Randy Pausch is the Carnegie-Mellon professor whose "Last Lecture" got widespread media coverage last fall. (See Wikipedia for links to many articles, including the Last Lecture.) Last Friday (2/15/08) was a big day for him. From his Update page:
As I've said several times on my CaringBridge site, I like a lot about Randy's attitude: "I'm going to keep having fun every day I have left, no matter how many or how few of them I get." In the picture at left he's holding the 2/15/08 newspaper, as if he were a ransom hostage proving the date. :)
"Today is a pretty important day. It was August 15th, 2007, when I was told I likely had three to six months of good health left."
Actually, truth be told, I don't have the opinion that everyone should keep having fun every day they have left - my stand is that people (that's you) be fully alive, whatever form that takes for them. (My sister Suede sings a wonderful song about this, Roxanna Ward's "Remember Who You Are.") And for this Randy Pausch guy, who he is is Fun. In the Last Lecture, he said "I don't know how not to have fun. I mean, look at me - I'm dying and I'm still having fun." It's easy to see why he's been a gifted coach for Disney's Imagineering people.
Neither he nor I knew where we'd actually be at our "likely" drop dead date. We just did everything in our power, and meanwhile we just lived the hell out of every day.
When you're told you likely have six months to live, and that day comes, will you still be absolutely being who you are, every day? I request that you do.
p.s. You'll know you've really gotten the unbearable lightness of it all, when you can look at Randy's situation and grinningly wonder if it's all an elaborate ruse to get early retirement and get away with it. :)