If you would never age and never die, would you ever get tired of living?If you asked me ten years ago, I would have said no. Now I’m not so sure. Here’s why:
I left home in 2001 to go to college. I wanted to leave everything and everyone I’d known, and experience new things.
A rural junior college three hours from home sounded fantastic. It was.
I stayed up as late as I wanted, went where I wanted, ate what I wanted. I discovered I loved cooking and tackled anything difficult to prepare, like souffles and divinity, just to prove that I could. My fridge was filled with vegetarian and ethnic dishes my “meat and potatoes” family wouldn’t touch.
Then there were my new friends and roommates. I met people from all over the world. Nearly every weekend I went camping, caving, rock climbing, or off-roading. When a roommmate started dating a farmer, I came home one day to find a goose in our shower. When I transferred to a university the fun didn’t stop; Spring Break in a houseboat on Lake Powell, the impromptu trip to Las Vegas, the old couch on skis careening down the sled hill. I never wanted my social life to change.
Oh, and somewhere in all that, I studied. A life-long nerd, I reveled in classes like as diverse as Balkan History since 1389, American Nature Writers, Drawing I, Public Speaking, Period Styles (history for theatre set designers), and Human Development. Once I decided to study natural resources, I found myself enjoying Plant Biology, Recreation Policy and Planning, Fundamentals of Soil Science, Wildland Recreation Behavior, and Living with Wildlife. There were so many other classes I would have taken given enough time and money.
By my senior year, though, things had changed. I had eight credits left to earn my degree. I needed twelve to stay on my parent’s insurance plan, so I flipped through the glossy course catalog. Nothing looked appetizing, no, nothing looked even remotely palatable. I’d taken all the arts and humanities classes I could stand. They were all for freshmen anyway. The cooking classes were for future chefs with wicked knife skills. I knew I didn’t want to draw, paint, or build rustic furniture. After a couple of hours, I slammed the catalog closed. I eventually found two classes, but I couldn’t believe anyone would want to be an eternal student.
And it wasn’t just the courses that became boring. One by one, my friends evaporated into jobs, families, and different universities. I didn’t replace very many of them. The places I went to meet people were now full of freshmenwho were not really that interesting anymore. My summer job sent me outdoors all week, so when roommates went camping, I stayed in town. I quit rock climbing because the shoes hurt my feet. Today, I still cook, but I don’t seek out many difficult recipes. I don’t have anything more to prove to myself given my current outlook.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bored with life. I have this blog and the novel I’m writing, but what if I run out of things to write the way I ran out of things to cook? With unlimited time and good health, would I eventually become tired of everything?
Maybe I just grew up. I have fewer friends now, but we know each other more deeply. There are some activities and areas of study I’m bored with, but my advanced biology classes left me with a fascination for the genetics that lead me to write science fiction. Is every interest that fades replaced by something new?
Would you want to be an eternal student at Life University, or would you eventually want to graduate?
I don’t know, but my own experience tells me it could happen, given a long enough life.
Note: This post was written about a year ago. Click here to read one I wrote more recently.