I was surfing today, not something I normally do as a rule, but I stumbled across a link to a few interesting articles written by Rick Newman about what things Americans can't live without.
It makes fascinating reading but I'll give you his top ten list below of what they can't part from:
High Speed InternetAccess
Personally, I would amend the list slightly. Perhaps it's the fact that I'm not american or maybe I am just odd but a few of those things I can easily live without. Here is my list:
- Reading: books or magazines (where would we be without the ability to unleash our imaginations with novels. I adore everything about books, the imagination and the education involved and it would be a very empty world without reading in my opinion. I also know people who don't read books but they devour newspapers and magazines so the power of the word is still obviously strong even there.)
- $2-$5 per week spending money (there is nothing better when you're feeling low then to be able to buy an ice-cream or a chocolate bar or a slice of cake or whatever your treat of choice is; we can't restrict all guilty pleasures)
- Education (I agree with this one for kids, if they are willing and able to learn then we should encourage this and send them where they need to go to get where they want to be in life)
- Computer (I didn't really want to put this one in there but it is a fact of modern life now that most things are done by computer, not sure a portable one is essential though)
- High Speed Internet Access (again, didn't want to put this one in here but life is just too damn short to muck about with Dial-Up speed. If computers are a necessity of today then this one goes hand in hand.)
- Creative Outlet (we all have one, it just depends on the person as to the nature of the creativity but to deny it or contain it is to ignore who we are and what makes us tick. This one will include things like writing, musical instruments, gardening, painting, sewing, doodling, carving, singing, cooking, solving puzzles, building, caring for pets, sports, designing software.. the list goes on.)
- Entertainment (again, we all have differing opinions on what we like but this will include movies, TV, games, and music. Whatever we prefer to relax with and/or to get animated by.)
- Home-cooked food (is there really anything better than putting the effort in, even just once a week, and cooking or eating, hopefully both, a delicious home-cooked meal?)
- Loved Ones (this one means those people (or pets) that you would do anything for. The ones that you often revolve your life around and couldn't imagine living without. The ones who make you smile just by looking at them.)
- Mobile Phones (I thoroughly disagree with this one on so many levels but I also know that I am the only person I know that has a stationary mobile phone: it never leaves the house. I abhor the fact that this device means people can contact you at anytime they want and refuse to buy into the hype that it is. However, I do understand the need for it in a work sense and more importantly, I see the usefulness of equipping your children with one when they go to walk the dog, or stay the night at a friends house, or go to the mall by themselves. The worry that it saves is worth it.)
And the losers from the first list:
Smart Phones, perhaps essential for people in jobs who revolve around email communication and travel a lot (like my husband, and yes, he couldn't live without his) but other than that, not an essential I think.
Movies/TV/Music Downloads, sort of all come under entertainment in my list. I don't think it's necessary to single them out as individual items, I barely ever go to the movies anymore and I've never downloaded a tune in my life, and all three could be easily lived without, especially if a good alternative can be found, like reading.
Pets come under creative outlet. I know people who spend hours a day on breeding cats, birds, dogs and they get so much enjoyment from it. Definitely important but classed differently.
Booze/Coffee, really not essential. I recently gave up alcohol for 12 weeks and it was so easy. I didn't really miss it and now that I'm back on it I find I barely drink anymore. Just not an important part of life. Coffee is one of my guilty pleasures but I think I could probably give that up easily as well. I have already cut it back and I no longer buy coffee when I'm out. I have two cups at home in the mornings and that is it for the day and it is definitely not considered an essential part of living.
Right then, what would you change on that list?