Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Quality of Life

Cynical Optimist asks:

What are the essential ingredients of a good life? How do you define a good quality of life? What would it take for you to be able to wake up tomorrow and say, "I have everything I want"?

If you were to make a list of that, which you'd have to acquire to reach a complete state of contentment, where would you start ... and how long would that list be?

Where would you draw the line ... what would be enough?

This is a good set of questions. To me it feels more like many slightly different questions than one long question. "Essential ingredients" sounds like the minimum necessary to be happy, whereas "everything I want" and "complete state of contentment" sound more like the maximum imaginable.

I'd say I have a good quality of life right now. Among the ingredients are, in no special order: good health, an interesting job, friends, a long-term relationship, fun hobbies, a cat, a nice place to live, relative freedom from debt (other than standard things like a home mortgage and car payments), the ability to travel occasionally, good food and drink, and internet access. I could wake up tomorrow with nothing to complain about.

On the other hand, I think that "everything I want" and "complete state of contentment" are unlikely. I would always want to be smarter, be in better physical shape, learn something new, try something new, get better at the things I do, etc. And I will always want there to be more hours in the day to do the things I want to do. So if enough means "can't reasonably complain," then I have that already. If it means "no desire to try for more," then that will probably never happen.

I suppose one could, while in a state of contentment, still strive for more -- not out of discontent or unhappiness, but because achieving things is inherently fun and interesting. That sounds good.

1 comment:

Foobario said...

You are a truly wise and fortunate man, Tom.