Analysis: Who Wants to Live Forever?
Any friends you make will only become grave resters eventually, and you must steel your heart against love because, for you, love is fleeting. Perhaps you'll never have a permanent home because you have to keep on moving from location to new location every few years before your neighbors get suspicious that there's something just not right about you. In short, any kind of companionship from mortals will only last (from your perspective) an instantnote . Even if it's possible for you to surround yourself with immortal friends, there are only so many places to go and life-defying antics you can perform (and tropes you can browse) before life settles into a repetitive boring monotony. Eventually you'll even see your civilization (maybe even species) die out and make you a Living Relic. And then there's the fact that the memories of things that the world will never see again, one of the few rewards of immortality, may also one day vanish from your mind by sheer dint of memory capacity. Senility will be a blessing because you won't remember that you've done the same thing ten million times. Meanwhile, the sun will slowly brighten as it ages. In a little over a billion years, it will have brightened enough that liquid water will no longer be able to exist on the surface of the Earth. Maybe you can move to Mars before this happens. But five billion years from now, the sun will run out of fuel in its core entirely and swell up to red giant size, swallowing the Earth and making Mars too warm to live on. Move to the moons of Jupiter? That'll only work for a couple million years tops; the sun's red giant phase will then end, and it will shrink to a tiny, cold white dwarf. You'd have to find a new solar system to move to, if you wanted any hope of living on a habitable planet. And after some more billions of years, that new star system you've moved to will suffer a similar fate to ours. You'll have to pick a new solar system again. And again. If you're lucky, the cosmologists who predict the Big Rip will be right, and in a paltry 20 billion years the universe will be expanding so rapidly that your atoms won't even be able to hang together any more and your existence will finally end. If you're lucky. But if the cosmologists are wrong about the Big Rip, then after a while of hopping from one star system to another, you'll be faced with a new problem: as the stars die, fewer and fewer new stars are born to replace them. After a few hundred billion years, the only stars left in the galaxy — in the whole universe, in fact — will be the long-lived red dwarfs, each so dim that the range of distances from them inside which a habitable world can exist is horrifically slim. You'll have to search a lot of red dwarfs before you can find one with a planet at the right distance, and there'll be no guarantee it'll actually be inhabited. It will become harder and harder for you to find a planet to call home. Eventually, say in a few trillion years from now, the Universe itself shows its mortality (lucky bugger) and dies. As you hop from one dying planet to another, if you can, eventually they too will end. Soon, it'll just be the endless void of subatomic particles that can never reform into anything. And you, floating there. Forever. Unless, of course, you get lucky and it turns out all matter in the universe will contract into one small mass and then make a new Big Bang, in which case after a sufficient amount of time (say, a few billion years) you might be able to find life to talk to. Assuming you survive the Big Crunch, of course... Then again, such life would likely consider you an Eldritch Abomination. Time Abyss doesn't even begin to cover it. Scared straight yet? But we didn't even get started on the technical details. Maybe you were fortunate enough to start your eternal life at a time when you were grown up and healthy. Then again, if you got "blessed" with unaging immortality before you fully grew up, you Can't Grow Up. Ever. Or, if you have acquired it at an old age, you are to stay a fragile old man forever. And that's assuming that you're always staying the same age was part of the package. If you've got Age Without Youth, you'll be lucky if you become only a grasshopper after your wrinkles and bent back take over. And what about injuries? Did you remember to ask for a Healing Factor? Good luck to you if you didn't, because now you are at a daily risk of obtaining some really crippling injuries that will stay with you forever. Count yourself lucky if it ends with only going comatose, because you may very well get crippled to a degree where you cannot even move, cannot even speak, but still going on, forever and ever... Or maybe you will fall into a deep pit or sink into the ocean, or get thrown into a Torture Cellar from whence you can not escape. Or worse, Room 101. A different person would starve and die, but you will have to wait there often for centuries — and that's even assuming that someone will eventually find you. No wonder so many immortals end up crazy... And if you think that returning your immortality can help you with all this, think again. Any characters who initially jump for joy at the prospect of living forever will find within a few centuries' time that immortality maybe isn't all it's cracked up to be. Their quest will become a search to find a way to return to a normal life. Sometimes they'll even allow themselves to be killed outright by supernatural means to be able to rejoin the natural life cycle at last. Sometimes the ones who can be killed but not age are rather picky; they won't commit direct suicide, they just want to be able to grow old and eventually die of organ failure. Or they slowly forget things over time. (Real-life senile dementia sort of says otherwise, but this is fantasy we're talking about). One of the biggest reasons Cessation of Existence (formerly a primal fear) is considered to be a comforting heaven by many people nowadays, especially the more atheistic, cynical and existentialist ones, after giving a deep deconstructive thought about immortality and realizing the inherent Fridge Horror within. Vampires are obviously subject to this trope (though Undeath Always Ends), as are Flying Dutchmen of various types. (And the occasional non-flying Dutchman.) Oddly, elves, Gods or naturally immortal species are portrayed to be immune to this (although in some cases they too may grow weary of immortality, given enough time). Maybe they're good at finding hobbies? At the least, living among fellow immortals is a good way to ameliorate the strain. After all, they've had a lot of time to work out cultural mores and general psychological structures necessary to deal with the relatively unchanging social landscape. (They usually have trouble with procreation, though). It's also worth noting that, as an immortal, you have an infinite amount of time to deal with these problems, which may mean simply making peace with them, or even somehow finding a solution. It's not all hopeless, however. In some cases, you actually are better off with living forever. You may be bored, but at least something is going on. Although, technically that is living for ever too, you just happen to be doing it in the afterlife. So basically the "out" someone suffering from this trope is looking for is Cessation of Existence, since an afterlife of any sort would just give them a new place to explore for a bit before they start to notice all the same problems all over again. So to properly "enjoy" immortality you would have to never start relationships with mortals, have some sort of time and memory control, be able to travel a lot, and tons of other stuff as well.