What do I need to survive? The top 20 items

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.

1. Food.
2. Air.
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.
8. Family.
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?


What do you need to survive?

At the dance performance I attended this afternoon, an interesting question was posed. What do you need to survive? The audience members were asked to make a list of ten items (material or not) they needed to survive. Then came the catch. Five items had to go. Then they had to narrow the list down to three items. Then, finally, one item remained.

I didn’t make the list right then, in part because it would take me too long to think of what I would need to survive. How do we define survival, anyway? Some of the audience members shared their items when they narrowed it down to three. A few said food, air, and water, which was a perfectly practical choice but screwed them over when they had to choose just one item.

So what would you choose? Better yet, let’s start with twenty like the dancers had to do, then go to ten, then five, then three, then one. I’ll do the same thing and post back tomorrow.


A Life Motivator

After poking around Chaotic Shiny’s NaNoWriMo motivator for a few minutes, I moved on to the life motivator. (Seriously, give the NaNo one a try next month.) What exactly the purpose of the life motivator is, I’m not sure. Let’s see what it spits out.

Do the hardest tasks first.
I’m a fan of doing the easy ones first. It gives me a sense of productivity to check the things off my to-do list.

Start work early.
Pretty good advice on the whole. If you’re lucky, you can leave earlier. If not, then at least you’re chopping away at what needs to be done and get stuff done. Besides, it’s better than procrastinating.

Read for fun.
I like this one. I’m actually devoting most of my November commute to writing instead of reading, simply because it’s a significant chunk of time and let’s face it, I can get some good writing done.

Drink some water.
I have a mug of water next to me right now. Good job, self. In fact, that’s my beverage of choice these days.

Think about the benefits, not the difficulties.
This one’s hard for me to do. I’m not an optimist by nature, though I certainly try. It’s usually a balancing act. “Yes, this could happen! Or this really bad thing could happen.”

Do less.
Wouldn’t that be great? Too bad my mind won’t let me.


When the Internet meets family

I told myself I wouldn’t write about my actual life too much in here, but an incident from today merited an entry. For those who don’t already know, I’m coming down with what I hope is just a cold: sore throat, slight fever (99.1F at last check), an occasional sneeze, generally not feeling my best. Naturally, I mentioned this on my LiveJournal and Twitter accounts, thinking nothing of it.

Then my mother called me this afternoon. “Are you sick?” she asked me.

“Yes,” I managed to croak. I asked her how she knew. My brother had told her. How did he know? He follows me on T-tw-twitter. Hearing her stumble over the word Twitter was worth the entire conversation, which did end in practical advice for sickness–after, of course, I convinced her that I’m not dying.

I wasn’t surprised. When the only information you’re given is not through face-to-face communication, or even through phone communication, you’re left with a lot of guesswork. Sick? That could mean a cold or pneumonia. Feeling blah? That could mean the occasional blues or the blues that are more than blues. Of course, my brother could have deduced that with a 99.1 temperature and a sore throat, I wasn’t that sick, but some things have to be a family affair–yes, even the Internet.

By the way, despite the sneezing, I’m not feeling worse. I’ve been drinking hot lemonade and tea like nobody’s business, though. Maybe some rest will be what it takes.


Desk inventory

There are lots of ways to read someone: their eyes, their character, their fashion sense. For a writer, one way to examine their personality is by examining their writing space. A clean writing space shows that they won’t let anything get in the way of their writing. A messier one? Well, they’re open to distractions.

Without further ado, here’s my current desk inventory.

* computer (including monitor, speakers, and actual computer)
* box of thumbtacks
* roll of blue tape
* notice of address change
* copy of The Kite Runner
* one of those little containers with sliding drawers
* a box with a pen in it
* a highlighter shaped like a flower
* an empty plastic bag
* three packs of cards and envelopes
* scissors
* five small notebooks
* two bags of batteries
* scattered index cards
* markers
* a box of index cards
* a little box containing slips of paper
* a knitted rectangle
* three pairs of knitting needles
* two rulers
* pencil case
* collapsible filer
* container with stuff in it
* folders
* marker board
* lamp shaped like the Eiffel Tower
* three receipts
* a grocery list
* a Kroger savings card
* two bottles of medication
* two rolls of tape
* a plaque that says “I’m never too busy to complain about how busy I am”
* a bottle of fountain ink
* two fountain pens
* two regular pens
* a coaster that says MUG RUG
* a Script Frenzy tumbler (is that what they’re called?)
* a copy of my résumé
* my keys
* a watch
* silly putty
* a ponytail holder
* my college class ring
* a hairbrush
* my phone
* the thing that hooks my iPod to the computer
* four unused butterknives
* a really hard puzzle
* a little decorative thing from the 2008 Olympics
* hand sanitizer
* a staple remover

So what can you deduce from my desk space? Yes, I like France, I do Script Frenzy (and yes, NaNoWriMo), I write often, I wear a ring regularly, and I’m looking for a job. You can come to your own conclusions on the rest. However, I never am too busy to complain about how busy I am.