   
To make an artistic contribution to a film
To go on a safari in Africa
To publish a book of my own writing
To run a marathon

A lot left to do, and I need some new dreams, too. It’s easy to let a list like this fall by the wayside because we’re too busy, too consumed with being an adult to remember how to dream like a kid. The greatest thing that Randy Pausch taught me is that it’s possible to do both at the same time. He had a career, a family, and many demands on his time. And he still made it a focus of his life to live those childhood dreams with equal parts of gusto and grace. He knew what he wanted and he went after it. 

For sure, his life was cut short. With his imagination and talents, he would have been able to usher in more sweeping advances in our technological world. He still had so much to teach us. The best way to honor him and the incredible life he lived is take that box of dreams down from the shelf, dust it off, and rediscover ourselves. At the very least, it’s worth the trip down memory lane, and we may just find a new road take.