2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the beloved classic Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, and a few of us were asked to answer this question: What if you could live forever?
Here’s my answer:
If you’d asked me this question at age 10, the age Winnie Foster is in Tuck Everlasting, I would have given an entirely different answer. At 10, I had my whole life ahead of me, and one of my only real worries was what book I’d take with me next up into my tree, in my big backyard, that had a place to sit that seemed as if it was created just for me. I would have said that living forever sounded like a grand idea. Endless days of reading in the tree, springtime afternoon naps in our backyard hammock, playing with our pets. That would be great, right? It would! But! I’m 38 now, and have 3 kids, and just can’t imagine outliving them. I also think that, if one were to live forever, a certain appreciation for life and all its wonder would start to wane, giving way, eventually, to crushing ennui (see Only Lovers Left Alive-a Jim Jarmusch film).
So, I suppose, in the end, my answer is, no. If I was offered the chance to live forever, I’d have to decline, and would decline happily. I love that we’re given a relatively short time (in the grand scheme of things) on this planet, and thus are almost compelled to live every day like it might be our last. Yeah, I kind of love that.
About Tuck Everlasting:
Doomed to – or blessed with – eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a starnger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.