Brick Walls (Childhood Dreams, Pt 2)

Oh my … I never expected the responses and hits that my “Childhood Dreams” post about Ran.dy Pa.usch’s “Last Lecture” would stir. As of today, that post alone has had just under 100 hits. Next to my “Year of the Rat” post, that’s the most viewed entry I’ve had.

While I’m honestly not surprised that it’s been viewed that many times (after all, Ran.dy Pa.usch’s lecture is incredible … even if the one I posted was the shortened 10-minute version of the original lecture); I am surprised by one particular email/comment I got. (Click here to see the actual comment.)

Okay, so I have to admit that I originally thought someone was spamming me or pulling my leg. So I took my time in responding. And I probably wouldn’t have responded until I decided to do a little Google PI (as inMagnum PI… yeah, I know; stale reference) in which I found out that this particular person actually did work for one of the national TV networks.

So I responded back (the minute I found out that this wasn’t spam) telling her that, yes I was interested … but I guess I just didn’t know how my blog related to Ran.dy Pa.usch’s lecture, as my blog was primarily about my struggles through infertility. But … just as soon as I sent out the email, I received this response back:

Hi Emily,

Next Wednesday night, ABC is airing a one-hour Diane Sawyer special on Professor Pausch. We noticed that his lecture was inspirational to so many people and incidentally the effects of his words are visible all over the internet. Though your blog is about a completely different subject, there are a variety of bloggers and “vloggers” talking about Ran.dy Pa.usch’s lecture.

Initially I was hoping you could share your thoughts about Randy’s lecture on camera but plans have changed a bit here and we will not be doing anymore on-camera interviews. If you’re interested however, I invite you to create a sort of video blog in which you talk about the lecture and whether or not it has affected you in any way. Of course I understand if this is impossible but I thought I would throw the option out there. There’s always the possibility we would include a short clip in the special.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Best regards,

Aw shucks … I guess I missed my 15 minutes of fame. And while I can all hear you saying … “You should do a vlog! You should do a vlog!” To those of you that have met me IRL, I am not exactly the best person in front of a video camera … even if it is a clip of me just talking randomly into my iBook cam. For Pete’s sake … I babble enough when I write. What part of filming me babbling out loud makes for good video?! Uh … yeah. So no.

But that was just one reason why I was hesitant to do this. The other reason is that I confess that until today, I hadn’t even watched the whole 75 minute lecture (that’s still available here on, by the way). And after watching it today, I can tell you without a doubt that this lecture is In.Cred.Ible. I just found so much more inspiration in the original lecture that wasn’t even captured in the 10-minute Op.rah version.

And because work has been laying heavily on my mind lately, there were a lot of things I took out of this lecture that so relates to the whole work redesign thingy. Now … rather than go into great detail as to how it personally affects me and work (because somehow, I’m thinking it’s not such a good idea to do that here), these are the biggest nuggets I pulled out of this lecture:

  • Bosses: Respect authority while questioning it.
  • Have something to bring to the table; that way you’re always welcomed.
  • Be good at something; it makes you valuable.
  • Get the fundamentals down; otherwise the fancy stuff ain’t gonna work.
  • Don’t complain; just work harder.
  • Get a feedback loop on you and listen to it. The hardest part is not the criticism, it’s actually listening to it.
  • Apologize when you screw up. When you screw up and no one says anything to you any more, this means that they’ve given up on you.
  • Focus on others and not yourself.
  • Loyalty is a two-way street.
  • In order to get people to help you, you should always tell the truth, be earnest and show gratitude to those who help you.
  • Find the best in everybody; no mater how long you have to wait for them to show it. You might have to have to wait a long time … sometimes years … but people will eventually show you their good side.
  • You can’t get there (achieving your dream) alone, believe in karma. When you do the right thing, good stuff has a way of happening.
  • Sometimes things are just what they are. These are the cards that are dealt; we just got to know how to play the hand.
  • Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.
  • Never lose the child-like wonder; it’s just too important. It’s what drives us.

Yes … and this isn’t even all of those nuggets Ran.dy Pa.usch threw out there. There was so much more. But since the primary focus of this blog is about infertility, I do want to bring up that many of what he says can certainly apply to the struggles we face with infertility.

Okay, so the whole “Don’t complain; just work harder” and “Focus on others and not yourself” seems like a crock when we all know how much we’ve worked at and have thought of others while still trying to achieve our goal of producing our biological child. But there are other nuggets that do apply. Take for instance the whole “Get the fundamentals down; otherwise the fancy stuff ain’t gonna work.” Hello?! Think of the fancy stuff as IVF and IUI. H*ll yeah, you’ve gotta know what the basics are in order to find the “optimum conditions” to get knocked up.

Throughout the lecture, there was this analogy of a “bric.k wa.ll” that Professor Pausch kept referring back to. He verbalized that bric.k wa.lls are there for a reason. And that reason is to let us prove how badly we want to achieve our dreams. They’re also there to stop those who don’t want things badly enough; these are the people that the bric.k wa.ll is trying to keep out. The bric.k wa.ll lets us show how dedicated we are to our dreams.

The “Bric.k Wa.ll” analogy is the one thing in particular that I feel can best relate to and impact those struggling with infertility. Nothing like coming up against a bric.k wa.ll when one finds out that they’re having difficulty trying to conceive a baby. Nothing like trying to overcome any obstacle to to try to achieve that dream. Nothing like showing dedication to this dream by subjecting ourselves to many blood draws and needle sticks and test after test just to get a positive pregnancy test. Nothing like doling out boocoo bucks in order to pay for all these treatments; many of whom don’t even have a health insurance plan that will pay for it. And that’s just the aspect of trying to get pregnant.

Then there’s the other aspect of adoption. Again, nothing like climbing over that bric.k wa.ll by subjecting ourselves to home studies in order to determine if we’re worthy to adopt a child. Nothing like coming upon that bric.k wa.ll by putting ourselves out there to potential birth mothers or countries, as if to advertise ourselves like a singles ad:

Mid 30’s couple seeks an open relationship with a birth mother who is willing to let couple raise her baby as their own.”

Or better yet, a want ad:

“Happily married couple looking for a country that is willing to provide a child to raise in the USA (infant preferred, but other situations negotiable).”

And of course, nothing else says dedication by coming up with creative ways to finance the adoption and then place the money up front, trusting that things will work out.

There is currently a movie out right now called Run Fatboy Run starring Simon Pegg (of “Shaun of the Dead” fame). In the movie there is another analogy of the “Bric.k Wa.ll.” It refers to the point during a marathon when a runner figuratively comes up against the a bric.k wa.ll. It’s the point when the runner is both physically and mentally exhausted. When the way a shoe is tied or the way the shorts rub up against the skin is shear agony. Where every forward step taken feels like a million tiny scalpels are tearing you to shreds. It’s at that time the runner has to decide if he or she is mentally capable of forging through the bric.k wa.ll … or too weak to continue forward.

When it comes to that childhood dream I mentioned in my previous post … you know, the one about being able to nurture my child and to encourage him/her to dream big … I am currently facing that “Bric.k Wa.ll.” I have gone through the medical aspect of infertility; the work-up, the almost-daily blood tests, the ultrasounds. All that plus the failed IVF attempt. Then there were (and currently are) all the pregnancies of friends and family over the past ten years that I’ve had to face head on. And still, I have nothing to show for the miles I’ve already ran in this marathon. Talk about banging your head against a bric.k wa.ll.

So here I stand in front of this “Bric.k Wa.ll” (where I’ve been for the past ten years), knowing what I need to do next. And here I am trying to gather enough strength, both mentally and physically, to plow through (or climb over) that d*mn wall. If that isn’t dedication to my dream, then I don’t know what is.

One last nugget of inspiration from Ran.dy Pa.usch before I finally end this incredibly long post (I applaud anyone that has gotten to this point) …

“Don’t bail on your dream. The best gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap.”

0 Replies to “Brick Walls (Childhood Dreams, Pt 2)”

  1. Awesome post! Just what I needed to hear today! Thanks for pulling out all those nuggest for those of us who didn’t watch the whole thing! I only saw the 10 minute version!

    Best of luck with your wall! I know you can do it!!!!

  2. I love that last quote! Made me laugh out loud. I just heard of Randy Pausch (read an article in Parade) and really can’t wait to see the lecture. Thanks for the link.

    Question – have you seen Fat Boy, and if so, did you like it?

  3. Dr Pausch is certainly an inspiration. Thanks for distilling some of his finer points, and relating so well to IF/Adoption.

    Love the last photo!

    And also, I love the song, “She’s Having a Baby.” Of course, when it came out, I thought it would be ME some day.

  4. So, Emily… are you saying you’re a gold digger (last quote) LOL!!!

    very cool post. i just hit a brick wall and like you, I am trying to recharge to break through it/climb over it.

    You did a great job of helping understand what the message is. I think I’ll ahve to come back again tomorrow and reread this whole post.

    Hope you are well.

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