People always want what they cannot have. More often than not, they just want time: time to live, time to heal, time to love, time to enjoy, time to breathe. As someone who has had nothing but time in her life, I’d like to shed some light on the fact that having unlimited time isn’t always as great as it seems.
The natural order of the world is that we are all immortal souls in mortal bodies, meaning our bodies all have to die someday. I happen to be an anomaly though. I don’t know if what I am would be called immortal or I just have an extremely long life-span. Either way it’s not easy being one of the only such creatures on this planet, if there even are any others, that is.
Most people find their purpose in life. Once they accomplish it, they become satisfied and can rest easy. I thought I had fulfilled what I was meant to do as well once. But then I found out that I still had an eternity to live, and that I wasn’t done in this world yet, nor would I be any time soon. When you continue to live a life after you’ve fulfilled what you thought was your purpose, everything becomes harder. And what is most bothersome is that finding purposes seems to be the only thing I can do with my infinite number of days, and it is very tedious.
If a person were dying, they would most likely have one main wish: to have had more time. They would have many regrets and would wish they’d spent their days differently.
My hearts breaks for them. I only wish that I could lend them some of the limitless time that I’ve been given. I would gladly do that.
Some would say that I am ungrateful and should do something positive with the time I’ve been given instead of whining about it. To those people, I would say that a part of me does agree with you, but I have also learned that no one has the right to judge another person until they’ve walked a mile in their shoes and know what they’re talking about.
So, it’s time I finally talk about it and let my story be heard.
Frankly, immortality has been both a blessing and a curse. I have already done so much with the unlimited number of days I’ve gotten to live. Some were good, some were bad and some were average. I’ve gained a lot but I’ve lost a lot too. And that’s always the hardest part: the loss.
The worst part of immortality is that you have to watch so many of the people you care for die. They no longer exist and unlike them, you have to carry the weight of the loss on your shoulders for eternity and it is so exhausting.
I envy the people who get to grow old together and die together. When you have an endless life, love seems like a burden than something that fulfills you and sets you free. There is always so much fear in you for the inevitable future where the people in your life leave you.
It must feel so wonderful to have found someone to spend the rest of your life with and to not have to worry about outliving them. I’ve lived a very long life already and I’ve loved a great many people, which by default means that I’ve had to lose a great number of people as well. No matter how many times it happens, the death of someone you love shatters you and you carry the pain with you for all of time. It is not the kind of pain you get used to after a few times, since every soul is unique and every bond you form with someone is special in its own way. Every loss is different. The only constant is the pain that follows it.
So far, the loss has come in many ways. I’ve sat next to one of my closest friends when she was on her death bed and watched the life leave her eyes. I’ve answered phone calls that informed me of the death of someone I care about. For a while, I would get scared every time the phone rang in case it was about another person I had just lost. But those were the involuntary losses which couldn’t have been helped. There were other people in my life who saw the challenges involved in befriending an immortal and decided for themselves that they did not want to associate with someone like that. I can’t really blame them though. After all, it must be disconcerting to know that someday if you live long enough, you’re going to grow weaker and more wrinkled while your immortal friend will still look as young and robust as she did a century ago. Oh, how I wish I had the luxury of walking away, to not be the one left behind. It gets very lonely.
Most people are fortunate enough to only experience a handful of heartbreaks and losses in their lives. But when you have all the time in the world, that number multiplies several hundred times. Each time you lose someone, the pain is so raw and intense that you feel like you’ll never recover from it. But eventually the pain fades into a dull ache and you start to live again. You never truly forget that person though. You just don’t remember them as often as before.
It pains me to admit this but I’ve lost so many people that I can’t quite remember all their names and faces. It makes me feel ashamed of myself. It feels like an insult to their memory, even if they existed hundreds of years ago.
Among the people I care about is my family. Thinking about them always makes me sad though. Not because I miss them per se, but because I miss the idea of them. I miss the idea of a constant in your life that is always there when you need them. I lost my family a very long time ago. I don’t even remember what they look like. I don’t remember the person who birthed me, if that even is how I came about in this world. I’m not like everybody else, I know that. But because I have no one around me who remembers my past, I don’t know how I came about and reached this point in my life. I don’t know where I was born, where I grew up, where I lived and for how long. There are so many parts of my life that are just a blank and of which I have no recollection.
I envy the people who have someone around them who asks for them and are always at home waiting to hear about their day. I envy the fact that they have someone who they can ask questions about their childhood. I wish I had that as well. It would make me feel less alone on this planet at times.
Another inconvenience that immortality has caused me is that I’ve forgotten what ‘favorites’ feel like. Those who have favorite things are so fortunate, because having a favorite thing in your life means that whenever you come across it, you feel happier even if just for a little while. You experience a sort-of high. And sometimes, that high is quite large in magnitude and that moment becomes one of the best moments of your life, something you fondly reminisce for the rest of your life.
But when you’ve lived for centuries, you have too many favorites in your life to keep track of and eventually too much time passes by for that something to remain a fond memory anymore, so it loses its preciousness. Of course, new favorites come along the way. But they all end up in a forgotten pile in your memory when too much time has passed. And it’s sad really, because a lot of things in life begin to lose their luster and you don’t feel excited about the little things anymore.
I miss the friends that are no longer with me Everything seemed more exciting with them around. Whenever something great or awful happens, I think to myself, “Oh I can’t wait to tell him/her that” and it takes me a few seconds to remember that the person I thought of has already been gone for many years. Yes, I make new friends and share deep moments with them too, but eventually, they all end up becoming distant memories. Some days I wonder if caring for people is even worth it, since the end result is always the pain of loss. I continue to persevere though.
I try to keep track of all the people I have ever held close to my heart. I keep journals where I write about important moments in my life, because each and every person I encountered and befriended has, at some point, meant a lot to me even if I don’t remember them well anymore. I feel it would be an insult to their memory if I let myself forget about them completely.
I wonder where they all are now, and if Heaven and Hell really do exist. How many of the people I knew made it into Heaven and how many didn’t?
There were times when my immortality was exploited and used against me. Those were the worst experiences of my life. Some horribly insane people caught the truth about what I was and they tortured me for their own pleasures. The beauty about mortality is that there’s only a certain amount of pain your body can handle before it gives way to the blissful silence of death. With my immortality, each time they inflicted pain on me, it was excruciating but eventually I would heal completely, only to start the torture all over again. Those were the worst few months of my life.
I don’t remember how I escaped or if someone helped set me free. I just remember running away and not letting myself stop for hours upon hours, lest someone was following me and caught up to me. A part of me believed that I must have done something really bad in my past life, so I was resurrected as an immortal to suffer immensely. But these thoughts only materialize in my worst moments. So, I try very hard to be a good person, to always have courage and be kind, so that maybe I could make up for the person I once must have been.
I don’t even know how I came to be this way, or how long my immortality will last. Maybe I’m not immortal and I just have an extremely long life-span. Isn’t God supposed to be the only eternal being? Either way, no matter what I am, I don’t think I’ll be dying any time soon. So then, what is my fate? Where will I end up? Will I be able to make it into Heaven? What will become of me?
The truth is that if I were given a choice between life and death at this point, I would most probably welcome an ending. Maybe then I could finally have something to live for, something to strive for. I’m not very religious but when I do have rare moments where I pray with all my heart, I pray for a satisfying ending to my long and tedious life. It’s not that I wish for death, I just find peace in the idea of an actual ending, so that maybe I can work hard to only do good until that time comes. Maybe then it will all have been worth it.
I often wonder if there are other beings like me out there. I wonder how they’re faring, if they have similar thoughts as mine, and if they tend to feel just as lonely as I do sometimes. Maybe we will find each other one day. Whether or not we manage to do that, I would just like to say a few things to them which I wish someone had said to me as well:
I know immortality isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Like anything in this world, it has its pros and cons. We’ve had a long journey and there’s still a long way to go. But eventually, our life too will come to an end. I don’t know how or when, but I just have a feeling that it will. Maybe you do as well. Until then, let’s do our best to spread joy and strength to those around us. Our time will come. This too shall pass. So, let’s experience more, live more, love more, laugh more, and cherish the good, the bad and everything in between. We will find a way back to the ones we care for. And who knows, we might finally find our family and get to start anew. So, till then, please hang in there. And remember, that I am immensely proud of you.
Artwork by Sephiroth-Art