In exploring a little used trail in Upper East Spotsylvania you have stumbled upon Cortez’ famed Fountain of Youth. Fortunately your grasp of archaic Spanish and Aztec, plus your encylopaedic knowledge of mythology has enabled you to deduce this…Well, it was that or you were thirsty and took a drink from the dancing pool of water with your trusty Lifestraw.
Bam! You are now 23 and the opposite gender of where you started. Making your way back to civilization, a quick shopping trip for new clothes and a little research reveals that you can only drink form the fountain and regain your youth every 20 years but you will switch genders every time you do.
Yeah, explaining it to the wife is the first obstacle. Then there’s all that stuff about job, certifications, employment history, etc. Can I be positively identified by DNA? Even if I can, how do I explain what happened to The Authorities? They will impound the Spring for sure.
Is it still your DNA though? I suspect you’d have to somehow get a whole new set of IDs, not to mention declare yourself dead. My first thought was to get my wife to drink and then she could fill the car up for a change. When I pointed this out to her she responded “Have fun with your period and the resulting cramps because you’re probably going to die or wish you were…”
Just to add to the hypothetical you maintain your memories so you’d remember every iteration.
Also, Ponce De Leon not Cortez, my grasp on Spanish Conquistadors plain blows.
The first time around I’m seriously going to be screwed. Especially if my fingerprints and DNA don’t get a makeover as well. “Officer, I have no idea why my fingerprints are the same as some 51 yo guy. Right down to the scars.” Getting back to the States would be a major challenge.
But assuming I could make it stateside and gain access to enough of my money. I’d actually have it easier unprepared the first time around as a woman. I’d go to a woman’s shelter and present myself as an abused woman on the run and refuse to provide any information other than some bogus location that I cannot go back to. That would give me time to review options and make a plan.
I’d be in better shape for subsequent iterations though. I’d already have an identity with a full legitimate background and all history ready to step into once I took the next drink. I thought about setting up the whole bequeathed in my will thing but decided I’d be better off just having built an entirely separate life and finance package for the new me. My family would get my old assets and not wonder who this mysterious cousin that no one ever heard of was that inherited a big chunk of change.
I’d probably have to change nationalities one of the next few times as the information network keeps closing in.
I think I would be OK with trying out being a guy for twenty years, but I’d definitely want to switch back after that, and that would probably be my last drink from the fountain. Thirty-seven extra years of life would be pretty cool; immortality with no chance to put down permanent roots or have a family, not so much.
(In terms of handling the practicalities, I guess my cover story would be something along the lines of “my parents were crazy off-the-grid cultists who homeschooled me and didn’t register my birth, and I’ve only just escaped and I don’t want them to know where I am.” It’s pretty difficult to disprove, and there are spiritual abuse survivors groups that would help someone in that situation get documentation and integrate into modern life, as guilty as I’d feel about taking advantage of them. Then take the GED exam, enroll in community college, and be well on my way to being a person with some record of existence again.)
If we’re going down the path a little further you keep your memories, life experiences, and skill sets but your DNA and fingerprints would change.
The more I read what you’ve written (and great responses so far, keep them coming!) the more I realize you’d have to do the whole Adeline thing and change your whole life. Unlike her at least you could bring someone you care about along for the ride. Does that make your choice to drink any different (Assuming you have foreknowledge of what the fountain was about)?