It's October 2066. Our 100th reunion at Middlebury College in Vermont is nine months away. Right before our reunion in 2017, the anti-aging drug, Ageless, was discovered. I didn’t want to go to that reunion. It’s hard enough getting up my courage to socialize in crowds, but now everyone was talking about the demise of mortality, and not as a big plus. We were scared.
The College and Reunion Committee had created a number of workshops to address the global issues related to the new reality, eternal life. Workshop topics included the impact of population growth and climate change on food and housing. Others would address the political implications. We were even slated to discuss the ethical and religious decisions ahead.
This was all too much for me. All I could worry about was money. Yes, that was self-centered, but my accountant had just told me that I only had enough money saved in my retirement account to live another 20 years. There’s a big difference between 20 years and eternity.
Remember the big question when we graduated in 1967? “What will I do with the rest of my life?” Now, it was simply, “What will I do?” I had no clue. As someone who’d had at least seven different careers before I retired - for the second time - in 2015, I was stymied. A review of those seven careers and numerous paid and volunteer jobs revealed interests and experience in higher education, cultural diversity, the arts, writing and entrepreneurship, pointing me towards possibilities, but no answers.
What about “relationships” in endless time? I had been married twice so I knew that time can work strange ju-ju on love. Courage, Anne!
In the end, I went to the 50th reunion. In summary, we saw complacency go out the door with mortality. We resolved to act on our values. In the past, I had signed petitions and given donations to good causes, but now I needed to take action to survive.
We also realized that our lives would be influenced by the interests, experiences, values and motivators that had always guided us. The intensity of our conversations at the 50th reunion was equalled by the laughter and joy we had being together, and the excitement we shared setting off into the breach once again.
Today, October 1, 2066, I work for an organization that promotes global peace, now a somewhat narrow goal in the face of intergalactic expansion. I live in an intergenerational, multi-cultural community. Singing and writing remain constants in my life.
My eldest son, Peter Campion, is still a poet. It used to be that a poet hoped for immortality, at least in the memory of scholars. Like the rest of us, he achieved immortality taking a pill. His brother, Ned Campion, was a software engineer until the computer went the way of the buggy whip. Fortunately, his entrepreneurial experience paid off and our family no longer has to worry about money.
The beliefs that hold my community together are the inherent worth and dignity of every person, a search for truth, the democratic process, the creation of a world community, social justice and a respect for nature, the same ones that have guided us all towards peace during the past 50 years.