What Makes Life Worth Living?

What makes life worth living? There can be no universal answer to this, perhaps the greatest of questions because the answer would be different for each person. Things are further complicated if you have depression since the nature of the condition is to suck the joy out of experiences and thus out of life itself. Some of the things on my list are very serious indeed, others less so. How seriously should you take the list as a whole? As seriously as you like 🙂 If the list makes anyone smile while wondering why I included some things while forgetting others, it has more than done its job. 

The first thing on the list is always the love and support of family and close friends 

Then, in alphabetical order…

  • Anti-depressants
  • Art and art history
  • Atheism – positive atheism, that is
  • Autumn
  • Availability of old TV shows and old music (via the necessary evil of online shopping)
  • Bagpuss
  • Banoffee pie
  • Beds
  • Beethoven
  • Being massaged
  • Bertrand Russell’s writing
  • Bill Hicks
  • Bill Oddie
  • Black ink pens with scratchy tips
  • Blogging
  • Blue Oyster Cult
  • Bob Dylan – the greatest songwriter of the 20th Century 
  • Bob Marley and the Wailers
  • Breakfast Club
  • Breughel 
  • Bright, but overcast days
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Buddy Holly
  • Canvas shoes
  • Cat Stevens
  • Cheesecake
  • Chili Con Carne
  • Chocolate
  • Choral music
  • Choral music
  • Classic rock especially from the 70s
  • Classical music
  • Clean / comfy socks
  • Comfy shoes
  • Curmudgeons and misfits 
  • Dennis Skinner
  • Dolphins
  • Dungeons and Dragons – cartoon etc 
  • Dr Who
  • Earl Grey tea made in a pot
  • Electric razors 
  • Fighting Fantasy books (and role-playing fiction generally) 
  • Fish and chips
  • Full English breakfast 
  • George Carlin
  • George Gershwin – for Rhapsody in Blue 
  • Good-quality graphic novels
  • Good-quality writing
  • Goya
  • Great artists and their paintings / drawings
  • Greek food
  • Green 
  • Guitars – especially dual-lead electric guitars in songs
  • Halloween – commercialism aside, it’s the most fun public holiday
  • Having great old films / TV shows available on DVD (if previously unavailble)
  • Hayfever remedies
  • Heavy metal
  • Hieronymous Bosch 
  • Horror movies
  • Humanism 
  • Intelligence / imagination – perhaps the two most important qualities other than kindness 
  • Jazz
  • Jelly babies – non-floury and in paper bags
  • JS Bach – the greatest musical genius so-called classical music ever produced 
  • Kate Bush 
  • Kindness – see ‘intelligence’
  • Leonardo da Vinci – for the drawings especially 
  • Libraries – whether big, small, personal or private, one of mankind’s greatest ideas
  • Long solo walks especially near the coast
  • Louis Armstrong 
  • Magritte 
  • MC Escher
  • Meditation
  • Meeting like-minded people
  • Mexican / Tex-Mex food
  • Mike Oldfield
  • Miles Davis – the greatest jazz genius 
  • Mint humbugs – brown and cream-striped
  • Mr Benn
  • Mozart – especially for the Requiem, one of the greatest things ever written 
  • Music – any quality music not specifically otherwise mentioned
  • Nachos
  • Neil Gaiman 
  • Neil Young
  • NHS – this of course, is a massive one and should never be overlooked
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  • Old bookstores
  • Old episodes of Columbo
  • Old episodes of Dr Who
  • Old-fashioned sweetshops
  • Patti Smith and ‘Wave’ 
  • Philip Larkin 
  • Philosophy and the comforts it offers
  • Pianos
  • Pink Floyd
  • Pirate ships – models etc 
  • Plain black tee-shirts and plain blue jeans 
  • Pre-Raphaelite painting 
  • Printing
  • Punch and Judy shows
  • Putting on clean clothes especially a clean shirt
  • Rainbows
  • Reading
  • Robert Hughes – and any critics vaguely like him
  • Rock n’roll
  • Saxophones
  • Self-help books – written by depressives who know what they’re on about
  • Shakespeare
  • Sleeping in clean sheets 
  • Socialism – in principle, anyway
  • Solo driving with music on
  • Steely Dan
  • Stephen Fry
  • Stephen King 
  • Sticky toffee pudding with ice-cream 
  • Swimming pools 
  • Tex-Mex cuisine
  • The Beatles
  • The blues – the great river from which all rock music flows 
  • The burgers at Frankie and Benny’s
  • The company of congenial, kindly fellow-cynics
  • The Enlightenment – hey, we owe it a lot 🙂 
  • The Last Days of Socrates (Plato) – especially since Socrates didn’t leave us any of his own writings 
  • The Renaissance – yeah, we owe this a lot, too 🙂 
  • The Rolling Stones (pre-1982)
  • The smell of old books
  • The smell of the sea
  • The view from the top of _____ Hill on a clear day
  • The wise words of great writers, sages, soothsayers etc
  • The Who (pre-1982)
  • Trampolines
  • Trenchcoats / good-quality raincoats 
  • Velasquez’s Les Meninas
  • Waiting for a great meal in a restaurant (anticipation)
  • Walking in the (light) rain
  • Walking by the sea / looking at the sea
  • Walks in woodlands
  • Warm, soothing baths
  • Watching rain
  • Watching thunderstorms
  • Wikipedia
  • Wise jesters 
  • Words – the richness of the English language, an endless source of delight and fascination 
  • Writing – poetry, stories, essays, anything really 
  • Yo Yos – especially the ones which light up 

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