The Art of Beating the Grim Reaper
Follow Randy Pausch's Example

When I was younger...much younger, I loved Albrecht Dürer's engraving, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  Any student, that had me as their art history professor knew my respect for Dürer. 


The Four Horsemen

Having said that, a couple of decades have come and gone, and I am getting older.  In addition, my readers are getting younger.  Therefore, I picked a picture that is a more age appropriate one of the Four Horsemen, which represented Conquest, War, Famine, and Death on their ride through our lives.


Death, often called the Grim Reaper, is on the right of the picture.

Death has had various names over the millennia: Angel of Death, the Slayer, and the Hooded One.  However, in the mid-19th century, the term, Grim Reaper, became operative.  The Grim Reaper gallops through the world like a farmer harvesting not grain but people with his scythe. 

As we get older, the Grim Reaper lurks around us more and more.  We fear that he will ride up to us all too soon.  We want to live longer lives.  However, Randy Pausch said, while dying of pancreatic cancer, something that we all need to heed. 

We don't beat the Grim Reaper by living longer, we beat the Reaper by living well and living fully, for the Reaper will come for all of us. The question is what do we do between the time we are born and the time he shows up. It's too late to do all the things that you're gonna kinda get around to.

Now, to be absolutely honest with you, unless you have danced with death, you won't fully understand what Pausch meant.  Hey, if I hadn't done the dance, I wouldn't have gotten it.  However, I did the dance twice, and I get it.  Once I understood it, it was an amazingly transformative event in my life.  I am 73 years old, and I am more alive today than back in the 60s, when I thought that I was active.

Granted, we are not immortals.  Sooner or later, death will lead us in its dance.  However, we need to get involved in life now, not tomorrow, but now.  It will change your life.  The following is a list of other dancers, in addition to Randy Pausch, who danced and got the message: John Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Miguel Cervantes, Kurt Vonnegut, Steve Jobs, Alan Seeger, John Donne, Oliver Sacks, Saul Alinsky, Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, Alexander the Great, Christopher Reeve, Professor Keating, William Forrester, Ebenezer Scrooge, Billy Pilgrim, and Don Quixote. 

They all got the message, and it invigorated them.  I am being as honest as I can.  Doing the dance will change you for the positive.  It has for me.

This is a link to Randy Pausch's Last Lecture.

Darkest Before Dawn

Darkest Before Dawn

Visit the Darkest Before Dawn page to read more about this topic.

The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

Visit the The Last Lecture page to read more about this topic.

Dancing with Death

Dancing with Death

Visit the Dancing with Death page to read more about this topic.

Don Quixote

"Don Quixote"

Visit the "Don Quixote" page to read more about this topic.

An old man and his grandson

An Old Man and His Grandson

Visit The Mentors and Me page to read more about this topic.

Best of Times

Best and Worst of Times

Visit the Best and Worst of Times page to read more about this topic.