Depression and Fatherhood Gave Me a Choice, “Get Busy Living, or Get Busy Dying”

Yes, I shamelessly stole borrowed Andy Dufresne’s observation for my headline. Doesn’t make it untrue.

One sunny summer’s day I was sitting on the beach on Lake Huron “reading the news” on my tablet. The boys were running around laughing, playing with the joy and innocence of childhood.

Splashing in the shallows.

Shooting water guns.

Damming up the little streams.

Making sand castles and stomping them down.

I was basking in the warm joy of fatherhood, but I wasn’t really reading. I was surreptitiously filming the boys while pretending to read, capturing their innocence in its purest form.

I don’t know how long I sat there. I don’t care.


Time is our most limited resource; we have a certain amount and every second gone, is gone. Irreplaceable. Irrecoverable. Time ought to be precious, but it’s not, and we shamelessly waste it.

We live in a time of plenty. We can put a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and food on our tables with minimal effort, at least compared to previous generations.

So we have a lot of spare time, and entire industries devoted to spending it.

  • Can you honestly say watching sportsball is a useful way to spend your time?
  • Or watching the third crappy cinematic reboot of a comic book franchise?
  • Binge watching Netflix?
  • Scrolling Instagram, or YouTube, or Twitter, or Facebook, or…?

No, time is not precious.

Moments are precious.


The years pass and I look back. So much of my time has been lost to the Grey Mist, time I have filled with meaningless activities to get through the next second, minute, hour, day. Time spent sitting, waiting, praying for death to release me.

But I also have moments.

  • The moment she said, “Yes.”
  • The day I looked at my breathtakingly beautiful bride and promised, “I will, until death do us part.”
  • The first time I held your newborn son and stared into his beautiful, black eyes, and promised, “I will be there, forever.”
  • That early July afternoon, watching the boys frolicking in the boundless joy of childhood.

Yes, I have had moments. I want more.

I want more times when the Grey Mist parts, the depression lifts, and I feel alive.

Looking back to moments like this, I am inspired. Inspired to try harder to tame the demons, to transform myself, to not just exist because dying would hurt my sons. My wife. My family. My friends.

To transform myself so that I am living.

Andy’s full quote is:

I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.

I choose to get busy living.