After a lot of thought and consideration -- I have decided to retire One Foot in Reality and leave it as an Archive. I will still monitor it to keep the trolls at bay, but will not be posting here any longer.

If you are looking for my new posts, please go to www.haroldlshaw.com .

Thank you for all they years of following One Foot In Reality.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Last Lecture and Thank You

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: September 12, 2012 and re-posted on March 29, 2016 as my annual tribute to the memory of Dr. Randy Pausch.

At least once a year since 2008, I have watched the below video and while I don't always write about it, I am today.

While going through my old blog posts I felt the need to watch it again – no I am in perfect health, I just felt it was time to watch it again.

Although the video is a little long, it is worth the time to watch it. If you watch it closely it will make you think and sometime in the course of that thinking you might become uncomfortable, but it will make you think.

If you do watch it, what I am writing below will make sense.

Childhood Dreams

Childhood dreams that I can remember:

1. Be an astronaut: Never accomplished. I have 20/350 and 20/400 vision, so flying was out of the question, even as a crew member, but I lived this dream vicariously through Bruce Melnick, a Coast Guard aviator that I was stationed with in the 70's. He was selected as an Astronaut and I followed his exploits during the Endeavor and Discovery missions. Mr. Melnick might not remember that nerdy YN3 from AIRSTA Cape Cod, but I still lived one of my dreams through him.

2. Be a knight in shining armor. Since reading and watching King Arthur, Robin Hood and Ivanhoe, when I was a kid, I always wanted to be a hero. I may never be a the Knight in Shining Armor or what is considered a true hero, but thanks to books or computer software, I can rescue princess, kill evil dragons, and do good deeds.

In the real world, I simply try to do good when I can.

3. Be a power forward for the Boston Celtics. The "impossible dream" at 5'7", (and very little talent) -- but basketball taught me perseverance, toughness, teamwork and the willingness to dive in, when I probably should have stayed outside where it is safer, instead of going in amongst the "trees".

4. Date Ms. America. Beautiful women have captivated men throughout time and I am no different... however, as I get older my definition of beauty has evolved. The power of a beautiful woman while I still stop and gawk, I don't have that gee I would love to be with that person, just based on their looks. 

There is more to a person than simply how they look and as I get older, that person dancing on the inside, is more appealing to me than the facade of beauty queens of the world. A woman drenched in sweat from working in the garden or after a good run, with a few stripes of mud on the cheek and hair all tangled, is a lot sexier than someone preening in a bar thinking they are all that. 

Yeah, my idea of beauty has definitely changed.

5. Become a Sailor. I was always eavesdropping on my grandfather and his buddies when they were in their "cups" and began to tell their "sea" stories. Then I would raid my grandfather and uncle's "sea chests" and taking out their old Navy uniforms to wear, even though, I couldn't sit down when they caught up with me. Although I didn't go in the Navy, I did go in the U.S. Coast Guard and retired from there, so I became a "real" sailor.

6. Win the Boston Marathon: I think that a lot of kids growing up in New England had this dream. I wanted run and win the Boston Marathon after listening to George Hale (you have to be from Maine) talk about this race during the evening news back in the 60’s. I have considered myself a runner for over 40 years, even though at times, I haven’t always been consistent about it or that darn injury bug gets me. Running has been and will be an important part of my life.

I still have not run, much less won the Boston Marathon. 

Thank you's

My Wife. She believes in my dreams as crazy as some have been. We work as a partners, teammates and trust one another, which is what I believe a marriage should be. I love you Mary.

My Mom. She believed in me when even I didn’t. I miss her terribly and wish that we could have some of those conversations again and that I could tell her that I am following my dreams again.

My Father. We have both grown up a lot over the years and I am proud to call him my friend – as well as my father. We haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, but he has always had my back and has defended and supported me, even when he didn’t agree with my choices. He taught me the value of both working hard and hard work (they are different).

One thing that he taught me is that just because you have a piece of paper or a sheepskin, doesn’t always mean you are smart, educated or right. It just means that you may have had the money and the timing was right, that others were not so fortunate to have had.

Mr. Kenneth Smith. My high school cross-country coach, who scared the you know what out me when I first met him, but I do not believe that I have met too many finer gentlemen in my life. The mentor to a scared little boy who didn’t have a clue about so many things. You are the one who introduced me to my lifelong addiction/affliction – running.

Captain Timothy McKinna, USCG(Ret). One of my mentors in the Coast Guard and another gentleman that I will never forget the lessons that he taught me and someone who was always willing to listen, when I needed to talk. Yes he was a runner also.

Mike B – From creating fairy seats for my daughters to fixing old Jeeps, you have been my friend and someone I can call if I need anything. I value our friendship more than you will ever know.

There have been so many others that I could make this a forever post, but as Dr. Pausch said we do not go through life alone and I think that we have to learn to appreciate what others do for us, before we can learn to say thank you. Even though it should be the other way around.

The reality is that

“The Last Lecture” affected me profoundly the first time that I saw it, and continues to every time I watch it. It helps to ground me, remind me to do better than I think I can and gives me confidence that I can still chase my dreams.

I think that sometimes we get so caught up in things being about me, me, me; that we forget to take time out to look around us, appreciate what we do have – spiritually, materially and give credit for a great deal of our successes on those who helped us succeed – we didn’t do it alone.

Remember – just because you have others who help you, does not mean that you do not have to do the work. If you don’t or are unwilling to do the work – a dream just becomes a fantasy that will never become a reality.

Those brick walls only stop those who do not want it bad enough.

What do you think?
Is there a dream that you have, that a brick wall is in your way?
What are you going to do about it?

Live your life well, do the right things for the right reasons, remember those childhood dreams and to say thank you.

Thank you everyone, who took the time to read this post. And to the memory of Dr. Randy Pausch, who I never knew, but who’s words have affected me so much. Thank you.

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