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Who Wants to Live Forever?

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"You don't get happy endings when you live forever."

Put your hand down. This is not a vote.

The worst fate possible might well be immortality. Sure, you might like the idea that you get to live forever and see what the world's like hundreds of years from now, but what's eternal life compared to the pain of life in general? From eventual boredom to eternal entrapment and torture to the emotional anguish of seeing your loved ones die, one by one, as you stay fixed in time. Then let's not forget that the Earth is due to be destroyed by the expanding sun in a few billion years, so if you haven't a way to leave by then you can look forward to spending eternity in a supernova.

When done Anviliciously, this can seem like Sour Grapes on the part of the very much mortal writers. May be used as a Fantastic Aesop.

This attitude toward immortality is Older Than Feudalism, going back at least as far as the Greek myths about Tithonos's Age Without Youth and Prometheus's punishment and of course the appeal behind Hewhy is your hand still up!?


Compare Blessed with Suck for those that angst as well as And I Must Scream for the mindset this can create.

Contrast Living Forever Is Awesome for those who like it, and Immortality Seeker for those who seek it, and Eternal Love where immortals fall in love. See Living Forever Is No Big Deal for the middle ground.

See also Immortality Hurts, which is a subtrope. Immunity Disability is a supertrope (here, the "immunity" is to death).

See Analysis for more horrifying details.



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    Asian Animation 
  • In the Chinese animated short Miss Daizi, the protagonist is a plastic bag that can't die, as she doesn't biodegrade, and because she is constantly harming the environment and out of loneliness of missing her beloved (who is a paper cup), she engages in countless failed suicide attempts.

    Comic Strips 
  • In a Dilbert cartoon, an android made in Dilbert's image boasts that he will live forever and lets out an Evil Laugh. Then, a few seconds later, he complains that he's bored.

    Films — Animation 
  • TMNT (2007) has Winters, who was so happy to have his mortality back that he laughed and told the heroes how happy he was before the result of losing his immortality took place.
  • Scamper the rabbit from Igor is immortal, to the extent that his body will rematerialize even if completely atomized by an explosion. He spends most of the movie attempting to kill himself in various ways, as he believes that life is meaningless and nothing matters. (He gets better, in part because Eva's obsession with acting leads him to discover his hidden passion and talent for costume design).
  • Toy Story 2: Stinky Pete would rather spend the rest of his life in a museum, adored by fans, than be a child's toy. Understandable, as he was never taken off the shelf, watching toy after toy be sold and never got a chance to be played with by any children... until Woody curses Stinky Pete to be the toy of a girl who decorates her Barbies! An "interview" that used to be on the Toy Story 2 website suggested that Pete found being a child's toy was actually a pretty good life.
  • Toy Story 3 is all about the toys being outgrown/forgotten by their owner, and the abandonment issues this entails. It's clear from Toy Story 3, however, that the toys enjoy only Biological Immortality; they can be burned to death.
  • In the movie version of The Last Unicorn Mommy Fortuna, the old hag who captured the Unicorn, had also captured a harpy, another immortal creature. The unicorn points out that Mommy couldn't hold them forever, and the harpy will kill her for the indignity. Mommy Fortuna agrees that, yes eventually, she will slip up and the harpy will go free; but, the harpy will always remember Mommy Fortuna had captured her, forever. That is how Mommy Fortuna plans on "living forever," as a memory of the immortal harpy.

  • "Across the Highlands" by Kamelot.
  • The Ayreon universe is based on living beings called Forever, who, you guessed it, live forever, but have lost the ability to feel emotions.
  • "Xanadu" by Rush is about an Immortality Seeker who comes to regret getting what he sought:
    A thousand years have come and gone, but time has passed me by
    Stars stopped in the sky
    Frozen in an everlasting view
    Waiting for the world to end, weary of the night
    Praying for the light
    Prison of the lost Xanadu
  • David Bowie - "Never Get Old".
    And there's never gonna be enough money
    And there's never gonna be drugs
    And we're never gonna get old
    And there's never gonna be enough bullets
    And there's never gonna be sex
    And we're never gonna get old
  • The Flaming Lips' "Talkin' 'Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants to Live Forever)":
    If I've lived a thousand times before
    And if I'm gonna live anymore
    Always brings me down
    Everyone wants to live forever
    Thinkin' that it'd be a lot better...
    Everyone wants to live forever
    But no one ever gets it together
  • "Ace of Spades" by Motörhead: You know I'm born to lose / And gambling's for fools / But that's the way I like it baby / I don't wanna live forever
  • "The Curse" by Josh Ritter, about an ancient Egyptian cursed with immortality. Set to a waltz.
  • The Boston indie rock band Hayley Jane and the Primates has a song called "Mabel" about a 380-something immortal who can't bring herself to love anyone because everyone she's ever cared about is dead.
  • Queen just so happens to be the Trope Namer. "Who wants to live forever... when love must die?"
  • "Forever Young" by Alphaville
  • Van Der Graaf Generator covered the subject in their song "Still Life" from the eponymous album.
  • The song "Heaven" by Frazier Chorus is about how heaven would really just be boring.
  • S.P.O.C.K - "Last Man on Earth".
    Radiation got me as well
    made me immortal in this hell
    An old dream coming true
    but why now when there is nothing to do?
    Since then I've been searching around
    going from town to town
    Could it only have happened to me?
    Am I doomed to be…
    I'm the last man on earth

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Wandering Jew is a folklore character who is cursed with immortality after mocking Christ. He is consistently depicted as a decrepit old man who suffers for his sin.
  • Cain, who is sometimes conflated with the Wandering Jew, may be considered an example. After killing his brother, the Lord promises that anyone who harms him (which may include Cain himself) will suffer God's wrath. He places a mark on Cain, so that everyone will know to leave him alone. Although not explicitly immortal, this guarantees that Cain will have a long time to suffer for his crime.
  • In the Story of the Bamboo Cutter, an emperor is given the elixir of life by the beautiful Princess Kaguya as she departs, but refuses to drink it because if he won't be able to see said princess's beauty again, then he doesn't want to live forever.
  • If you eat the flesh of a Japanese mermaid ("Ningyo"), you don't exactly live forever, however, you'll live for a very long time (and not age), and your life will suck for the same reasons. As Yao Bikuni so quite points out, this is the reason as to why the titular priestess became priestess, as she's been widowed so many times, staying that way until committing suicide.
  • Greek Mythology:
    • Eos asked Zeus to grant her lover Tithonus immortality, but neglected to ask for eternal youth to go with it, and apparently Zeus was not in an especially giving mood when he granted her request. The result is that Tithonus shriveled away into increasing decrepitude. In some versions of the story, Eos eventually shut him up in a room with shining doors to babble endlessly in his senility, too weak to move; in other versions, he ultimately became a cicada, eternally living and begging for death.
    • When Selene asked Zeus for Endymion's immortality, she carefully considered the consequences of her wish. Learning from the mistake of Eos, she phrased her request to keep Endymion perpetually in the state she had first met him in - as a handsome youth sleeping on a hillside.
    • Prometheus's punishment was to live his immortal life in torture. Every day, deadly wounds were inflicted upon him by an eagle sent to eat his liver. Every night, he would regenerate and heal to await the next assault from the bird.
  • In Christianity, this is considered to have been the fate of all humanity, if it weren't for the existence of Jesus Christ.
  • This is the fate of Jack (of the Lantern). He was a evil man who tricked the Devil into being trapped in a tree by putting a holy symbol on the trunk whilst the Devil was in the tree. Jack would only allow the Devil down if he promised never to bring Jack into Hell. The Devil agreed. However, since Jack couldn't enter Heaven (remember, he was evil), he had nowhere to go after he died. The Devil gave him an ember of Hell to light his way, which Jack kept in a hollowed-out turnip. (Since pumpkins were more plentiful and easier to carve, they became the vessel in which the ember was kept.) Jack is now cursed to wander forever, carrying his lantern, a Jack-o-Lantern.
  • Ashwatthama of the Mahabarata was cursed with immortality by Krishna after brutally slaughtering the Pandava and using a Brahmastra on the womb of their pregnant queen. Not only was he made immortal, he was also afflicted with diseases, ulcers, and wounds that would not heal for 3,000 years.

  • The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home from Welcome to Night Vale holds this sentiment.
    Nothing ever really happens to me. I am completely safe from harm, and this is a great burden... I think that one day, this world will simply talk itself to death, and I will be left to flit about in the void. I will be the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives Nowhere.
  • In The Adventure Zone, the Animus Bell tries to tempt Magnus with eternal life and is immediately shut down, because dying for him means reuniting with his dead wife Julia, to the point that early in the adventure he was a borderline Death Seeker who longed to go out in a blaze of glory.
    Animus Bell: How would you like to live forever?
    Magnus: I'd hate it. Shut the fuck up.

  • In Seasons of Fear happens to Sebastian Grayle, who is given immortality by the Nimon in 305. He ends up outliving 12 wives, becoming more bitter and evil over the years, and hating the Doctor more for stopping his plans to help his Masters invade. He hopes for a more ethereal immortality when his Masters invade the Earth. When he goes back in time from 1806 to just before he made the deal with the Nimon, this leads to Future Me Scares Me, as his past self kills him.

  • One of the many themes connected to immortality that get explored in Eternals.
  • Global Guardians PBEM Universe: The chronologically last Global Guardians story is "The Last Man on Earth", featuring The Shield, whose power immunity to harm. Having lived for billions of years, he's the last human on Earth when the sun finally begins its expansion. The story ends with the Shield sitting on a cliff on Mount Everest, watching the sun get bigger and bigger and redder and redder in the sky, hoping that this time, he's finally found something that's powerful enough to overcome his power, and dreadfully fearful of what will happen if it isn't.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In both Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem, immortality is never considered a blessing. The foremost problem is that one spends eternity wrestling the Beast, but there's the matter of boredom as well. The Masquerade didn't really address this, as the Jyhad kept everyone busy, but it's an important issue in The Requiem: ennui is so pervasive that vampires have constructed a massive political/social framework, the Danse Macabre, almost solely to keep themselves occupied.
    • The main sourcebook for The Requiem also tries to prevent PCs from sitting around and moping about all of the things mentioned at the top of the page by pointing out that anyone who wasn't strong-willed enough to deal with all of the assorted nastinesses of vampire society or didn't have a long term goal in mind would probably have just killed themselves by staying outside during the next sunrise after they were Turned. ...except that the things capable of permanently destroying a vampire (fire and sunlight) are very likely to cause the aforementioned Beast to temporarily hijack control of their body and cause them to flee from the potential source of Final Death.
  • In Promethean: The Created, Prometheans can, provided they take care to go to the wastes often enough, theoretically endure for centuries, if not forever. Too bad their lives consist of being Walking Wastelands with everything trying to kill them.
  • In Mummy: The Resurrection, Mummies are imagined as truly immortal beings. Every time they suffer a physical death, their souls go to the Wraith underworld where they wait for their bodies to regenerate. Some choose to stay in the underworld, on the belief that if they search long and hard enough they can find a magical way to end their lives.
  • In the New World of Darkness equivalent to the above, Mummy: The Curse, mummies at least don't technically "live forever". They exist for all eternity, potentially, but they actually spend most of their time effectively dead. They just get woken up when their cult calls them, their Judge needs them, or in a once-every-thousand-years cosmic event. In fact, most mummies are more concerned with living the time they have before they sink back into torpor. Played straight with the Deceived, however, who are eternal (to the point that them coming back in the bodies of some post-human species is raised in their sourcebook) and have to share their bodies with an insane Eldritch Abomination.
  • In Exalted, the Great Curse wears away at your sanity as time goes on. The only known Solar to live long enough to die of old age was something around 7-10,000 years old. Add massive boredom and near-invulnerability on top of that and it's no wonder they went insane.
  • Warhammer has a Regiment of Renown based on this trope. Richter Kruegar was a particularly unscrupulous mercenary willing to fight alongside a Necromancer against his own countrymen, at least until the end of the campaign when the tide of battle began to turn. Ever the opportunist, Kruegar decided to betray his patron to curry favor with the victors, but the necromancer blasted him with a Dying Curse that reduced Kruegar to a heap of bones. The next night Kruegar rose as a free-willed undead, cursed to never know the peace of the grave, since he will reanimate no matter what tries to destroy him. He now leads a Cursed Company of skeletal warriors spawned by his dark blade, traveling the world in a grisly parody of his previous lifestyle, in search of an enemy that can kill him for good.
  • Dante, the Blood Angels Chapter Master, in Warhammer 40,000 is said to be around 1500 years old (or older) but after more than a millennium of fighting he is getting tired of his life, and the only thing that keeps him going is his suspicion that the prophesy of a warrior in golden armour standing between the darkness and the God-Emperor in the final battle wasn't about their Primarch Sanguinus during the Horus Heresy, but is about him and he aims to fulfill that goal.
    • Speaking of the Emperor, he might have a harsh word or two about his immortality. If he was able to talk, that is...
    • In a way, the Dark Eldar themselves, due to boredom. However what they get for an afterlife sucks many times more(and it's their own fault), pushing them to fight boredom by any means to keep themselves alive. Some of them realize how foolish this is and join their Craftworld brethren, who lead harsh, monastic, repressed and yet ultimately more fulfilling (though still rather futile) lives.
    • Some of the Necrons aren't particularly happy about living forever if it means living forever as a soulless robot and want to go back to being fleshy mortals.
    • The Space Marines avert this in a way: It's stated in the Horus Heresy novels that they are functionally immortal, meaning they will never die of age or infirmity. However, every Astartes has already accepted that they will die in battle. The question is raised at least once of what the marines would do with themselves if the Great Crusade ever ended, but events made the whole question academic anyway.
  • The Soulless in the GURPS supplement GURPS Fantasy II: Adventures in the Mad Lands are an ancient culture whose members neither age nor reproduce, so their civilization has been populated by the same few thousand individuals for millennia. They reached the limits of their creativity in the distant past, got tired of every possible form of entertainment during their culture's decadent period, and now are stuck in an eternity of boredom and repeating variations of the same old pastimes in an effort to discover something that would still interest them.
  • Gamma World adventure GW6 Alpha Factor. The mutant flying squirrels known as Rakees are extremely difficult to kill. They've lived so long that that they're constantly trying to end their lives, such as by attacking adventurers in the hope that they'll be killed.
  • Elves in Eon call themselves "The People of the Curse". Elves can live forever, and get a few other pretty nifty perks. However, as they become older, elves find it increasingly difficult to relate to people around them. This, coupled with the emotional traumas of the few friends they manage to keep dying and degradations of their innate magic inevitably leads to increasingly severe bouts of clinical depression and catatonia. Elves reaching 500 years of age without becoming complete hermits is the stuff of legend. Most open their veins long before then.
  • Eclipse Phase has the "Immortality Blues" negative trait, for people who've lived at least a hundred years and have gotten incredibly bored with life and have trouble motivating themselves (receive half the normal XP award). Fortunately since life extension and Brain Uploading techs have been around for less than a century most transhumans still have a lot to live for.
  • While Palladium Books games often present immortality as largely beneficial and without negative repercussions (in Heroes Unlimited it is both a Mega-Power and a Major Super Ability), in the Palladium Fantasy supplement "Dragons & Gods" one of the deific powers is named "Curse: Immortality". While it allows someone to live forever, it does not make them immune to disease or any form of illness or aging, so that eventually someone will end up a crippled geriatric unable to die. Although the aging process is reduced to about a year per century, so it doesn't exactly become a bad thing until much much later. Some other paths to immortality (Between the Shadows' Dream Maker and Shadows of Light's Reaper in Nightbane, Library of Bletherad's Shadow Self spell in PF, Mystic Russia's necromancy spell of vampirism "Return from the Grave" in Rifts) have inherent insanity-causing attributes (Russia's is only avoided if you feed on blood, like any good ol' Master Vampire), and some (Juicer Uprising's option of becoming a Murder Wraith, Federation of Magic's description of Alistair Dunscon) require you to become an evil monster addicted to killing people on a regular basis to survive.
  • Pathfinder has this as a major risk for liches, and a big part of why these immortal super wizards don't rule the world. They may start with plans for world domination, but with no need to eat or sleep the endless passage of time gets to them. Often they start devoting most of their time to research (many liches are academics at heart or they would never have worked out how to become one) until even that bores them, and they spend countless hours lost in their own thoughts. There's even a creature type, the demilich, that liches have a 1% cumulative chance of turning into for each decade they spend doing nothing because they simply have no interest in the world.
    • See also the nation of Thurvia. Long ago, an Alchemist discovered an Elixir that restored the drinker to the prime of their youth. Regularly drinking this every time you got old effectively gave you a form of immortality. Rather than take it for themselves, however, the leaders of Thurvia said to let the alchemist take it himself, then every year they would make a small batch of the stuff and sell it to clients from all over the world for vast sums of money. Just because they were enlightened enough to not need immortality, didn't mean they couldn't make some money off those who weren't.
  • The Pathfinder example above builds upon lore established for the 2nd edition Dungeons & Dragons setting Ravenloft, where the sourcebook "Van Richten's Guide to the Lich" states that the majority of liches end up committing suicide when they realise they have not only condemned themselves to an eternity devoid of any physical pleasuresnote , but have also rendered themselves inherently incapable of forming bonds with mortals due to the temporal distortion lichdom involves. Because liches don't suffer from mortal frailties, they can easily lose track of time when they get involved in something, and not realise what's happened until it's too late — an example given in the book is a lich sitting down to read a book, then looking up after finishing and realising an entire generation has aged to dust in the time it spent reading and contemplating every single meaning of what it read. With such an alienating form of immortality, the only liches who survive longer than a few decades tend to be either insane, have incredibly strong wills, or are possessed of a sufficiently long-lasting goal to keep them focused on staying existent.
  • While not truly immortal, it's often said in Dungeons & Dragons that the oldest dragons often suffer from immense boredom and world-weariness by the time they reach the final, most powerful stage of their lives. This has a nasty side-effect of causing them to go on kingdom-devastating rampages in order to provoke some heroes into killing them.

  • The Makropulos Affair, a play written by Czech playwright Karel Capek and subsequently adapted into an opera by Leos Janacek, concerns a woman who has been granted 300 years of life through a magic potion, with an option for renewal. She finds that such a long life is an ordeal that leaves her exhausted and numb to human emotions. She decides that death is better.
  • An Ordinary Wonder by Russian Yevgenii Shvarts. There is a wizard in the play, who tells his wife near the end: "But alas, I am immortal, so I will spend the rest of eternity missing you."
  • Tanzder Vampire:
    • "Die Unstillbare Gier" ("The Insatiable Greed") is essentially Von Krolock saying, "Don't live forever, you'll kill everyone you love." It includes recitations of dates from 300 years back, lamenting how he still can't forgive himself for killing people way back then.
    • "Ewigkeit" ("Eternity") is basically the vampire guests of the ball saying that eternity sucks.
    "Eternity is permanent boredom
    A cheerless cycle with neither beginning, nor end
    For all the time the same is repeated from the start
    No exultation, no horror
    Only the boring

    Visual Novels 
  • Tsugumi of Ever17 has eternal youth, immunity from infection, high healing factor and possibly increased strength. On the downside, the handful of people who know about her really want to study her lots. Oh, and she gets sunburned really easily, but she can see in pitch blackness anything due to infravision. She can even pass the immortality on to whoever she pleases. Except two specific characters, one of whom is implied to be changing into a being that exists in the fourth dimension and is thus outside time and effectively immortal as well. Yet all she can do is whine and complain about how much it sucks. She gets better but never seems to see it as a good thing.
  • Monster Prom: Polly, the Hard-Drinking Party Girl ghost wonders about this briefly, on the sense that she fears that she'll someday do everything and have nothing left to do, since she'll likely live forever.
  • Brought up in the visual novel Songs Of Araiah, where it is mentioned that most magicians (who can be immortal) revoke their own immortality after having lived about a thousand years. In addition, immortality works by "freezing" the state that the body is in, meaning that immortals do not age, women can not have children, and their bodies will get neither better nor worse (for example, the lead female, Melissa, will always have to wear glasses, despite the existence of spells which could fix her vision). Outliving loved ones is a minor issue, as a magician can grant immortality to anybody.
  • Sort-of immortality is possible in the Nasuverse but most prominently for this trope, Fate/stay night has Heroic Spirits and Guardians. Archer, during his life, swore over his existence to the world so that he could continue to save people. Eventually, he died still believing in his ideals, but after that he, in his position as a Guardian, is sent back repeatedly to stop devastating conflicts by killing people instead of saving them. He doesn't even get to remember any of this, but he knows it happens and it affects his psyche. Small wonder he decides to wait until he can pulled into a time with Emiya Shirou so he can kill his past self and hopefully commit suicide that way and escape his current life, where he has no free will. Then again, that is a pretty sucky form of immortality and no one takes it up for that reason.
  • Rune from Frozen Essence constantly regenerates and cannot die due to becoming the Life Hex Monument many years ago, and his life simply consists of a neverending cycle of being imprisoned and the painful process of charging the Life Sphere. It's such a miserable existence that he stops caring about anything anymore. In the True End he succeeds in finally being able to rest in peace with a smile on his face.
  • Diego in Havenfall Is For Lovers is a 500-year-old vampire. For the most part he makes the best of his ageless existence, but when the subject of whether or not he'd turn his love interest, he expresses some very strong opinions on the subject.
    Diego: There's a reason there are so many cautionary tales about eternal life.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • Zero Percent Discount: Help me.
  • Quain'tana of Drowtales can feel the centuries creeping into her body and knows she will soon never be able to venture the world again because the lack of mana would quickly cause her natural immortality to cease and her to age. She hopes she will be able to venture the world again before this happens, but fully plans to go through with it even if it does kill her. She knows this all too well because the Empress Diva'ratrika was so old that she was unable to leave her tower, and most elves old enough to experience this wind up committing suicide out of despair.
  • In Jix, Kelelder the Planet Thief got bored after immortality was thrust upon him and started killing his own kind and claiming their colony planets as his own.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • One race attempted immortality through technology, only to have it backfire on them rather badly - as their people invariably went insane after a few normal lifetimes as their mental health didn't regenerate like their bodies did - almost destroying their civilization. The few survivors altered themselves so as to live in a permanent state of senility to prevent something like this ever happening again. The whole ordeal is described in more detail here.
    • Interestingly, they're not the only ones. Humans and other races have a very top-secret longetivity project going on, and a member of the above-mentioned race is actually helping them- he figures they might as well try to get it right this time.
    • Deconstructed in a different direction later: After regaining their full intelligence, memories, and lifespans, the practically-immortal oafa work to perfect and distribute the immortality project Terrans had been struggling with for generations, in order to have actual peers.
      Squid-Sophont: The Plutorialment will question your motives.
      Oafan Ambassador: They are a deep breath too young to understand our motives.
      Squid-Sophont: Old age makes you generous?
      Oafan Ambassador: Longevity is a curse if one has no friends with which to share it.
  • In the Back Story of Rice Boy, a being who identified itself as God gave a mission to three people to find and nominate a Fulfiller, with the promise that as long as they continued searching they would not die. Many centuries and many false Fulfillers later, one of them has abandoned the mission and resorted to prolonging his life unnaturally with the Black Spirit. The second commits suicide by abandoning the mission, knowing that it will kill him. The third, after seeing his friend killed, finally despairs and asks God to kill him as well; but God has something else planned for him.
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Dracula thinks he's Seen It All and is interested in dying. However, he's not stupid enough to die without knowing what comes next, so he comes up with an elaborate scheme to perform reconnaissance on Purgatory.
  • In Fetch Quest: Saga of the Twelve Artifacts, Lionel has to suffer through seeing his Love Interests and other people close to him die while he remains immortal.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • Zombies seem to have this deal. For a while they seem content enough (though having to eat human flesh to keep from decaying away to nothing must've taken some adjusting), but once you're reduced to being a Zombie-Head-on-a-Stick...
    • Done more seriously with Oasis.
      Oasis: I love Torg so badly, the thought he won't return that love makes me want to die. And I can't die!
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, the Nemesites are not immortal, but do have lifespans upwards of a thousand years. That's not a problem for them so far as it goes (indeed, it's what makes their interstellar empire possible in a universe without faster-than-light-travel), but it does mean they outlive any friends they make from other planets. Voluptua is very unhappy to realize how brief Bob's life will be compared to hers.
  • In 8-Bit Theater, Sarda avoids this for the first two weeks of the universe by growing a mustache, but quickly reverts into "Blind, seething rage."
  • As Immortals in El Goonish Shive age, they slowly get more intelligent and powerful. Eventually, they get to the point where they're driven insane from boredom because they're practically omniscient, and eventually commit suicide and take a ton of innocents with them. To avoid such a faux pas, most Immortals "reset" every 200 years, wiping their own memories and starting anew.
  • Jin from Wapsi Square is an immortal, indestructible golem, and she is sick of it. She eventually reaches the point where she would kill herself if it would make her dead. She gets a bit better later, and instead merely wants to grow old together with her boyfriend.
  • A crossover story in Magellan took this Up to Eleven with Gaius, a former mortal that bought his way to immortality, to become an energy being who could live forever. And he did, well after his planet died, his sun extinguished and even every black hole in his dimension had long since evaporated, he was still floating around.
  • This Something Happens strip.
  • Not an example, but the idea is discussed in this Dinosaur Comics strip.
  • Homestuck: The Handmaid, due to being at the bottom of Alternia's caste system should have died naturally at about the age of twenty-six, but is cursed with immortality by Lord English. The only reason she follows his plans is because at the end of her service, she'll finally get to die.
    • In Sburb, an overwhelming majority of all sessions fail in every timeline. This does not mean doomed timelines, which will kill everyone inside of them eventually, but their Alpha timelines. We have no reason to assume that everybody who played Sburb on Earth failed to enter the game, meaning that there are some sessions of Sburb out there that have trapped children inside of them. Now, the Fridge Horror in this is bad enough, but for the people that achieve God Tier, it is the curse of immortality. There is no way for everybody to get Mercy Killed, as at least one person is going to be left, and suicide is neither a Heroic or Just death. They will spend eternity in a game that will kill them over and over and over again, with revival certain every time.
  • In the Goblins spin-off Tempts Fate, a demon Tempts has destroyed curses him with immortality so that when the demon's body regenerates 10000 years later, Tempts will still be around and the demon can take revenge. Tempts, being a thrill-seeker, is initially horrified by the idea of being unable to die, although when he learns he can still die from serious injury, his attitude shifts to Cursed with Awesome.
  • This is a major plot point in Ginpu, where demigods are doomed to spend their lives losing those they love. The BBEG's plan revolves around making a child who is immortal, so he'll have at least one family member that doesn't die.
    • Guess what Morgan's biggest desire is of God? Live, grow old with family, die like a human.
  • In Raven Wolf the titular tribe was cursed by their totem spirits with "removal from the cycle of life" until the domestics (a faction of "civilized" furries) are no more. The usual angst about outliving one's loved ones is averted because anyone who marries into the tribe is cursed as well and their children inherit it, but if they fall in battle their souls are devoured by the wolf spirit. Also they can't hunt, gather, or cultivate, they depend on the charity of others for food.
  • Two Guys and Guy shows what happens when you accept immortality without thinking it through
  • Off-White: Sköll, the wolf who used to chase the sun, is tired of eons of reincarnation and is letting the world die so he can cease existing.
  • In Jack, it's been revealed that it's possible by a sort of cosmic accident for people to "miss their deaths", and thus achieve an immortality of sorts. The drawback is that it's a stasis in which they don't need to eat, sleep or even breath except out of habit, they can't grow or procreate, and they can't progress or improve.
  • Edermask from Magician hardly angsts about his immortality but he is looking for a way to grow old and die naturally.
  • This Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip points out the one consequence of immortality that simply can't be spun in a positive light.
    • This comic shows another little problem with immortality, educational requirement inflation.
  • The "dragon rider" in Game Over Tales: Crouching Ostrich, Hidden Vulture is effectively immortal if she continues winning at her game, but has grown tired of her existence. In the end, she loses her game and dies.
  • In Weregeek, Mark's character in their Vampire LARP thinks that the immortality is overrated, as it means dealing with vampire politics for all of that time.
    Mark/"Prince Allen": Holy crap! Is everyone out to kill me?? This whole undead immortality thing is totally overrated!
  • Martin from Ignition Zero is a Half-Human Hybrid. He is immortal while his friends are not. He notes that being aromantic he won't feel the loss of a lover, but seeing all his family and friends die while he stays forever young isn't any better.
  • Discussed in this strip of minus.. The three kids are talking about how being human is the way to go- magic would make things too easy and living forever would take the satisfaction out of life... then they see Minus floating by on a cloud, and silently watch her from the ground. It implies this trope is just sour grapes about our own mortality.
  • Exvulnerum boasts The titular curse, which not only gives the victim immortality, but causes them to feel the pain of every living being during the night. sometimes even worse than the living being itself. The only way to get rid of it is to transfer it to the person they care about the most.

    Web Original 
  • While Iriana in Ilivais X may be suicidal for reasons unrelated to immortality, the result is the same. She wants to die, but can't no matter how hard she tries or how much she frappes herself.
  • SCP Foundation
    • SCP-910, which makes people essentially immortal. However, they continue to age well past the point where their body would ordinarily shut down and any wound, no matter how minor, never heals. Imagine every nick from shaving, every papercut, every bruise and scrap, raw and hurting for the rest of your life. Now imagine that life never ends.
    • Same goes for SCP-138, who is in constant agony from his wounds.
    • Thanks to his being bound to SCP-963, Dr. Bright can't actually die. Whenever he sleeps, he dreams about the deaths of every body he's inhabited, and when 963 is without a host, he is haunted by the minds of the people he's overwritten. When a camera that reveals its subjects' greatest desire was used to photograph Bright, it produced a photo of Bright's gravestone, with the epitaph "Jack Bright, Resting at Last."
    • SCP-1520 is a 16th century Buddhist monk who attempted to die undergoing a self-mummification process to achieve Buddhahood, but failed and has been trapped in a shrivelled, mummified corpse for over four centuries. Unusual for this trope, the monk doesnt mind exactly, aside from some mild disappointment that he has not achieved enlightenment. He's communicated exactly once with the Foundation, belaying a message meant for a former lover (which was delivered to said lovers descendant under the guise of an unearthed family document) presumably as part of shedding himself of any remaining wordly attachments, and has made no further attempts at communication.
    • SCP-1440 is a kind old man who beat Death at cards, and cannot die. He might be able to enjoy it if Death wasn't such a Sore Loser and cursed him to be a Walking Wasteland who kills/destroys all humans and things made by humans that get close to him, meaning he can do nothing but wander the Earth alone forever. He does at least get a happy ending in Quiet Days.
  • On everything2 user 'santo' treats us with Immortality Blows. a first person, tongue-in-cheek, exploration of this trope to a greater degree than most.
  • Cracked's 5 Reasons Immortality Would be Worse than Death.
  • Tales of MU has one of the few cases of immortal elves who do not avert this. Many elves have spoken at their own funerals and "taking elven leave" is a dwarf euphemism for suicide.
  • The superhero guide How To Hero has an entry on Old Immortals who wish they could die and tips on how to do just that.
  • RWBY has a forced immortality being a major part of why Salem is the show's Big Bad.

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of Justice League, Superman is sent into a barren future, seemingly devoid of humanity... Save for the lonely, less insane, immortal Vandal Savage.
    • The fact that the reason the Earth is barren and ruined is because he destroyed it probably had something to do with it as well.
    • Savage does acknowledge that if he didn't keep busy, he would go (more) insane with the boredom and loneliness. He occupies himself with many projects, from farming to restoring the ruins of Metropolis to dabbling in time travel (which he explicitly can't use to fix things, as he cannot coexist with his past self... Good thing Superman came along). The only thing that really seems to bother him is his guilt of destroying the planet, to the point where he has constructed a fully operational spaceship but doesn't use it because he feels that his isolation is a suitable punishment for his crimes.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: In "Operation FOUNTAIN", neither Sector V nor The Delightful Children are interested in drinking from the Fountain of Youth unlike Leona. In fact, the Delightful Children want to destroy the Fountain claiming it to be a violation to every adult's wish that a child should grow up. They do have a point in this.
  • Gargoyles
    • Has Demona and Macbeth, who become immortal at the same time, with the only way to break the spell that granted it being for one to slay the other, at which point both will die. Demona has no problems with immortality because she is too busy trying to eliminate the human race, whereas Macbeth, forced to leave his loved ones and homeland behind and face the fact he'll outlive anyone he truly cares for, has little worth living for. Demona thinks he wants to kill her out of vengeance for her betrayal years ago, but he's really just... tired. Eventually he finds other things to keep himself occupied. For instance, he tried to replace Arthur Pendragon as the One True King and wasn't too disappointed when he failed. Macbeth never really starts thinking that Living Forever Is Awesome, but he's no longer a Death Seeker either.
    • The 1100-year-old Hudson gives the immortality-seeking Xanatos a lecture on the downfalls of living for so long. "Most of my clan is dead and dust, and I am a stranger in a strange land. Demona and Macbeth are immortal. Has it brought them happiness?"
  • The Transformers don't seem to have a problem with their extremely long lifespans, although a race of sapient robots who can theoretically replace any body parts that become broken or worn out are obviously going to have different perspectives on life than humanity.
    • As most transformers primarily have friends and loved-ones who are also transformers and will live as long as they do, lots of the problems individuals have outliving their social circle don't really apply.
    • Quite a few of them don't reach whatever a Cybertronian's maximum life expectancy is anyway, since they have been fighting in a brutal civil war for millions of years. IDW's run on the comics has taken some time to look at the kinds of effects that can have on an individual's mental health.
  • Somewhat mentioned on a much less emotional and spiritual scale in Jackie Chan Adventures - currently made immortal due to holding a magic object, Finn of the show's Quirky Miniboss Squad, hits a low-hanging bridge from being on top of a train as it goes under it. Indenting the bridge, he notes "Immortality... hurts."
  • In Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, one episode involves Robotnik traveling to Mobius's equivalent of ancient Egypt to retrieve the Chaos Emerald of immortality, which turns out to be in his ancestor's pyramid. Said ancestor's animated mummy actually thanks Robotnik for taking the emerald from him, as he couldn't bear to spend an eternity with Sonic's ancestor who was also in the tomb.
  • Played With on South Park with Kenny. In his case, he keeps dying, yet somehow spontaneously resurrects, without anyone around him even remembering afterwards. It's not so much the immortality that bothers him—it's having to die over and over again.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Lorelei Signal." The women of the second planet of the Taurean system neither age nor die. However, any men on the planet die quickly. They must lure humanoid males to their planet once every 27 years and drain them of their Life Force in order to survive. They can't escape their planet and they can't even have children.
  • In the X-Men cartoon, the immortal villain Apocalypse realizes in "Beyond Good and Evil" that he has been trying to exterminate mutants and humans alike for the thousands of years he has walked the earth and still hasn't won. He laments that he might be stuck for all eternity and instead sets out to annihilate the multiverse to remake it in his own image.
  • The Halloween Episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy is a parody - of sorts - of the legend of Jack o'Lantern. On Halloween, Grim tells his two friends how the prankster Jack tricked him into making him immortal; however, Grim also cut off his head after doing so to teach him a lesson. Jack replaced his head with a pumpkin as he continued to "live in a world that doesn't understand him", only coming out on Halloween. Of course, in the present day, he gets ahold of Grim's scythe and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, sending an army of demonic pumpkins out to destroy Endsville with the intent to cut Grim's head off. In the end, Jack no longer has to suffer this fate, but it's replaced by a worse one: Grim decides that he's overstayed his welcome and cancels the bargain, causing Jack to be Dragged Off to Hell.
  • Mr. Freeze from Batman: The Animated Series has an extended lifespan (not immortal but a good few thousand years) due to his condition, and he might have been fine with that if not for the fact that he can't survive outside of a subzero environment, meaning that whenever he's not in his Tailor-Made Prison cell, he has to wear that big clunky suit of armor all the time. His inability to fully enjoy the world around him causes him so much grief that when an elderly man comes to him asking to be made like him in order to live longer, he thinks the man is crazy.
    Freeze: You want to live like this? Abandoned and alone, A prisoner in a world you can see but never touch. Old and infirm as you are, I'd trade a thousand of my frozen years for your worst day.
  • Samurai Jack:
    • The Lava Monster was explicitly cursed with immortality. Originally a great viking warrior, his people were slaughtered by Aku, and, as a final act of cruelty, Aku decided not to kill the viking, but instead trapped him inside an unbreakable crystal, to prevent him from ever rejoining his people in Valhalla. Over the millennia, the Viking learned to shape the rock and magma around him into a new body, and constructed a maze of traps and hazards for the sole purpose of drawing in a warrior powerful enough to defeat and kill him in battle.
    • Season 5 picks up after a 50 year Time Skip, and one of the first things that happens is the revelation that, as a consequence of Jack being pulled from his own time in the pilot, he hasn't aged at all in that time. His consistent failure to defeat Aku in all that time, and the prospect of spending an eternity in this Bad Future, has by now long since driven him to the edge of the Despair Event Horizon.

    Real Life 
  • Sergeant Major Daniel Joseph "Dan" Daly is commonly attributed as having yelled, "Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?" to the men in his company prior to charging the Germans during the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I, though he was likely referring to immortality as being remembered for all time, which he's so far managed handily, as this entry proves.
    • While the names of the soldiers he addressed are not recorded and they are collectively remembered as "sons of bitches". Daly may have been channeling Frederick The Great of Prussia, who angrily told his grenadiers the same thing (there are a few varying versions, usually "Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben?" or "Racker, wollt ihr denn ewig leben?") when they turned to retreat during the battle of Torgau (1760). In Germany this quote is usually seen in a negative light, even by Frederick's admirers. Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben? later became the title of a 1959 West German movie about the battle of Stalingrad.
      • The anecdote is also told in a longer form (e. g. in a poem by Theodor Fontane), where Frederick is quoted as saying: "Rascals, do you want to live forever? Cheaters!" and the grenadiers reply: "Fritz, don't talk of cheating, for fifteen pfennigs it's enough for today."
  • Some scientists argue that the longer you live, the faster time seems to flow. If you could live forever, then time would go faster and faster until everything was a blur. Eventually, years could pass in a blink of an eye. Your existence would be meaningless, and you wouldn't even remember it.
    • This might be due to the perception of time past versus how long you lived. One year to a 10 year old boy is a significant portion of his life (10%), whereas one year to a 80 year old man is fairly insignificant (1.25%).
      • People also tend to "lose" details as time passes, meaning that that one year may seem shorter because you only remember certain events from it rather than the entire stretch of time, and this gets "worse" as more time separates the present from the year in question.
    • Of course, this is also assuming that it won't plateau after a certain point, after which the immortal person would simply have the effective memory and time-perception abilities of a (however long it takes for your memory to completely fill)-year-old while actually being much older. For instance, if a person's mind can hold eighty or so years of memories, with filtering, after which even important memories from the distant past begin to "disappear," a hundred-sixty-year-old would only remember as far back as their early eighties, so one year would be the same proportion of their memory to them as to their eighty-year-old grandchild, whose birth they just barely remember, as though from their childhood.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche argued that Socrates's "defense" was specifically designed to make the jury condemn him to death, since he was tired of living, and perhaps suffered life as a disease (whether this is what Socrates himself actually thought is anybody's guess, though to be fair being a wise man in a world of phenomenal idiots could have one looking for the sleeping pills).
    • He may have already been dying, and taking this as the painless way out (and proving a point while he was at it). His last words were to tell a disciple he owed chicken in sacrifice to Asclepius and ask him to pay the debt for him. Asclepius was the god of healing; it's possible his debt was because he had been praying to the god to be cured of something.
  • If you assume the theories of Heat Death, Big Crunch, and the like are true, then up to countless trillions of years floating in completely empty space, eternally suffocating, until the protons that form your body decide to disintegrate (if that ever happens), to be eventually crushed into a singularity, or even worse sounds like a very hard price to be for a (relatively) short amount of extra time doing things you enjoy. But you also have forever to get used to it.
  • This. No, really.
  • When asked if he desires an afterlife, outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins answered "Wouldn't it be incredibly tedious after the first thousand years or so?"
  • A survey all around Europe from Readers Digest asked the question "Do you want to live forever?" On average, only 30-40% of people said yes. Americans were asked the same question too, and the majority said yes. It's been used to demonstrate cultural differences.
  • Susan Ertz sums it up in a pithy quote: "Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon."
  • Philosophers of the theological theory of Pandeism hypothesize this as one possible reason why an immortal deity would wish to cease to be one, and become the Universe instead. Expounded upon in God's Debris.
  • Less conventional immortals: Henrietta Lacks and several other people, whose names are generally unknown, immortalized forever in HeLa, HEK239, SH-SY5Y and other cell lines. They're obviously not human anymore, but still distinct living entities that can grow and proliferate, sometimes even running out of control, as summarized here by The Other Wiki. Some even argue that HeLa should be considered a new species, due to its self-sufficiency as well as significant genetic and ecological differences from the human source.
  • Brooke Greenberg stays young. Unfortunately, she is a 16-year-old who looks like and mentally (as far as anyone knows) is a baby, and thus cannot talk or take care of herself. But, she miraculously has survived through various illnesses such as stomach ulcers and brain tumors with no explanation.
  • Buddhists, Hindus, and Jainists all believe that life is suffering, and that people are forced to repeatedly die and be reborn until they rid themselves of karma.
  • Christian theology holds that human beings are inherently immortal, but whether this will be pleasant or agony depends on the life you lead in this mortal coil. Heaven is very much Living Forever Is Awesome, while Hell is very much this trope. The descriptions of Hell are: "They will be tormented day and night, forever and ever," and "Their worm will not die, nor will their fire be extinguished." It is a place full of despair and solitude, with no hope of any improvement, and the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus further implies that it is possible to see Heaven from Hell-see it, but never reach it. Christian theology also makes a point that life on Earth is a huge pain in the ass too, so eternal life on Earth wouldn't be very fun either. And Orthodox Sacred Tradition states it clear that if The Lord hasn't allowed people to die, they would be demons, not simply Humans Are Flawed that we are now.
    • A substantial minority of Christians argue that certain other passages from the Bible imply that eventually Hell itself and those within it will be destroyed (possibly to avert this trope, as a final act of mercy towards them from God), and that the "eternal" part of the descriptions of Hell are referring to that eternal destruction.
  • This video explains in great detail why you would not want to live forever.
  • Woody Allen joked that "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it through not dying."
  • It should be noted that there are a lot of Required Secondary Powers that a human would need to actually live relatively sane and happy for any amount of time much more than the current human lifespan. For starters, if you simply cured aging, things would still go south relatively quickly. The human brain does in fact have a finite capacity for information storage and goes haywire when it's full. And that's not even getting to trying to keep someone mentally stable and on a positive mood indefinitely.
  • When asked if he would want to be immortal, computer-programmer Edsgar W. Dijkstra replied: "If 10 years from now, when you are doing something quick and dirty, you suddenly visualize that I am looking over your shoulders and say to yourself: 'Dijkstra would not have liked this', well that would be enough immortality for me."
  • It's important to note that because all fiction as we know it is based on the foundations of our reality, and we've never seen anything that ever lasted "forever" in the truest sense of the word, anyone who finds this trope and related ones like And I Must Scream or Fate Worse than Death can take some heart, that based on laws and principals of logic, it's pretty much impossible to be immortal.
    • Becoming an immortal being is itself a logical paradox. You can't be born of cellular material and not have those cells die off. To be truly immortal, your cells would most likely need to change into energy, which means everything you are changes into energy (which, in a way, is both what all of our earthly fates are anyway as well as what is the most primary wellspring for being born in the first place). Even through magic means, all it does is change part of the cellular structure so that it's simply exponentially more resilient to normal wear and tear. Magic, as cast by imperfect beings with physical (and therefore inherently imperfect, even those recognized as Gods) properties, will be to some degree imperfect and able to be defeated or reversed.
    • And then the other thing to consider is that the universe is in a constant state of change as well as having an overwhelming degree of it undiscovered. How can you determine a state of true immortality cannot be destroyed by anything in the universe if so much of the universe is unknown? Maybe a jump through a black hole or a quasar bath would cure it. Either way, this immortality-granting power is a product of the universe, and if even the universe is subject to entropy and death (and eventual rebirth) then everything subject to it is as well. Every character listed on this page and its brethren pages are still going to die someday. Sure, they'll still suffer upwards of millions of times more than most people ever will, but they still have an out to look forward to. One way or another.
  • The story of Mbah Ghoto. He's outlived his four wives, 10 siblings, and all his children. His grandchildren took care of him, and he's been waiting for his time to come with a coffin prepared. He finally got his wish and passed away at the age of 146, making him the oldest recorded human being (supposedly).
  • This Fallout 76 player found that their character is unkillable... making the game boring and pointless. They addressed Bethesda support multiple times who could do nothing but give them ways of checking on the character's current status. Which is always alive, no matter what.

Okay, seriously, PUT THAT HAND DOWN.

Alternative Title(s): Living Forever Sucks