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On being immortal (series: notes to myself)

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I grew up with two conceptions of immortality in my mind. It took me a while to realise that they shaped my behaviours and my choices. My identity. Neither turned out to be credible. But both were useful, for they taught me a lesson. As a Catholic, I was brought up believing in a dream. I was immortal. Not backwards, for I was born. But forward, because I would not die. Actually, this is not the dream, for it may be the worst of all nightmares. It is the second part that turned it into the best deal ever. I was taught, since I can remember, that if I behaved decently and repent about the rest, I was going to live a life of heavenly bliss forever, and ultimately resurrect, just the way I was (or even better), and join all the people I had ever loved and indeed billions more.  As a kid, I worried, not deeply yet frequently, about eternal damnation, the nasty side of being immortal. Speak of side effects! Better be annihilated, I calculated, than suffer horribly forever. And sometimes I a