Monday, July 28, 2008

The Path to the Left, My Hike With Randy Pausch

So, I started my day crying, having chanced upon a story on Good Morning America about Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who became famous after giving "The Last Lecture". I had seen the lecture a year ago, and like many I was floored by his simple, yet deep words of wisdom. Well, Randy died on friday, and this morning, they did a story on the professor, showing snippets from his last year of life.And he lived the hell out of it.

As I watched the piece this morning, I was particularly struck by something he said about not giving up. He said that brick walls are put in front of us to show us how badly we want something, the brick walls are there to stop people who don't want it badly enough. For some reason today, these words really resonated with me.

So, as I was out on my morning hike, I kept hearing this over and over. You see, I am not in the best shape. I had a couple of knee surgeries in the past year, and sort of let myself go. I was feeling down, and feeling like I would never be what I used to be, a fit athlete. I try to go out on this hike about once a week, and it is not the most difficult hike, but it has a few challenging hills, that's if I take the path to the right. But the path to the left is another story. It has a huge hill, and the reward is this amazing view of downtown Phoenix.

I hadn't taken the path to the left in a long time. You see, I was afraid of that hill. I was afraid first that I might not make it up the hill like I used to be able to. And second I was afraid that if I made it up the hill, I wouldn't be able to make it down.

You see, it wasn't until today that I realized that hill was my brick wall. I was making the choice not to go up the hill, i realized today that I didn't want it badly enough! What a shocking moment it was when I recognized this. I had let my fears dictate what I could and couldn't do.

So, this morning I took that path to the left. I got to the bottom of the big hill,which was about a mile in, and I have to admit, I was already a little tired. But, I just kept hearing Randy Pausch's voice challenging me to get over or through that brick wall any way I could. Did I want it bad enough? I kept asking myself that question. And today the answer was yes.

So, I made sure I had a good, fast song on my ipod, I put my head down and I began climbing. It's about 300 yards to the top, pretty much straight up. I just kept saying to myself, just take it one brick at a time. You can do this. Don't be afraid.
So, I wheezed my way up that hill, one step at a time, one rock at a time, and it wasn't pretty. I had to stop a few times to catch my breath, but I knew I couldn't quit.

It took me about ten minutes to get to the top of that hill, some of the longest minutes of my life. But man, was it worth it. I did it. I beat back my fears, at least for today. And that's what it's all about. When I reached the top of that hill, and got a glimpse of the site from on high, it couldn't have been more perfect. Yes, I could hardly breathe, and yes I wasn't glistening, I was sweating like some nfl football player, but man, I could hardly contain myself. I just felt really good.
This day belongs not only to Randy, but to me. He went up that hill with me today, and I couldn't have asked for a better hiking partner!

Sue, Tempe, AZ

1 comment:

The Hoyt's said...

Great story!! Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment.. I too have seen the last lecture.. Very inspiring..

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