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!