Slowly I watch the countryside pass by as my car guides itself along the empty windy roads.
2050 already, I think to myself, time sure does fly. I glance at both my kids deep asleep on the back seats. My oldest son’s lanky legs and arms are sprawled out, his height has already surpassed my own. He has bulked out slightly since college and his slight facial scruff further cements the fact that he is no longer the teenage boy I keep picturing in my mind, but a young adult. Even more baffling, is the fact that this is about the oldest looking I’ll see him.
It’s strange for those of us who lived most of our lives before the Great Reversal that took place in the 2030s. My son takes it for granted that when we arrive at the family’s New Year celebration that his grandparents will look a little younger and a little healthier than last time we saw them. Advanced technology is working away in every one of his grandparent’s cells, slowly reversing the wear and tear caused by decades of imperfect molecular processes. I myself am already in maintenance mode. I barely experienced the increasing stiffness and tiredness that comes with age before the nano-particles stuffed with custom designed proteins were injected into me to reverse the aging process. Now, the few hours of pickup family basketball and late night board games at my parent’s place will barely make me sore the next day.
The craziest thing is that my grandpa, my kids’ GREAT grandpa, might already be healthy enough to join us in basketball. I used to worry about him losing his mind to Alzheimer’s, now instead I’ll have to worry about losing my own mind when he slams all my jump shots to the ground.
A whining noise interrupts my thoughts and I look up to see the intense eyes of the family dog staring at me to open the window. Those same eyes had given me that stare since even before my children were born. I tell the car to roll down the window and immediately the dog’s head shoots out the window, her giant grin and ears flopping in the wind as she sniffs in the fresh air. I guess some things don’t change.
In answering this question, there are an incredible number of details that are dependent on how we reach escape velocity in aging. Are the anti-aging interventions incredibly expensive or difficult to maintain? Are they easily controlled by governments or other institutions? Can they be interfered with easily? For instance, could one easily kill or age their neighbor?
All this said, I will try to procede without answering these questions and, for simplicity’s sake, assume that most people will easily be able to avoid aging and that they will not need to fear threat of age-causing oppression from institutions or individuals. Though I think these assumptions aren’t incredibly realistic, it allows us to think what the daily lives of the immortal will look like.
In some sense, the daily lives of those who don’t age look similar to ours today. A genuine concern for longer run consequences, however, more intensely colors all that they do in some very interesting ways.
Consider their hobbies.
Gardening is now less concerned with this next year’s yields and high-yield permaculture gardening has become incredibly common. While annuals are still popular, it’s even more popular to be cultivating exotic woods for furniture and construction.
Speaking of which, homes are built to be more permanent as people wish them to last a millenium. Construction itself becomes something of a hobbie with people taking hundreds of years to build their homes.
Scientific research becomes a more popular pastime. Learning has become ever more valuable and enjoyable. One popular research area is that of human resurrection. After seeing so many generations of posterity mature, it is only reasonable to desire to see those who came from before. Several major religious movements have also stressed the importance of these endeavors as well.
Of course, much scientific research is being done on efficient resource use and environmental restoration and conservation. (Another reason for the interest in resurrection is that voluntary death with a promise of future resurrection has been proposed as a potential resource conserving measure.) Few people choose to die; more find it morally reprehensible to have children; but the majority are very interested in having large families, either growing their endless dynasties and gaining influence or just fulfilling what they see as religious duties. Polygamy has become popular among some.
It is clear that this future is not free of conflict both inter- and intra-generational.
Loyalty to one’s generational identity is, for some, stronger than ever. For others, your clan is your greatest source of identity and purpose. Even among this second group, there are power grabs and infighting; in the larger clans you could say there are full on revolutions.
It’s more important that ever to be involved and informed on politics and the trends of cultures and societies. Changes in the world are no longer the next generation’s problem. Culture used to change when the old passed on and the young touch the torch, but now division and war are the only way to make large change.
Despite this conflict, most lead a charmed life but will be quick to remind you that life has its seasons. There is much work to be done, and there are many problems to be solved, and at this point most suspect there always will be.