What do I need to survive? From twenty to ten

Now back to what I would need for survival. If you recall from two days ago, my original list looks like this:

food, air, water, writing, math, friends, community, family, wanderlust, love, happiness, humor, books, hope, intellectual challenge, peace of mind, change, the Internet, beauty, growth

It’s time to eliminate half of these. I eliminated food, air, and water immediately, not because they’re the least important of all twenty items, but because if I kept them I could find them in the top three, and then I’d have to choose between them. Actually, if that were the case, I’d have to go with air. I can’t hold my breath for that long.

Next to go was hope, not because I’d be fine with living a hopeless life, but because I believe that hope follows from other things higher up on the list.

Then came family (sorry). This one’s hard to justify for those who say, “But you’re cutting off your family! Your kin!” Well, a certain community does come with family, though not the community that I’ve felt with other groups, and sometimes friends and community can become family, hence why I had all three items on my list.

Change was next. I can deal with everything being the same all the time, though I wouldn’t like it. This was followed by the Internet, which would be unpleasant as well, though I would survive without it, as much as I tell myself I wouldn’t now. Beauty was cut next, so now I can’t see the beauty in everything. The world has now been uglified. Intellectual challenge was next, and wanderlust was last, leaving me with ten items:

writing, math, friends, community, love, happiness, humor, books, peace of mind, growth

There’s actually only one material item left on that list. No wonder I have such a hard time coming up with what I want for Christmas (and no wonder it’s almost always books).

In case you’re curious about my process, with the exception of food, air, and water, I eliminated all the other items one at a time. Most of the time I thought, “What item do I value less than any of the other items on this list?” Other times I thought, “If I had every other item on the list, could I live without this one item?” (This was how family got eliminated.)

Stay tuned. Tomorrow I’ll go into the top five and possibly reveal the number one item.

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