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. There’s a companion piece of sorts which can be found here 

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

Then, in alphabetical order…

  • Anti-depressants and similar medication 
  • Art and art history
  • Atheism – positive atheism, that is
  • Autumn
  • Bagpuss
  • Banoffee pie
  • The Beatles
  • Beds and getting a good night’s sleep 
  • Beethoven – especially for Symphony No 6, Symphony No 9 and Piano Concerto No 5 
  • Bertrand Russell and his works 
  • Bill Hicks
  • Bill Oddie
  • Black ink pens with scratchy tips
  • Blogging
  • The Blues – the great river from which all rock music flows 
  • Blueberry muffins
  • Blue Oyster Cult 
  • Bob Dylan – the greatest songwriter of the 20th Century 
  • Bob Marley and the Wailers
  • Breakfast Club (film)
  • Breughel 
  • Bright, but overcast days
  • Brushing your teeth 
  • Bubble baths 
  • Buddy Holly
  • The burgers at Frankie and Benny’s 
  • Candles 
  • Canvas shoes
  • Checkers and chess 
  • Cheesecake
  • Chili Con Carne 
  • Chocolate
  • Choral music
  • Christmas Eve – especially if spent watching Box of Delights with snow outside 
  • Classic rock especially from the 70s
  • Classical music
  • Columbo 
  • Comfy shoes
  • The company of kindly, congenial people 
  • Curmudgeons, cynics and misfits
  • David Bowie
  • David Lynch 
  • Dennis Skinner
  • Diet Coke especially when served with lemon and ice cubes 
  • Dolphins
  • Dungeons and Dragons – cartoon etc 
  • Dr Who – the old series, that is 
  • Earl Grey tea especially if made in a pot
  • Electric razors
  • The Enlightenment – we owe this a lot 
  • Facebook – I say this with some hestiation, but it does some good by enabling contact between friends who would perhaps otherwise never meet 
  • Fighting Fantasy books (and role-playing fiction generally) 
  • Fish and chips
  • Fleetwood Mac 
  • Full English breakfasts
  • George Carlin
  • George Gershwin – especially for Rhapsody in Blue
  • Glasses (reading) 
  • Gothic buildings especially cathedrals with gargoyles 
  • Goya
  • Graphic novels – especially by Moore, Gaiman etc
  • Great art, literature, films and music other than otherwise mentioned 
  • Greek food
  • Green (as in, the colour) 
  • Guitars – especially dual-lead electric guitars in songs
  • Halloween – commercialism aside, it’s the most fun public holiday
  • Having great old music / films / TV shows available on CD / DVD (especially if previously unavailable)
  • Hayfever remedies
  • Heavy metal
  • Hieronymous Bosch 
  • Horror movies
  • Humanism
  • INFPs and other sensitive MBTI types – it’s not all about the bottom line y’know 
  • Intelligence / imagination – perhaps the two most important qualities other than kindness
  • Ivory-billed Woodpeckers – we need to find them again 🙂 
  • 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’
  • The Last Days of Socrates – especially since Socrates left none of his original work
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Lego castles / pirate ships
  • Leonard Cohen 
  • Leonardo da Vinci – for the drawings especially 
  • Libraries – whether big, small, personal or private, one of mankind’s greatest ideas
  • Lighthouses – ditto 
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Magicians – of all kinds 
  • Magritte
  • Massages
  • MC Escher
  • Medieval art and illuminated manuscripts 
  • Meditation
  • Meeting like-minded or interesting people
  • Memory – this can be a double-edged sword, but the ability to replay the good times
  • 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 
  • Mystics 
  • Nachos
  • Neil Gaiman 
  • Neil Young
  • The NHS – this of course, is a massive one and should never be overlooked
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  • Old bookstores – cavernous spaces, filled with wonderful odds and ends on every shelf 
  • 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 – and the fact we can befriend wise sages and soothsayers from ages past by the medium of the printed word 
  • Punch and Judy shows
  • Putting on clean clothes especially a clean shirt
  • Rainbows
  • Reading
  • The Renaissance – we owe this a lot, too 
  • Roast dinners 
  • Robert Hughes – and any critics vaguely like him
  • Rock n’roll
  • The Rolling Stones (pre-1982)
  • Satire – the skewering of vice, folly and humbug 
  • Saxophones
  • Self-help books – written by depressives who know what they’re on about
  • Shakespeare – the greatest writer who ever lived and a master psychologist of the human condition 
  • Smartphones – making a world of knowledge available at the touch of a button 
  • The smell of old books 
  • The smell of the sea 
  • Socialism – in principle, anyway
  • Solo driving with music on
  • Spike Milligan 
  • Star Trek the Next Generation  – for Captain Picard 
  • Steak (cooked rare) and chips 
  • Steely Dan
  • Stephen Fry
  • Stephen King 
  • Sticky toffee pudding with ice-cream
  • Sturdy, easily-buildable bookshelves 
  • Swimming pools
  • Tarot cards – beautifully-illustrated, such as the Rider-Waite and the Thoth decks
  • Tom and Jerry cartoons 
  • Trampolines – I haven’t been on one for years but by golly they’re fun 
  • Trenchcoats / good-quality raincoats 
  • Velasquez – especially for Les Meninas and the portrait of Innocent X
  • The view from the top of ____ Hill on a clear day 
  • Visiting medieval cities 
  • Waiting for a great meal in a restaurant (anticipation)
  • Walking in the (light) rain
  • Walks by the sea / looking at the sea
  • Walks in woodlands
  • Watching the rain
  • Watching thunderstorms
  • The Who (pre-1982)
  • Wikipedia
  • Wise jesters past and present 
  • Words – the richness of the English language, an endless source of delight and fascination 
  • Writing creatively – poetry, stories, essays, anything which you have put your soul into and which in turn can inspire others 
  • Yo Yos – especially the ones which light up
  • Zoos – I’m not big on captivity but if it means the difference between extinction and not, I’ll happily embrace them 

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