I read today that the writer Fay Weldon was asked what brought happiness and she said, “Someone to love, something to do.” I thought that this was original and pithy and just about true. Then I Googled it and found that a band called The Beautiful Few have an album called “Someone to love, something to do, something to look forward to”. (I’d never heard of them. I know very little about bands.)
On slight further investigation, I then found that this very idea is claimed to originate from “a Chinese proverb” or “a wise professor”. So maybe Fay Weldon was just quoting something that everyone (except me) has heard of before.
I still think it’s fairly accurate, though - as good as one can get in six words, or eleven if you include the looking forward (which is true too). I might extend it to fourteen: Someone to love, something to do, something to look forward to, something to sing.
And perhaps a cat. And a garden.
So that makes:
Someone to love, including a cat. Something to do, including gardening. Something to sing, but preferably not “MacArthur Park” or “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. Something to look forward to, possibly including grandchildren.
I don’t think I’m good at being succinct.
Edited to add: and of course something to read (I'm reading the letters between Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh at the moment: excellent). And blogs.
Hmm, that makes it even longer. Even without mentioning chocolate.