Red Pill or Blue Pill
This year, it felt like that the spring passing by will be one less spring l will hold. It is slowly dawning on me that beyond the horizon of my grasp, there is another countdown taking place. Slowly, an awareness that somewhere out there, in the silence of the night, a different kind of clock ticks, has taken root.
Gradually, a realization is starting to dawn that the week that just went by is not another page added into my ledger, but a page torn away. Passing of days, weeks, or years are no longer inconsequential happenings. Their passage starts to hold different shades of gray.
And the shade that slowly emerges from the undulating fog of daily consciousness is the realization that I am, after all, a mortal being.
Until now, I was cognizant of years passing by, but cognizance did not have much personal implications. Although I saw the impermanence all around, its meaning was no more than nodding and saying “morning” to strangers on the trail when our glances met.
But now, when I walk along the wooded trail, I see dead trees all along. They are the mentors who helped me; colleagues who shared the ride; the friend on WhatsApp, who one day, stopped posting.
Those trees are now reminders of people who were in my life but are no more. Some roads continue. Others stopped.
Dead End — the road sign was always there, but its implication, lost. Not anymore. “Dead End” on the side of the road means “Dead End.”
Being aware that I am mortal, what happens next?
How would I live with the realization? Mortality is not something I can fight back and win against. There is no Prozac to take each morning and suppress what I now know. The awareness is there, I know it is there, I know it will be there.
And so, what next? How will the new realization of mortality change how I live?
The road ahead bifurcates, and I need to choose to turn right or turn left. Based on my choice, I need to relearn to live in a different way.
I am at the moment when Morpheus opens his palms and gives Neo the option — take the Red or the Blue pill.
The red pill takes me down the path on which I am cognizant of my mortality, and yet, I live in peace with it.
The blue pill takes me down the path on which I can try to numb myself. With the effort of constantly chasing distractions or telling myself that it is five o’clock somewhere, I may succeed in drowning the realization of mortality. But…
…is the path of life lived consciously better than the path of wandering aimlessly?
Which pill will I take? I know the one Neo took.
As I write these words, I already know which pill I will take. Or that I am writing these words, unbeknownst to me, I have already taken the pill I intend to take.