What I Cannot Live Without

Once I started pondering this subject, my thinking almost became, “What all do I need to live?”

The basics

  • Water
  • Air
  • Shelter
  • Food
  • Sleep

And my personal favorites:

  • Clothes
  • Pets
  • Others

This is good. We can take it from here.

Survival experts apply the ‘rules of three’ to lasting without essentials. You can go about three weeks without food, three days without water, three hours without shelter, and three minutes without air.”

—Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., http://www.anniemueller.com

But what do we want?

We don’t need that much, but we want more than survival. I admit it — I am spoiled.

We don’t want just “food,” we want good, fresh organic food. Just the right snacks.

We want more than just mere “shelter.” We want running water, electricity — a floor. We want good shelters, not just the basics.

We want emotional basics as well. We want comfort, joy, love, connection, and fun.

Where I’m coming from

So far all is well and good, but I want to share what in my world I cannot live without. So here we go.

Electric toothbrush

Recently, I asked my new dental hygienist, “Which should I use, manual or electric?” Oddly, her response was “both.” I didn’t get her logic and I didn’t ask.

I didn’t ask about what type of rotating basis I would use for this. Then I thought she just might be covering her bases. The dental office is a family practice. Two dentists: one grandfather, one grandson.

So I’m figuring the grandfather goes for the tried and true manual toothbrush and the grandson leans toward the electric. It’s just speculation. I use the electric one 99.9% of the time.

What I like so much is my toothbrush has three heads. I happened upon the novelty while surfing the internet.

My former dentist said part of the reason I have had such extensive dental issues is because I grew up in rural Kentucky. There was no fluoride in the water — plus I ate candy all the time.

My mother didn’t make regularly scheduled visits for me to go to the dentist. At 16, I was in pain and I finally said something. She took me in then.

Anyway, I love my electric toothbrush and could not live without it. This may sound a tad weird, but I look forward to brushing my teeth. It just feels good massaging the old gums.

Tennis Shoes

You’re probably tired of hearing me talk about tennis shoes, but I can’t help it. I live in them. To me, they are the second most comfortable shoe behind flip flops.

However, flip flops are not really a shoe — I’m talking about the foam kind. As a child, I was in my uncle’s workshop/garage. He had boards with exposed nails on the gravel floor.

With flip flops on, I stepped right on one of those nails. Ouch! Get out the tobacco and copper penny fast, please.

Tennis shoes are becoming the most popular footwear in America. Within the last two decades, our culture has become more casual.

They talk about the tennis shoe being in the boardroom these days. I believe that to be true for men, but I really don’t see it for women — although it might work for women at tech companies, talk about casual.

I can’t see a female lawyer going into a serious meeting wearing sneakers with her suit or dress. However, times change and who knows? Call me old fashioned. It would have to be just the right sneaker, maybe a Jimmy Choo with a pointy toe.

The VPOTUS has an affinity for sometimes wearing Chuck Taylor’s with her pantsuits. Works for her I guess.

I did not paint the flamingo — but wish I had the talent!

Pricey Tennis Shoes

Average tennis shoes in retail now are starting off at about $125 for Adidas Ubersonic. At the high end of this category is the NikeCourt Lunar Ballistic 1.5 Legend for $200. The names of these shoes are enough to make you stir crazy.

But, hey, let’s talk turkey. From the category of “Most Expensive Sneakers Ever Made,” let’s try these on for size — indeed, pun intended.

At the low end is Air Jordan 111 OG for $4,500 — but this is only a drop in the bucket. The gold medal goes to Solid Gold X Air Jordan’s at $2 million. They are coated in 24K gold.

They were created by American artist Matthew Senne. Each shoe weighs 50 pounds. Now we have done it. We have gone from the basic, technologically engineered tennis shoe to art. What a leap!

I can live without a $2 million pair of sneakers. I just cannot live without my $35 pair.


There is absolutely no way I could live without books. I compare it to Paul’s relationship with the earth. There is just no way he could survive without getting his hands in dirt.

I used to read some, but I became an avid reader in early adulthood. I read nonfiction mainly: self-improvement, Buddhism, Zen, simplifying your life, crafts, mental disorders, memoir writing, grace and beauty, civility, awakenings, happiness.

Books by Marianne Williamson. Lots of books by Anne Lamott about religiosity and other cool stuff. Hers is an interesting story. Lots of books by Deepak Chopra.

I was always trying to make myself better by reading nonfiction. This was before I realized that I am good enough just the way I am, although at times I struggle with that thought.

Through the years of reading nonfiction, Barbara, a good friend and mostly fiction reader, would ask why I kept reading nonfiction, adding how boring it is.

This was a horrible thought. You don’t learn anything by reading fiction.

Besides, I can’t keep up with all the characters. Have you ever read one of Daniel Silva’s novels? Another friend keeps a cheat sheet of his characters when she reads his books.

Time passed. I continued the nonfiction. Then an epiphany one day: When am I going to stop reading self-improvement and start living my life?

I was getting older and becoming aware of time’s passing. I decided I was about as good as I was going to get so I stopped trying to improve myself and just accepted me.

I am a very happy reader of fiction now. I remain surprised at the education there is in it. I’ve found my true love of books.


I can’t believe that Forgiveness is not on my healing throw. For me, it’s a deep, emotional healing word. I could not live without forgiveness. It helps us trek through so many situations, relationships, and heartaches.

Healing words throw

I am reading a book about it now. My therapist recommended it.

I didn’t think this would be helpful for me because I figured I had already taken care of all the forgiving I wanted and needed to do. I’m breathing fine. I was wrong.

My favorite quote about forgiveness comes from Anne Lamott: “Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant to hit back.” It’s this and so much more.

The quote is from her book Small Victories. I recommend all her books. Before you rush out to get one, please check her out on TED Talks.

We forgive for “our sake.” We are not condoning behavior nor are we forgetting. Are holding grudges, harboring resentments, and hanging on to pain from our past worth the hit to our emotional well-being?

What keeps us from forgiving the people who hurt us is that we have not yet healed our internal wounds. Forgiveness is about moving on. I need to get on with the business of living.

Forgiveness is working through our unattended to hurts and pains — letting go of the pain and moving on for “our sake.”

In reading this book, I realize that even if I have taken care of past pains and the forgiveness it involved, it’s a lifetime journey. People will continue to do and say things that hurt, perhaps unbeknownst to them.

I have a couple of these feelings I am working through as I write this. Forgiveness is not easy. Imagine the world we would be living in if forgiveness was a top priority. Nirvana anyone?

Final thoughts . . .

These are just three things I feel like I can’t live without. Truth be told though, I could live without these, but I wouldn’t want to.

When I think about it, there are 100 more: hope, music, healthcare, education, friends, dance, access to information, creative expression, cuddling — be it human or animal. The list goes on.

So I’ll refer back to the first sentence of this post: “What all do I need to live?” That’s another topic for another day.

Thank you for reading. I have missed you. Sincerely, me

What? you’re not taller than your front door?!?!

Comments are welcome. I post all Comments and reply to all. Unfortunately, you’ll have to return to the website to see reply.

Did You Know?
The Twitter bird has a name. It’s Larry. Named after NBA player Larry Bird. http://www.parade.com

September Observance
Suicide Prevention Month

September 16 Observance
International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

Forgiveness: How to Make Peace With Your Past and Get on With Your Life, by Dr. Sidney B. Simon and his wife, Suzanne Simon


    1. Lisa, you crazy girl. What more does a woman need than a pair of tennis shoes and a barrette? Thank you for reading and commenting. ❤️

  1. Hello Yvonne, I loved this essay on “What all do we need to live?” Your writing style is so personal and so inspiring. You turn ordinary moments into extraordinary reflections! Toothbrushes, Tennis shoes, Transition from non-fiction to fiction…great stories! Thank you for the Anne Lamott reminder – I have enjoyed her work, too 😊

    1. Hi Karen, so nice you think I have inspiring stories. I don’t aim for that necessarily but it is nice if it comes across that way. Thank you for being there for me in the past. Truly appreciated and your words and guidances come to mind often. Anne Lamott’s work has been beneficial. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. 💕

  2. Love the forgiveness quote from Anne Lamont. Need to repeat that daily. Also, am I your friend that keeps a cheat sheet listing all of Daniel Silva’s characters? If not, add me to the list – I do that too! Hugs to you

    1. Hi Beverly, yes you are my friend who keeps the cheat sheet. You are my friend whether you keep a cheat sheet or not. I did not mention you by name because I had not asked your permission. Thank you for reading and thank you for the comment. Glad you enjoyed the forgiveness quote.💕

  3. I need forgiveness for not seeing/responding to the email you sent me a couple of weeks ago! Hope we can get together and catch up. We always have fun and share crazy stories. See you soon!

    1. Hi Judy, better late than never as they say! Forgiveness unnecessary. I know people receive umpteen daily emails and some get overlooked. I figured you were out of town. Looking forward to a visit soon. 💕

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *