You have probably seen the meme I am going to post about. In the picture there are several pills, all with the ability to grant one particular power or enhance a certain trait, all under the guiding caption: choose. The options can range from the power of invisibility to being able to read minds to being exceptional wealthy for a single day. If you haven’t seen the picture, here’s an example.
I enjoy this meme whenever I come across it for likely the same reason as I enjoy taking numerous Buzzfeed quizzes: I obviously desperately want to know something about myself that I feel can be revealed in a game of restricted choices like these offer. It’s not the worst flaw; we all want to know what makes us tick.
As unimaginative as it makes me sound in almost all cases I choose the money option. Five hundred euro for the rest of my life or being invisible is a pretty easy choice to make. Health is the only thing that would render my money choice void. In fact, every since I have been old enough and unfortunate enough to experience what ill-health and death are, I have been the person who throws a coin in the Trevi fountain or blows out the candles on a cake wishing fervently for good health for myself and the people I love.
It was all relatively straight-forward until I thought of something else – another pill – that I would chose over money and maybe even over health.
If there was something that I could take to make me a little more indifferent to all my emotions for a certain period of time I’d consider it. To not feel the need to react to every little anything for a couple of hours or a full day, perhaps two of three times a week, would be a contender in my own meme.
Take yesterday for example. I didn’t post because I was in Dublin and I was in Dublin to do some visiting, some helping and some work. By the time I arrived home it was close to 10pm and I know that if I post late I have less chance of people reading what I have taken the time to write! I was also exhausted.
Throughout the day I had experienced, and reacted to, happiness, sadness, revulsion, anger (mild and moderate), frustration (though this is fairly standard of my day-to-day), longing, boredom, hunger, excitement and sadness again. As I reflected on it I thought about how wonderful it would have been to simply pull out the emotional chip from my brain and just exist for a couple of hours.
I know too well that I am at the whim of my emotions. I know that I should meditate and just observe rather than react to what happens and how I feel. How many times have we all heard or used the expression, you are a very emotional person? You could put that on my grave.
And yet the irony of wanting to be less emotional is that I refuse to buy totally into religions and advice- even meditation to some extent – which promise to help me disengage from my highly charged emotional responses to emotional and otherwise circumstances. I am the first one to stand up and argue that feeling is what this – the human experience – is all about! Why would I want to shut that off?
It’s nice to know when you are happy, nice to be able to reflect on a happy memory; when you feel passionate, there’s nothing like that, just like there is nothing quite as physical as the emotion of remorse or loss. These are not what I should be just observing; surely I should react to that which passes through me, seizing on a positive emotion that I have felt strongly has lead me to places and to self-knowledge that observation could never have equalled.
That’s what I used to think but I am not quite sure it is going to stand up to the passing of my years.
With life changing at the rate of what feels like every second it can be so difficult to keep up and even more impossible to know how you feel about all these developments coming at you every other minute of every day. It’s such a process.
Maybe I am just getting old and it is becoming too much to react to excitement, to argue when I feel there is injustice, even to yawn when I feel boredom. Perhaps a friend of mine is right and age begets indifference. But that’s maybe what I would like: to feel a bit indifferent about everything from time to time.