Monday, July 16, 2012

Get busy living

Probably my favorite movie, The Shawshank Redemption, has the only movie line I can almost quote accurately. Red and Andy are sitting in the prison yard after a horrendous series of weeks that Andy’s spent in solitary confinement. As the two of them discuss the desperation of prison life, Andy seems to have had some sort of breakdown while Red has apparently given up all hope of living outside the walls. Their ideas of the future diverging, Andy tells Red, “I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living, or get busy dyin’.

I’d like to say I’ve lived every day like that line since seeing the movie, but the most I can say is that I’ve wanted to and often it has helped me make sense of life and its choices. That in almost every circumstance I can step back and see what leads me toward life and what leads toward death, even if it’s “just” a deadening of mind or spirit.

It was with these sorts of thoughts that in 2009 I prepared to face being laid off months before those who decided that knew they would. And those thoughts propelled me into making myself into a noob again in order to learn how to be a serious designer in other mediums beyond speech recognition. And to go further in 2011 by applying to and attending CCA’s Leading by Design Fellowship program (recommended!) long distance and on top of having teenage kids and a demanding job.

Now, in 2012, I feel drawn to life in even bigger ways. I’ve moved with my family to Seattle, WA to pursue a new job and new opportunities. I’ve decided I need to find a way to gain the equivalent of a master’s degree in design management without going back to school. And I need to write.

Opposite from, and opposing, all that, there are things I need to let go of. Unhealthy ways of thinking. Unproductive uses of time. I need even less getting busy dyin’. I need even more getting busy living. So here goes.