Immortality (Life Well Past The Age Of Retirement)
(Life Well Past The Age Of Retirement)
“The only thing wrong with immortality is that it tends to go on forever.”–Herb Caen (1916-1997)
So, here’s what is going on. I was recently invited to contribute to an anthology of superhero stories which should be available by year’s end. In choosing characters, I decided to create a couple gifted with immortality. When writing about super-humans, I enjoy focusing more on the “human” than the “super.” Regardless of how outrageous the characters are, I like the realism aspect.
I chose to go the immortality route although it never occurred to me what such characters would actually go through. It is turning out to be a challenge to keep the characters realistic. The first thing I needed to determine was how the characters gained their immortality. I don’t want to spoil anything in case someone reads the anthology, so I’ll move on to the problems I encountered.
What type of immortality do you choose if you were making the choice? Would you stop aging at a certain point, or would you continue to grow older? Do you appear as an ancient wise man rather than a know-it-all punk? Or, possibly, do you die and then return in a new form? Reincarnation is an interesting way to live forever.
If you live forever, then you have to deal with loss. You will watch your friends, your family, and your loved ones grow old and die. Unless you choose early on to impose self seclusion, pain and heartbreak is inevitable. The other option is to become callous to the world around you, but who wants to walk through life uncaring? At some point, you have to mourn your losses and walk away.
This leads to my next problem; what type of job would an immortal choose? I know that any job is available, but who wants to read about an immortal butcher? (If you think this beef is tough, you should have been around to try the mastodon.) Immortality seems to have a bit more romance when the character’s occupation is not so mundane.
Another thing immortals would have to worry about is the transition from their old life to their new one. Do you just up and leave one day, or, perhaps you would find it easier to fake your own death. Or do you play the part of an eternal drifter, never staying in one place long enough to make attachments? Decisions, decisions.
How would dealing with immortality affect your personality? Your mental well-being? Would you be an introvert or an extrovert? Are you happy-go-lucky, quickly getting over loss; or do you mourn for decades on end? What about catastrophic mood swings? Are you the good guy for a century or two only to try your hand at world domination afterward?
What about religion and immortality? Would walking the earth for millennia draw you near to religion, or would it color your whole outlook? Would you witness to what you have seen and experienced or, instead, let people guess at the truth? (For my own personal views on religion and immortality, visit my other blog at http://ten-thirtyministries.com/posts/immortality/.
Let’s be honest. Would you really want to deal with the headache of immortality? It seems like a lot of upkeep to me.
Just thought I would jot this down.