As I promised, I did yesterday’s exercise as well. It was much harder than I thought. What did survival mean? I’ve already tried simply existing and found that miserable, so existing wouldn’t do. However, surviving without growth wouldn’t be a meaningful life either. Finally I settled on not just continued existence but growth and self-actualization. With that, I began to write down items. Some were obvious, but I found myself debating several items when there were fewer spots left. Here’s the list in the order I wrote them down in.
3. Water. All three of these needs should be obvious.
4. Writing. It’s what I do, and is what I couldn’t see myself living without.)
5. Math. My intellectual passion and another thing I couldn’t see myself living without now that I’ve discovered it.
6. Friends. No matter our differences, these are the people I go to in times of need.
7. Community. Some would argue that friends and community are the same thing. I say they’re not. Community is a sense of belonging, no matter our differences but sharing some common bond. We may not all be friends–heck, we may not all like each other. We just have a place where we belong and where other people like the same thing.
9. Wanderlust. I want to feel free to explore at any time, to be able to step out the door and have a grand adventure without anything stopping me.
10. Love. Love for people, unconditional love, love of writing and math and knowledge, love of all kinds.
11. Happiness. I moved in part because I wasn’t happy. I may not be any better off in other areas, but I’m definitely much happier.
12. Humor. I like laughing and finding something to laugh at in everything, no matter how irreverent. If the world stopped being funny, I’d be very sad.
13. Books. My escape route, my first love, a source of knowledge, and great source of entertainment.
14. Hope. For a better future, for improved life situations, that everything’s going to be okay.
15. Intellectual challenge. My brain needs to be stimulated on a regular basis. When it doesn’t, it stagnates, and then things get ugly.
16. Peace of mind. I worry a lot, and I’m known for taking on far more than anyone should be able to handle at once. This is not a good combination, especially when it begins to stress me out.
17. Change. I get restless when my environment is the same all the time. I need to get out and find something new in order to re-energize.
18. The Internet. Some people would be surprised that this is item eighteen. Hey, I get only twenty things. Maybe if I got thirty, you’d see more material items–or at least more specific items. Since I get twenty, I’ll keep my food, water, air, writing, math (as material as those two can get, anyway), books, and Internet, thank you.
19. Beauty. I live day to day by seeing beauty in the small things. The fall leaves are still beautiful here, and I pass them every morning. Marveling in the little is how I stay sane.
20. Growth. Staying stagnant is a recipe for disaster, and I have to expand my horizons in order to grow with the world around (or at least try to keep up).
Those are my twenty. For the curious, this took nearly half an hour to do. They are of course subject to change over time, but not over the next day or two as I eliminate items in a readable format. What are yours?