“It’s not how hard you hit. It’s how hard you get hit… and keep moving forward.”
– Randy Pausch
Earlier this week I finished reading Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture.” I read it in hopes that I would gain some insight about my own life. I was searching for advice from a man with limited time; a man whose wisdom unveiled how to live a more fruitful life. Not only did this memoir help me self-reflect on who I am as a person, but it also helped me make an important decision. It was a truly inspiring read and I highly recommend it.
I would like to share some of Pausch’s wisdom and illustrate how it impacted me. But first, I feel that a little background on me and my life is necessary.
At a young age my mother instilled me with a passion for reading and a thirst for knowledge that has never left me. My bedtime used to consist of being read a book of my choosing followed by my own storytelling. Ma would cuddle next to me in bed while I told her the elaborate fables that I had fabricated. Oftentimes, my storytelling would lull her to sleep, but leave me wired with excitement. I have never lost that passion for storytelling or my creative imagination. Yet, despite the happiness it brought me, I chose a different career path— a field in medicine.
Medicine seemed like a practical career choice for me. I was fascinated by the body and its mechanisms and managed to do well in most of my courses. Furthermore, shadowing a physician for nearly 3 years left no doubt in my mind that this was the career for me. However, God had different plans for me. My MCAT score was not high enough, regardless of the endless hours I devoted to studying and the countless practice exams I took. When I finally discovered that medical school wasn’t going to happen a part of me sighed with relief. The stress, time, and energy were taxing on me and I knew that was only a fraction of what medical school would require.
Immediately, my mind drifted back to my childhood dream of being a writer and an editor in a publishing company. Unfortunately, I convinced myself that I could not let all of my medical knowledge go to waste so I decided to further pursue a career in the health industry with medical records. It was absolute misery! I hated how mundane and impersonal it felt. The social butterfly in me was trapped within a globe, fluttering around aimlessly searching for an escape.
Pausch helped with that escape. He helped me realize that happiness is more important that security. Allow me to elaborate, medical school and becoming a doctor was a secure career choice with a good job outlook and salary. It was a safe bet. However, nothing in this life is guaranteed, nor is anything secure! It took me a while to learn that message. I also discovered how fearful I was of not having the grander material things in life. I never considered myself to be materialistic, but Pausch made me realize that everyone has that vice with one thing or another. He helped instill me with the message that my happiness outweighs materialistic things. In his book, he wrote, “I want you to become what you want to become.” Well, I want to become an author and an editor in a publishing firm, damn it! Thus, I have decided to explore the unknown. I am excited about the possibilities and look forward to the adventures that await me.
My take-home message is this: dreams and talents exist for a reason. God gifted them to us for a purpose! We have but one life to live, so let us make sure it is filled with joy and laughter.
Remember, “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less time than you think.” -Randy Pausch