The Blue Pill or the Red Pill

When I was in high school, I had wild ideas about running off and living la vie boheme in New York City. A starving actress, a starving writer, some mix of both … I wasn’t entirely sure. I hadn’t really thought it out yet, but I was fairly confident that I could make it happen. When I graduated high school and went to Europe, the new location of my dream became Paris. I had never felt more like myself than I did in that city. 

But then I grew up. I wasn’t sixteen anymore. I went to college. I didn’t sell out on the ideas I had – I ended up as a creative writing major, after all. But I recognized that there was a certain lack of realism about my romantic dreams of a life like Christian’s in Moulin Rouge. This is, after all, the 21st century. Not the 19th. And as much as I wish something miraculous could happen to me like what happened in “Midnight in Paris”, I do try my best to reside in the real world. But the thing is, there are two versions of the real world. 

Version one is what I’m living now. The “safe” version. The blue pill. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not unhappy. I really like my job, I love living where I live, I love all of the people in my life. But sometimes, I wonder about the red pill.

The red pill is the version of life that could happen if I had to guts to say “fuck it” to every convention out there. If I had the cajones (and the money) to just up and leave, and go to Paris. Go to London. Go somewhere and just see what happens before I get sucked so far into the blue pill world that getting out isn’t an option anymore. 

Right now, I’m working on existing somewhere between the two. Graduate school in London? That’s a little bit of the red pill. Something a little crazy that I want to do, but also still practical – graduate school is always a good idea, right? A year over there, that would be a purple pill. A mix of sane conventions and a dash of crazy. 

But what about the real red pill? I know only a handful of people who’ve taken it – people who’ve jetted off to foreign countries to follow lovers or try their luck someplace they’ve never been before, just trusting that something will work out for them. On the one hand, that’s completely insane. On the other hand, I envy their willingness to give it a shot. 

I guess it all comes down to who you believe. Some people say that you can keep your dreams, you just need to tailor them as you get older to the realistic expectations of the world. It’s a survival technique. You’ll still be perfectly happy, you just need to tweak things. Because you’re an adult. And that’s what adults do. 

Other people say that you should stick to your dreams, no matter how crazy or unlikely they may seem. At first glance, everyone seems to be this kind of person. But in reality most of them are the kind of person listed above. “Reach for the stars! …. But remember that you need to be practical.” And honestly? Being practical makes sense. 

But there’s always a but. And as happy as I am, every so often I get the wild urge to take the red pill, and just say “fuck it”. I have the advantage of being young, and of being aware that my time like this is limited. There are a thousand things I want to do, and right now, I have the time to make them happen. 

So what’s stopping me from taking the red pill? 


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