You might have seen Shaw Shank Redemption a few years ago. In the movie a character named Brooks kills himself and writes a letter to his friends in which he tells them “get busy living or get busy dying.” He killed himself because he had been so accustomed to life in a prison that he no longer knew how to live on the outside. Those words have stuck with me ever since I saw that movie and every time I find myself unhappy or questioning why I do things I can’t help but remember that phrase.
For the past four years I have worked at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. I have celebrated some wins and enjoyed friendships all while working around seventy hours a week, plus or minus a few in either direction. I am married, I have three children (6,4, & 6 months), and they are my world. Or at least I like to believe that. Certain realities challenged that belief recently when I began to audit my time and examine them in terms of chronological investment. Or in other words, I started paying attention to how I spent my time. Those “certain realities” were an amalgamation of things, but the catalyst was centered around one fantastic moment: the birth of my third son.
My newest son, Trek Atlas Ingram, was born on April 11, 2011. My wife delivered him at approximately four o’clock in the morning on our driveway. There was no doctor or nurse or medical equipment of any kind. In their place were a husband, several beach towels, and two curious brothers named Peyton and Conner (ages five and three respectively). I was the first person to hold my infant son. It was a moment that I will never forget and that has certainly changed my life forever. Einstein’s Theory on Relativity mathematically describes how time is relative to the position of the observer. My experience that day personified that theory. Time seemed to stand still as I held the perfect child in my arms. It was moment of clarity and introspection. I knew that I was exactly where I needed to be doing exactly what I needed to do. As days passed and I moved on from that experience, I found myself weighing the emotional clarity of that moment with context of my daily life. Left wanting, I forced myself to examine my own life and determine what changes would need to be made in order to enhance my life. After many days of contemplation and discussion with my wife, the simple solution was time both in terms of availability and how I spent it. We removed items like the television, video games, and any other distractions from our life, but it provided little relief. As it turns out, those items represented only a small footprint in terms of time. The real problem was my job. I work as a General Manager for one of the busiest restaurants in the world. It is a demanding position that takes seventy hours a week of my life (maybe more) not counting emails and phone calls that I receive while not at work. I took this position after I left the ministry several years earlier. I have experienced both professional and financial success, but am unsatisfied. I am unsatisfied because it denies the thing that I value most and that is most important to my life, time for myself and with my family.
Get busy living or get busy dying – That’s just what I plan on doing. My first step in that direction was to give notice at my work. My last day will be January 15th, 2012. At that time my family and I will be moving to Thailand where I will most likely teach English, write, and spend time with my family. This blog is dedicated to the pursuit of life, doing things my own way, and my commitment to screw up or succeed trying. I hope you have fun reading my books and following us around the world as my family and I embark on this awesome adventure!
You are amazing Jarrett!!!
God speed Jarrett! I know where you’re coming from. If you don’t have time to spend with your family then what good is work? I know you’ll experience many things in the coming months and years that you will treasure.
You did great, Amanda! I have tears rolling down my face for the love and ppehinass that will and IS surrounding Trek. May everyone who comes in contact with him be touched by his sweet spirit. He is in the perfect arms of a mom who is so attentive and a Daddy who is going to rule the world. I love this family with all my heart. I know they will find peace. Trek was born to the perfect family. Trek IS love, it oozes out of his little sweet body. My heart is so in love and I am happy to celebrate his beautiful life. Trek Atlas, you are amazing and you have a lot of people who love you. You are so lucky to have such a wonderful family. All my love, tears and joy. Auntie Tina
be praying for all of you, you made the right choice God bless you all
I have trying to keep up with Baby Trek and flamiy. My name is Julie and I attend Vimy Ridge Baptist with Jarretts Grandma. I have been lost for words up to this point, being the reason I haven’t written anything to the flamiy. I am still lost for words but would like to send a message that your flamiy has been in my prayers from the beginning. My mind cannot comprehend what you must be going through. My biggest tradgety in life was the loss of my baby brother, whbo was more like my son, as I was 13 when he was born and cared for him as a mother would. I did not think that I clould heal from that loss but God, through His word told me to trust in Him with all my heart and try not to lean on my own un derstanding and He would take me through it. I was angry at God at first for even allowing this to happen. In my mind there was no good reason for it and I was very mad. I now remind my self that there was no good reason why Jesus, the only son of God, was allowed to die as He did but it had to happen for one reason and one reason only and that was Love. It really never quits hurting but I’m no longer angry at God and know that some day I will be reunited with my brother. I hope you know this Jesus that I’m speaking of because He is the only way that you will get through this. Please know that I say all this with love and prayers for the flamiy.