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Posts Tagged ‘Life Lessons’

A classic Yamaha ad said it all in 1978

Do you remember when the last time you ask yourself… “What was I thinking…?”

I’m sure everyone reading this post right now will immediately jump to a time in their life or place where they can remember an incident created by some questionable judgment.

I can remember an instance on my trusty Yamaha YZ400 that I often referred to as “Ol Yeller” – that bike really helped me perfect the art of sliding on gravel after failing to negotiate a bend in the road at high speed.  At the time I was thinking in slow motion how this isn’t so bad… I’ll just slide toward the right into that nice green pasture.  No fence, no worries.  Just then the motorcycle (which was out in front of me) flipped up in the air and changed directions mid-stream while I dropped several feet into a creek bed with a thud.   I remember staring up at the blue sky and hearing the quiet sounds of nature — birds chirping and the sounds of a bubbling brook that was shortly followed with a wet sensation in my pants.  It wasn’t what you think!

The "'Ol Yeller" - 1978 Yamaha YZ400

The world came to a standstill and other than suffering from a severely bruised ego I only noticed a little trouble breathing.  I sat up (helped by a fair amount of adrenalin) in time for my buddy to arrive and ask “Dude, what were you thinking?”  I should have ask myself that question just before gunning the YZ throttle and I did ask it a number of times daily when later I learned and suffered through the recovery of a couple cracked ribs.

I picked myself up and sloshed out of the ice cold creek (remember that wet sensation?), checked that everything seemed to be in place, located the Yamaha and rode with a bent handlebar and warped front wheel back to Lee’s Camp on the OR coast range where we started the day.   It was a painful ride and ended an otherwise rather good riding day.  It’s provided some good camp fire stories over the years.

Had the anti-OHV group, Wildlands CPR been in the area I’m sure they would have used my incident  as a poster-child example for off-road harassing of wildlife and destroying vegetation.

How about you?  Do you have a “What was I thinking” experience?

Photo courtesy of Yamaha.

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This past weekend I was in a Seattle area hospital concerned about a family member who is having “chest” pains.  Everything turn out good. 

However, while there I passed the time reading the local paper and about the sad passing of Dr. Randy Pausch at the young age of 47. 

I previously posted about how I was first introduced to this Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist whose “last lecture” about facing terminal cancer became an Internet sensation and a best-selling book.  His inspirational lectures made him a household name in the US.

Randy touched many and provided direction in so many people’s life.  Time is all we have and he evangelized that we need to live in the present and adapt more qualities towards others and family such as generosity and unselfishness.  Although somewhat humorous, clearly this bloggers post didn’t get the correct message!!

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences in California announced the creation of the Dr. Randy Pausch Scholarship Fund for university students who pursue careers in game design, development and production.

His quote will stick with me:

 “Play more, to have more fun.”

Thank you Randy for being the kind of dad and the kind of person we all want to be.  For those of us who knew you only through the blog media, I’ll try to give your message some resonance, ringing on…and on…

An extraordinary man who will be sadly missed.

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FatboyI was on a Harley road trip in late September staying at a motel in Grants Pass, OR. You know the type. A double-decker ‘70’s vintage with highly “mobile” furniture which often makes it way outside during the evening to enjoy group refreshments while overlooking the chrome on the HOG.

I was getting dressed the next morning, drinking my coffee and thinking about the days ride with the TV running in the background. Some how I landed on ABC’s Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer. I’m not a morning TV person, because who needs to start their day with news of the world’s crisis?!

Anyway they had a guest speaker, Randy Pausch, a 46-year-old Carnegie Mellon computer science professor, talking about an inspirational talk he had recently given. I wasn’t sure if this was “news” worthy, but started watching several snippets of his Childhood Dreams, lecture. It got my attention! So much so that I wrote his name on my motel VISA slip, placed it in my leather jacket and vowed to revisit and do a blog post. Sort of a pay-it-forward for others if you will.Randy Pausch

The back story is that in September 2006, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and told he only had months to live. Yet here he is out inspiring others with a lecture on living life to the fullest. I’m not sure about you, but if I had a “life” count-down meter running I’m fairly certain it wouldn’t be on the lecture circuit. Maybe a very long cross-country ride. Randy is a father of three and talks about his battle with pancreatic cancer and the grim reality of his diagnosis. He doesn’t want it or talk about self-pity; rather he talks about his childhood dreams.

“You know, life is a gift,” he told Diane Sawyer. “Again, it sounds trite, but if you wait long enough, other people will show you their good side. If there’s anything I’ve [learned] that is absolutely true. Sometimes it takes a lot longer than you might like. But the onus is on you to keep the hope and keep waiting.”

You can read more about the steps he has endured, but after a whirlwind of chemo treatment and surgery there was remission. But then in August 2007, he learned that the cancer had returned to his liver and spleen, which is a death sentence. At that time, the doctors gave him an estimate of having 3-6 months of healthy living left. Earlier this month (October 1st), he learned that the first round of palliative chemotherapy was working, and that he would likely be on the “more like the 6 than like the 3 in that estimate.”

You can watch his lecture where he shares the lessons learned that helped him turn his childhood dreams into reality on the Carnegie Mellon site.

His mantra “you can’t control the cards you’re dealt, just how you play the hand” is an inspiration for all of us riders. I don’t know if Randy owns a Harley, or ever wanted to ride one, but I wish only the best for him and his family.

His last words in his last lecture are simple: “This was for my kids.”

Thank you for the reality check and calibration about how we should be spending more of our time.

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