One of my favorite movies is Shawshank Redemption. I have probably seen it, maybe 20 or 30 times (legitimately). I was recently discussing with a friend that if we see it on cable, we are canceling all plans for the rest of the day. Because that is what you do when Shawshank is on.
My favorite scene is with Andy (Timothy Robbins) and Red (Morgan Freeman) sitting in the prison yard. They are talking about whether or not they could live outside of the prison.
I see a lot of parallels between their situation and the situation that a lot of people find themselves in real life. For whatever reasons, many of us find ourselves imprisoned in a life that we don’t find fulfilling, doing work we don’t love, existing in situations that don’t make us happy. We grind on- because at the end of the day, most of us do the things we’re SUPPOSED to do before we do the things we WANT to do.
We put off for years, decades even, the things that we really want to do- the things we think will make us happy because we’re waiting for conditions to be right. Instead of doing the things, we cultivate a life list or a bucket list, with the hopes it will tide us over till we’re ready. We’re waiting for our kid to go to kindergarten, for our partners to get those promotions, for retirement. We spend so much time waiting for our lives to be right, to foster success in the things we want to do, that they are one and the same in our minds. We’ve somehow convinced ourselves that many of the things we want to do require such large time and resource commitments that they are impossible until our life circumstances change.
Here is the thing: most of the things that we want to do in our lives don’t require life-changing, consciousness-altering events. Often they don’t require us to be suddenly, disgustingly rich. They don’t always require large chunks of uninterrupted time in the most inaccessible places. In most cases, accomplishing the things you want to in life requires a shift in your philosophy. For many, living your funnest, most fulfilling, best life simply requires making the time for the things you want to do and committing to them. In many ways, it is a simple choice: “Get busy living or get busy dying.”
As Red would say, “That’s g-damned right!”