Q. If you could stay healthy (“biologically young, chronologically old”), how long would you want to live?
As long as I can sustain belief.
It depends a lot on how long the people that I care about could live. Would I want to watch other people die? And how flexible the definitions of identity, relationship, and self are. Already the myriad of experiences at my fingertips have made me question my gender, my roles, my nationality, my everything.
Life is hard when we have to navigate competing narratives—as an individual, and as a society.
Monogamy? Family? Citizenship?
And resources—would I have resources to sustain myself? Would my quality of life be tremendously different? Would I choose to own less and do more? Would I hoard, or would I give?
Would I still taste pomelos? Would coffee still wake me up? Would I still have an orgasm? Would there be anywhere new to see?
Would everyone choose heroin? Or would we stop smoking?
There would be so much to foster in this modern culture…so much minutia—how would we handle all our memories?
Could we plug ourselves into a hard drive and download a bit? Would we have to sleep more? Or sounder?
Would communication become less linear? Would everyone segue between thoughts, concepts, and metaphors with fluidity? Or would we have inadvertently created one language, with less unknowns—and less romance—less heritage?
How would our culture(s) handle so much more? Would we have more specialist knowledge? … Eccentrics with experiences that were so myriad that they prohibited each from creating sound relationships with others? Or would there be a greater unity buttressed by the overlapping experiences of so many people?
Would people choose to die more? And would that be acceptable?
Would they find lack of change increasingly oppressive? Would they take greater risks?
Or would the idea of losing 500 years of life in a single day begin to outweigh glory and fame? Would we ALWAYS choose safe sex?
Would we revere age and wisdom more? Or continue to celebrate youth and shapeliness?
In a world where resources have never been limitless, would society choose which people were worth most and allow them greater years? And could that ever be anything other than arbitrary and without nuance?
Q. If you knew that you had an extra 50 years in front of you, how might you change your life?
I would live it exactly as I do now. And I would choose to live as long as I can—because daily we have the opportunity to choose life, or not. And daily we struggle to accept change and trudge forward.
Q. Would you wish a 500-year-life on your kids if you couldn’t have one, too?
I would wish my children to make their own choices. The day my son was born I wept because I realized I wouldn’t know him in his old age, because I wouldn’t always be there to protect him, and because I realized that I could never be everything he needed.
Parents have to make peace with that from the beginning. The day you begin to love, loss looms large.