I’m enjoying reviewing old posts. Gave this one a little polish and am reposting…
The Daily Prompt reads: You’ve imbibed a special potion that makes you immortal. Now that you’ve got forever, what changes will you make in your life? How will you live life differently, knowing you’ll always be around to be accountable for your actions?
“The stars shall fade away, the sun himself
Grow dim with age, and nature sink in years,
But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
Unhurt amidst the wars of elements,
The wrecks of matter, and the crush of worlds.” – Joseph Addison
Part of the prompt’s premise seems to assume I have, to date, been living life recklessly, if I’m reading it correctly. I don’t believe there’s anything to date I’ve done for which I haven’t already been accountable, so I’m not sure what more the prompt is looking to discover.
But, to the bit about what I would do differently now that I know I cannot die: If it is to remain a secret that I am immortal, then I suppose, as several science fiction/fantasy authors have also supposed, I must move from one society of people to another, because at some point it will be obvious I’m not aging like the rest. I would have to be circumspect regarding the relationships I create, as a result. That would be a pretty lonely existence, which would not be a life to which I would aspire. But, I suppose I’d move around the globe a lot, which would be fun. If I’m going to be on the planet forever, I might as well explore all of it.
What fascinates me is the practical aspect. For example, immortality does not also come financial security. I assume I will have to work. How do you explain a résumé that goes back 150 years? 300 years? That’s a lot of great experience I’d want to brag about! In a day and age when background checks are routinely administered, I image the same would hold in the future. It would be a challenge to maintain verifiable college education and early job experience to fit a person of my seeming age, and not that of someone who is actually 150 or more years older. I bet I would become a very good con artist.
Another practical conundrum: If all the philosophers, prophets and prognosticators are correct, and there is an apocalypse, what the hell happens to us immortals? Do we just float out into space? Is it possible that, biologically speaking, a body that is designed to survive only under a certain set of circumstances, because of this one significant derivation, can survive without oxygen and all the rest of it? And who the hell wants to just go floating around in space for all eternity? Yikes.
Being frozen in time at age 50-something is not as compelling a notion as, say, age 40, let alone 30 or 20. Since my body would no longer evolve (devolve?), I assume it’s not going to change from what it is now. Therefore, I’d rather be frozen in time at 35 or 40. I looked pretty darn good during those years. And, having a body that doesn’t change means I certainly wouldn’t give a damn what I ate, or if I was getting enough exercise, or concern myself with contracting a flu bug, let alone a disease. It’d be nice to never be fat or be sick a day in my life again.
Having a younger, fit body that couldn’t die would make taking up risky adventures more palatable. I might get injured, though. Because I’m immortal, does it necessarily conclude that I would recover from injury without medical assistance? Sci-fi/fantasy authors are always assuming magical regeneration; that the body must return to the state it was in when it became immortal. Before I took any unnecessary risks, I’d like to have this matter confirmed.
In the final analysis, what does immortality actually buy? I don’t know that dying is the issue, so much as aging is the concern. If, as they say, with youth comes the sense of immortality, then I’d much rather imbibe a potion from the Fountain of Youth. That is, if I could also keep the wisdom I’ve gained from the years I’ve already lived, because, as the other saying goes, “youth is wasted on the young.”