Three simple things in life?

In Harpo Marx’s book, Harpo Speaks, he says that a very wise man once told him the three things in life you should always remember: the three things that make for a happy, successful, rich life. The trouble is, he said, ‘I can’t remember what they were!

More recently, a friend suggested that we all need just three things in life:

  • something to do
  • someone to love
  • something to look forward to.

In other words, keep busy, love those you care about, and anticipate a bright future. Of course, in our consumer-obsessed society, some may interpret these three things in terms of monetary gain: work madly to make as much money as possible, find a partner who is very wealthy (why fall in love with someone poor when you can fall equally in love with someone rich), and thirdly, what to look forward to? Well, some day soon I’ll have that red Porche!

But I think that such thinking misses the point entirely.

For me the first thing is about doing stuff – whether that is writing this blog, going for a long walk, making cumquat jam from fruit picked on the walk (it was hanging over the footpath so it’s communal fruit!), making a special dinner for my Bill, working for a client in my business, going to my local gym, visiting friends and family. Hey, this list is endless. The guy in About a Boy (book and movie) who lives off his dad’s royalties says that he doesn’t know how people with jobs fit everything in and I know what he means.

The second thing is pretty simple I think – love those we care about which means caring for the ones you love because love is a doing word.

And for the third thing, I would ask ‘why only one thing to look forward to?’.

J.B. Priestly, in a little book called Delights, talks about the joy of planning. While some people see this as a chore necessary to get the goal, I love the planning as much as the doing – well, almost. I’m planning to visit my mum in the near future in Queensland, I’m planning our skiing holiday with my Bill and friends who are planning to stay with us for awhile when we are in Canada, and I’m planning to go to Manly tomorrow with Bill to walk with a friend, have a swim, and to realise how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place.

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One response to “Three simple things in life?

  1. Hi Susie
    I like the ideas on your blog. Those 3 essential things come from a book titled ‘Too soon old, too late wise’, by Gordon Livingstone. Of course other people like to add good health as an essential requirement for a happy life. A friend once told me that the thing she most wished for her children was that they be kind and generous people and from that happiness would come. I agree with that.

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