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I think about Randy Pausch a lot, specifically his last lecture. More specifically, his Eeyore, Tigger analysis.
Randy Pausch was a father of three boys who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a disease he fought time and again until the doctors found that there is nothing more they could do to keep him alive. He died at the young age of forty-seven, leaving behind a wife and three young sons.
Being cooped up in my home for the most part of the last year, and what is looking to be the better part of this year, has brought this lecture back to mind. Faced with the prospect of death in this ever raging pandemic, how do we intend to start living? This was a question I faced in 2017 when I was in hospital for a condition I did not know I had, a condition which also saw me near death. I made so many promises about how I would start to live if I ever got given the chance to get out of it. Living through a pandemic has made me consider this lecture more so now, and it has me questioning whether in a world that actually feels like an Eeyore, I can try to be a Tigger. Maybe not every day, because most days I’ll admit hope is a bit of a luxury to come by, when news of deaths and sadness fills our airwaves every day, finding the energy to be happy and have fun is a lot to ask or expect, much less hope for. But then I think about Professor Pausch and the fact that in the final days of his life, he chose to have as much fun as possible because the alternative is the inevitable. For him it was a question of what to do when the variable is known?
For some or most of us, that variable remains unknown, except that death will one day come for us all. Some may already know, because like Professor Pausch their variables are known, for others, I hope, it remains we will need to go through the course of life, we will hopefully live through to the other side of this pandemic. I wonder what Professor Pausch would want us to do right here, right now. How he would want us to live even with this dark cloud hanging over our heads, days spent indoors shrinking away from the world without human touch or contact. Happiness nowadays almost feels like a foreign concept, selfish even, in a world brimming with unhappy news, to be Tigger is a big ask, but I hope in referring back to his lecture from time to time, we can give it a go once a while.