Learning from Randy

As therapeutic as it was to fire off a quick bullet-point list yesterday, I’m not very comfortable with it, so this is my version of clearing the front page.

• I finished The Last Lecture last night and it was very moving. I was also sad to see (from Wikipedia) that Randy Pausch died from cancer in July 2008. But I was also impressed with the Wikipedia entry here.

• Since Randy got such a kick out of writing a World Book entry on virtual reality, I know he would have got a huge kick from the Wikipedia one.

• I also watched a YouTube of his charge to the students of 2008 at Carnegie Mellon here.

• Going back to yesterday’s entry, I realised that hate is far too raw and simple an emotion for what I was trying to say. Disappointment, dejection, anger, frustration and a whole lot more maybe. Confusion, disbelief, irritation. I guess I could go on. But what is comforting about the Zuma affair is knowing that there are people of integrity such as Willie Hofmeyr (deputy director of public prosecutions) who are considering the intricacies of this decision and are absolutely trying to do the right thing. It’s easy to get caught up in the media hype around Zuma and start hating him. But this is just another step in a long process, which is a lot more complicated than good vs evil.

• After yesterday’s rant, I also read some good news (and I do read the Good News emails that get sent out on SA as well) about how the Justice Department have added on a whole section to the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court to deal with Family Law, including divorce, domestic violence and related issues.

• Another piece of good news is that (Cape Judge President) John Hlophe lost his appeal 9-0 in the Appeal Court yesterday. Of course there will be another appeal to the Constitutional Court but for now I think that restores some faith in the judiciary.

• I’m also getting more distance on the swearing incident that happened on the weekend. I’ll maybe pick it up here at a later stage, but it’s made me stop and consider my own actions as well. It’s easy to hurt others but it’s harder to pick up the pieces afterwards. It’s also helpful to remember that damage and repair (or hurt and reparation) are an integral part of relationships.

• Going back to Randy Pausch’s message, I think some of it might have got lost amidst all the media hype. Pausch himself says he’s a great fan of clichés but I think there came a point when, as he himself put it, he became St Randy of Pittsburgh spouting heartfelt wisdom to the masses. It is an inspirational message though and three things that I’ve taken from the book are simple points that I’ve heard many times before. Follow your passion and find a way to make it work. It’s the relationships that matter (in even the most technical of areas). Take things one step (one day, one task) at a time.


7 Responses to Learning from Randy

  1. Courtney says:

    Taking things one day at a time is the HARDEST lesson, but one I am really trying to master. We (my husband and I, our community, my country) feel on such shaky ground, like things could fall apart at any moment, but I am trying only to control the things I can, and not worry about those I can’t. Much easier said than done, though…

  2. litlove says:

    I just read both your posts, and it strikes me that there’s a subtext still lurking here that hasn’t quite been plundered by you. Gosh, that’s really pushy of me – I hope it’s forgiveable, but I can just feel something unresolved still in this remake of your previous bullet points. What instinctually I feel I want to say is: it’s fine to be upset. You love your country, but you’re upset at what goes on in it. You love your mother, but she upsets you in her behaviour at times. Have the upset – it’s yours, all yours, and given that you’re not decanting it onto anyone else, it’s fine. You can even admire it. I’ll bet Randy Pausch was pretty upset about a lot of things but writing allows you to keep them all hidden if you choose, or he may have been someone who managed a huge act of reconciliation with life as he faced death. I haven’t read the book, but that may be what it’s about. Anyway, I’m wittering now, but I suppose I’m saying you don’t always have to tidy it up and make it all look nice. Your blogging friends love and accept you just as you are.

  3. Pete says:

    Courtney – You’re so right. Staying in the moment and doing things a step at a time is the hardest thing. I’m going to keep trying though.

    Litlove – I think you’re right about the subtext and it’s helped me to write these posts, as raw and awkward as they appear to me. I’ve also been suprised at how much this swearing incident affected me. I think it just reactivated so many old issues, the ones around not being allowed to be angry, about not being taken seriously, about being used as a scapegoat for other unspoken family issues. It’s so easy to internalise that parental voice (even at 38) and believe that fundamentally I’m not worth taking seriously. But then I realise that that’s ridiculous and that of course I’m worth taking seriously. I think this has also been a much-needed shove towards getting my own place again. It’s so convenient on many levels to stay here but I’d just rather not. P and I also want to live together so this is excellent motivation to get moving in that regard. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I really appreciate it.

  4. doctordi says:

    Yeah, you can really read the tension in your typing, Pete!!! I’m a big believer in giving yourself permission to feel things and react to them – I think people get into most trouble when everything is wax-coated (SMILE!) and suppressed. Might be time to move out, mate, for many more reasons than one. And that’s exciting!

  5. Emily says:

    just catching up. sorry you’ve been dealing with such health issues with your mother 😦

  6. couchtrip says:

    Di – Oh me too. I’m not good on the wax-coated smiles, perhaps because my dazzling smile is not always so dazzling. But I’m sometimes prone to getting into a funk (would be one way of putting it) and the combination of family health dramas and family conflict is just the thing to send me into funk-mode. I’m finding that daily journalling is a good way to write myself out of it (together with some mild exercise and whatever just feels like it could help). Still hoping for the move, and I’ve taken the first serious steps in that direction.

    Emily – Thanks. I’m tempted to make light of it with a flippant comment but I’m just happy that she’s apparently on the mend.

  7. Emily Barton says:

    I needed right now to be reminded of those last three things in your last bullet point.

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