The Elixir of Life
By Hadi Taljeh, Freelance Writer
You’ve finally made it, you’re in the heart of Brazil’s Amazon jungle! It was hard taking the time off from work and finding the money for such a vacation, but that’s the last thing on your mind right now. You are completely immersed in the moment, navigating through the thriving landscape and immersing yourself in the sights, sounds, smells, and even tastes of the jungle.
Your guide Paulo is right in front of you cutting through the thickness of the trees with his trusty harvest knife when all of a sudden he stops in his tracks. You peer over his shoulder, and you find a small clearing right ahead. Paulo examines his surroundings cautiously before stepping into the clearing and signaling for you to follow.
You both stand inside it facing each other, separated only by a puddle of water. You examine the environment, and it seems as though you have entered a dimension not belonging to the Amazon. As if you have slipped through a crack in time and now existed independently.
You notice for the first time that the jungle has subdued. You don’t hear the animals fighting for survival anymore, and you don’t sense the persistent danger that comes along with being in the wild. An eerie sensation takes over you. Paulo seems confused but not panicked. A sly smile forms on his face as he seems to finally make sense of the situation.
“Senior… this puddle! I think we found it. It’s the Elixir of life!” His smile now transformed into a guttural, almost maniacal laugh.
You look at the puddle and notice the clear water almost alive in its movement. Before you can ask Paulo what the heck is going on, he drops to his knees, cups his hands, and drinks a handful of the mysterious potion. “Drink it, Senior! You will become immortal! Everybody in the Amazon is searching for this little puddle and we found it!”
Confused, you question Paulo’s logic, but your instincts pull you towards the puddle, and before you know it you are drinking from the alleged Elixir of life.
And just like that, in the middle of an Amazonian adventure, you became… Immortal.
The Brevity of Life
How many times were you out with your friends and wanted to call it a night, when one of your buddies persuaded you to stay for one more drink? “Life is short” they would say, and just like a magic spell, you find yourself downing another beer knowing you’d regret it the next day.
“Life is short” is one of the most overused yet effective clichés in our human vocabulary. It seems to incite some sense of urgency in us, a profound contemplation on the brevity of our life. And before we know it, we’re downing another drink, buying another unnecessary thing, or in your case taking an overdue vacation to Brazil!
But you out of all people know that it’s not so easy to dive into that pool of the unknown. Sure life is short when it’s about a night out with the boys or a staycation with the girls. But what about quitting that draining job to chase your dreams? Is life short enough for you to take that risk?
As a human being, in fact, as a living organism, you have instincts. And your two most primal instincts, the ones shared with all other living creatures that have ever donned this planet are survival and reproduction. In other words, your brain is unconsciously making sure that you continue living and that you leave behind more versions of yourself.
Let’s focus on the first for now.
What would happen to you if you quit your job? Could you survive without a stable income? What about the lifestyle that you’ve become accustomed to? How will you support your family? What will you tell your friends? The uncertainty that comes along with asking these questions is daunting, and the fear of the unknown is crippling. So what do you do? You spend your life in the gray area of mediocrity, strung in a deadlocked tug of war between the call to action, and instinctual self-preservation.
The Clutch of Immortality
Luckily for you though, you are immortal! And when you came back from your vacation you felt very energized. Nothing could harm you or threaten your survival, so you lived your life accordingly. You took more risks and dived into life’s experiences with a disregard for consequences.
And you enjoyed it… for a while. But even though you are immortal, you could never defeat the arrow of time. As the years faded by, so did your sense of wonder, and more importantly so did your loved ones. Your family, your friends, and everyone you cared about passed away in what seemed like a blink of an eye. Then the world around you changed, and you were left behind as a bitter, outdated, and timeless creature desperate for the cold, yet sweet clutch of death.
The Gift that is the End
Sitting alone with the darkness of your thoughts, you now live that day over and over again. If only you thought about life’s true purpose before you let that potion lock you in its eternity. If only your days were numbered again so you could appreciate their fleeting nature.
The only reason you took that trip to the Amazon in the first place was because you wanted to experience your world when you still had the chance. How meaningful is your life now with no time stamp on it? What’s the point of it if it doesn’t one day end? These questions will remain with you forever. Life is precious precisely because it is finite, and now after tasting immortality, you truly know the meaning of that.
So to whoever finds themselves wasting their precious days, there will always be reasons for you not to take that leap, and most of the time your reasons will be sound. But you will one day be gone, so rejoice in this fact! Take your chances and make every moment count.
Travel the world, relocate to a new city, and discover the opportunities available at your fingertips. The world has never been more equipped to support the life of a digital nomad. So go on your adventures and make them count. But whatever you do, please don’t drink from the Elixir of life.
Hadi El Talje is one of 7 billion human beings living on a tiny blue ball floating in the vastness of space. He hopes his writing intrigues your mind and inspires you to be true to who you really are. For writing opportunities, connect with Hadi.
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