A Predetermined Lifespan
I recently re-watched a program that I’d first watched when it originally aired in 2015. The title of the program is プラスティック・メモリーズ (Plastic Memories). Without bogging down this post with the details, I will share the plot summary via The Anime News Network.
In a future not too far away, androids that look exactly like humans begin to spread across the world. The android production company SA Corp. produced Giftia, a new kind of android that has the most amount of emotion and human-like qualities out of any other model ever seen. However, due to problems in technology, the androids have a service life, and once they pass that, it gets pretty bad. For this reason, SA Corp. creates a terminal service in order to retrieve Giftia that have gone past their service life. A new employee at the terminal service named Tsukasa Mizugaki forms a team with the Giftia Isla to retrieve the other androids.
Without giving away too much of the story, the Giftia, Isla, has shut herself off from the world since she knows that her lifespan is predetermined. What is the point of making memories if they will one day be “ripped apart?” Thus, she remains quiet and limits her interactions with others. Enter the human male protagonist, Tsukasa. As Isla’s partner, he naturally desires to develop a rapport with her. In the process of building this relationship, both Tsukasa and Isla have to decide what they will do as Isla’s predetermined lifespan nears its end.
There are times when a TV show or movie will strike a chord with me. For example, I may be one of the few people in this world listing Joe Versus the Volcano among his favorite movies. As odd as it sounds, I found it relatable since I was at the time in my life when I received my Crohn’s disease diagnosis when I watched it.
Whether we realize it or not, each of us has a predetermined lifespan. Moses said it was 70 years. If we were strong, he said that it was 80 years (Psalm 90.10). For the Christian, one is mindful of the Hebrews’ writer’s sober reminder that man has an appointment with death, which is followed by judgment (Hebrews 9.27). So, despite refusing to acknowledge that we live on borrowed time, we all are spending from a finite account. The catch is that we know not what our balance of time is. It might be 100 years or 53 years.
I previously mentioned being unlucky in love. My wife left me in 2002 at a time I was facing life-threatening health problems. Shortly after her departure, one morning, I blacked out and fell hard to the hardwood floor. A gastrointestinal bleed caused my RBC to drop to 4.5! I survived, obviously. Our relationship, however, did not. She filed for a No-fault divorce that became effective in 2005. I received my papers about the finalization around the time I was lying in a hospital bed in Wilmington, North Carolina, from another GI bleed.
I did move forward within a couple of years. I am religiously conservative. Yet, I feel I have the right to marry again if I choose. I met a young woman with whom I was compatible. Unfortunately, it was a long-distance relationship. I was in North Carolina, and she was in Jacksonville, Florida. Things seemed to be going well, but I received a colon cancer diagnosis in 2010. Given my previous experience, I told her I thought it best if we break things off. I had no idea what the future held for me. I might even be dead within a year. (I am glad that she has since married to a man and seems quite happy.) The main issue was doubting whether this thing called love could truly sustain itself through “sickness and health” with its physical and emotional implications.
Since my colon cancer remission, I have been in an emotional limbo. That limbo is what makes Plastic Memories so relatable. All of us share this “predetermined lifespan,” but what choices do we make accordingly? Tsukasa made his decision, as reflected in the following dialogue:
If my own lifespan was predetermined, I wonder how I would take it? I would spend that limited time living my life to the fullest.
I don’t know if I have Tsukasa’s strength of character. I lack mature love since fear resides in my heart (cf. 1 John 4.18). Is there a woman who could love me regardless of what may come? Would she choose to make a potentially bleak future with me should I check out of this life sooner than later? Do I have the capacity even to trust another woman? All of these are questions that swirl through my mind whenever the topic of love and relationships comes up.
Supplementing the direction received from my faith, I also try to recall the encouragement of those poets like Robert Herrick, advising me to gather my rosebuds while I am able. Indeed, the lifespan is predetermined. It is up to us to “seize the day.” It is also up to us to muster the courage and strength to do so.
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Hi, my name is Brent. Christian. 親日. ENFP. Music lover. I've channeled my ADHD into becoming a generalist. I enjoy writing and illustrating.