Monday, July 28, 2008

The Last Lecture

My favorite parts of the Book of Mormon are the last few things a prophet writes before turning the plates over to someone else. These are brilliant men with a lifetime of experience, and I can imagine them sitting and writing for the last time and trying to convey the most valuable pieces of knowledge they've acquired in their lives. I always pay more attention to these words than any others.

On a similar note...

Randy Pausch is a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon. They run a lecture series entitled “The Last Lecture” where a professor imagines what he’d say if he only had one lecture left to give before he died. Randy Pausch was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer not long before giving this lecture. If you haven't listened to it, I highly recommend pulling it up on YouTube and sitting down and watching. He passed away last Friday.

This made me wonder what my last lecture would be. In the 26 1/2 years of my life, the one piece of advice that I would give everyone is this: Live in the moment!!

My favorite book of all time is The Alchemist. Not because the story is particularly good, but because of the message. So that I don't give away the ending, I'll just say that at the end you realize that life is not necessarily about some end goal, but about the journey you take to get there.

When I read this story, Rusty and I were newly married and living in Utah with plans to move to Hawaii at the end of the summer. It was a miserable few months in Utah. I had never wanted to live there, we didn't have any friends, the weather was awful, and I was anxious to get to Hawaii. Well, when we got to Hawaii I realized that life wasn't any better just because we were there. When I realized that, I decided that it was me that needed to change my attitude or I would never be happy and content.

I still get caught up with this, and I hear other people saying the same things..."I can't wait until Austin sleeps through the night." "It'll be great once Rusty starts making more money." "I can't wait until we're done with school...when the baby is born...when we can buy a house...when the kids are in school..." etc. etc. etc.

The fact is, there are always going to be a million reasons not to be happy if you don't really want to be. Instead of longing for another day, another state, another salary, look at what you have and where you're at and appreciate every moment of it! Just don't spend your entire life pining away for something else. (Unless you have a colicky baby, then pine all you want.)

So while I don't want this to turn into some crazy blogging tag, I think it'd be cool for you all to write your "last lecture" on your blog. Maybe you'll inspire someone!

And one last important note: No, I'm not dying.

6 comments:

Amy Rae said...

I didn't know that Randy passed away. What an amazing example he's been to so many. You've got me thinking about what lesson I want to leave behind....stay tuned :) Thanks for being such a good blogger- makes me happy to read your updates. Thought about you and Rust the other night when I was playing Wii Fit.

Patton Family said...

I'm glad to hear that your not dying!
but i love that you wrote this and that i happened to look at it at this particular time.
you would never believe it but i was just complaining about all those things less than 5 minutes ago on the telephone to my sister in law.
so i guess i need to shut up and enjoy because there are alot of people that have it worse than me!
thanks Brit
oh! i have 8 1/2 weeks left till baby boy, things are moving fast.

Andrea

Misty said...

Good post. and i'm glad you're not dying!

larenea said...

first of all, those circles make me dizzy.
ok, I've recovered now.
I agree with your last lecture. I've always wondered where the line is though between looking forward to things happening in the future like achieving a goal that you've worked on and living in the moment. maybe it's attitude.
I think we've been put here on earth to enjoy life and be happy and that should be one of our goals.
I'm sure I could think of something more profound to write, but I got to go get my girls from swimming.
oh -- do you want to hook up and go to that cool park this friday?

The Gollihurs said...

Amen.

Tilly said...

Nicely stated.

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