Today's New York Times Sunday Magazine has an essay by Jim Holt, Eternity for Atheists.
If death is not extinction, what might it be like? That’s a question the Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick, who died five years ago, enjoyed pondering. One of the more rococo possibilities he considered was that the dying person’s organized energy might bubble into a new universe created in that person’s image. Although his reflections were inconclusive, Nozick hit on a seductive maxim: first, imagine what form of immortality would be best; then live your life right now as though it were true. And, who knows, it may be true. “Life is a great surprise,” Vladimir Nabokov once observed. “I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.”
Perhaps the surprise about eternity for atheists is that there may not be a vast distinction between this life and the next. If you can't get it right in this life, why would the next be any different?