I LOVE my free bus pass. It’s been one of the advantages of getting older and it’s great my younger children can travel free now too.

When they place their card on the scanning machine, it informs the bus driver of the expiry date. When I use mine it says “Expires: never”. That always gives me a wry smile and this week I commented on it by saying to the kids that perhaps I’m immortal.

They asked me what it means and so followed a discussion about whether it would be a good thing to have immortality. I observed that it was a rather philosophical topic to have while on the top of a 26 bus, on the way to Musselburgh to go charity shopping! Then they asked me what philosophical meant!

“So let’s have a philosophical discussion about immortality,” I suggested, not thinking they’d take me seriously, but they did.

They raised many ideas on what to do with all that time, such as “we could watch and make TikToks forever, play Roblox to infinity and beyond!”.

But soon they all agreed that doing that all the time would destroy the enjoyment and become boring.

“Just do things like this forever maybe,” was one comment. “What, travel on a 26 bus forever? That would definitely get boring!” was a sibling’s reply!

“No, I mean, just do stuff together, you know, with people you love.”

Then came the realisation that immortality would be a very sad and lonely experience, unless it was shared by the people in your life who made you happy.

So began a list of people the kids would want to share their immortality with: close family, extended family, friends, even a football coach so my daughter could play football forever and become the best at it.

Our dog Ceilidh was on the list, of course, as was our goldfish.

I watched and listened as my children talked about who gave meaning in their lives. They were describing not just their family and loved ones but their “village”.

Then a problem was posed: “The trouble is, if we are immortal, we will meet lots of new people, you know, fall in love, make new friends, and we will not want to lose those people either, so maybe we could have the power to make other people immortal too.”

“But, then, they would miss the other people they love,” my daughter reflected.

“And, after making them immortal, we might get annoyed by them and regret having to be with them forever,” said my other daughter. This made them compile another list: of all the folk they’d definitely not want to share their immortality with!

Our stop was approaching and our discussion abruptly ended. But the thread was picked up again as we sat in our usual seat, drinking hot chocolate after our charity shopping.

There was agreement that being immortal wasn’t such a good idea after all and it moved onto the topic of heaven and perhaps that’s the place where you ‘live’ forever.

The existence, or otherwise, of heaven was a philosophical discussion all of its own, but we imagined what eternity would be like.

“I think,” I said, sensing it was time for me to voice my opinion, “that immortality, or eternity, is encapsulated in a moment that lasts forever.”

It was met with looks which, if put into words, would translate as “eh?”

They sipped their hot chocolate as I tried to explain what I meant.

“I think it’s not so much the time we have, but what we do with it and how we appreciate it. I mean, time is limited for all of us, although some people have a shorter life than others, and yes, that is really sad.

“But what’s sadder is not using the time we have. So it’s about how we fill our life with simple magical moments, even on a stressful day when things seem to be going wrong. They are our immortal moments.”

What followed was a brainstorm compiling a list of simple moments they could remember that they’d like to make immortal.

Their list was extensive and included the one we were in: having hot chocolate together on a sunny day in Musselburgh sitting on our usual seat.

After we’d finished, we caught the 26 back home. This time, the kids huddled round me as I placed my bus pass on the card reader, checking what I’d told them was true.

Sure enough it came up: “Expires: never.”

Just like our “immortal magic moments”.