It’s a rare occurrence in this life of ours that we have the opportunity to meet an individual who has lived life the way he’s want to live it. And it’s even rarer that millions of people could meet and know someone without so much as saying one word to him.

Today, Randy Pausch, the professor from Carnegie Mellon whose “Last Lecture” became an internet and non-fiction sensation died from the terminal Pancreatic cancer he was diagnosed with nearly two years ago.

When my good friend showed me the news and I read the article, I felt unexplainably attached to him, something that was intricately more attuned then just my current ties to Carnegie… and my sentiments were echoed by my fellow friends who each received the news. So I began to wonder, what is it about this stranger that draws millions of people to feel as if they knew him so personally.

Growing up, I can only imagine what my future self would look like- in terms of personality, actions, dreams. When we come across someone who embodies the traits that you wish to see yourself have in the future, I think an immediate connection is drawn. And I think that is the case here.

More than being a computer sleuth and the quintessential family man we can only fawn at, Pausch was essentially just like me… just like us. He dreamt of going into space or at least a simulated zero gravity condition. He dreamt of marrying the perfect girl. He dreamt of writing an article for the World Book Encyclopedia. And most importantly, he dreamt of playing for the NFL.

He accomplished almost everything he set out to as a child (God gipped him on the NFL one) and he did it without sacrificing his personal life without sacrificing the essence of fun in his life. If you have not seen the video or read the book, I pray you please just watch the first five minutes at least, and realize who you’re looking at there, might as well be you.

The guy had class, he had wit, he lived the last year of his life the way we could only dream we can. And I think what made him special was that we all feel we can do the same now.