Get Busy Living


“It comes down to a simple choice: get busy living or get busy dying.”

I love The Shawshank Redemption. Fantastic movie. I saw an ad for a showing of the film this weekend on TV and got to thinking about it. This line really jumped out at me, just like it has for countless others throughout the years. What does it mean to me? 

It means you need to decide for yourself what happens in your life. Life is going to happen, whether you choose your course or not. You can go through life allowing your choices to be made for you, or you can grab Father Time by the love handles and steer your own way through history. 

I’ve known some people who can’t say “no.” Everytime anyone asks them to do anything, they say yes. Eventually it got to the point where people stopped asking and started expecting. They were too beholden to the people who had asked for favors or obligations through the years. Finally, they were pulled in every direction but up and had nothing for themselves. They may have started with the idea that they liked what they were doing for other people, but now find themselves, perhaps unwittingly, trapped in situations they can’t get out of. 

Are they busy? Sure. Are they living their own life? Questionable. 

The exact opposite could happen, too. You can just sit around waiting for life to happen to you. You say “no” at nearly every turn because it isn’t what you want to do. You shun civilization and wait for the perfect opportunities to spring up in your life. 

To me, this isn’t ideal, either. I don’t know that there is a perfect formula. But, as Andy Dufresne and Red both agree in Shawshank, “get busy living, or get busy dying.” You can’t just wait around for life to pick you up — you’ve got to pick it up and shake it up really good. 

I’m not the best at this, either. I’m easily distracted, just like a lot of other people. Life gets busy and I forget to live the life I want to live. As life gets to all of us, we all need to remember this — if we aren’t living how we ought to, perhaps we’re really dying a little on the inside. 


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