2) Partner: There is no better way of filling time than to share your life with the partner of your choice. Somebody who's always there. Somebody who's snuggled right up close to you in the early hours, somebody to discuss the newspapers with over breakfast, somebody who can hold the stepladder while you paint the ceiling the colour of their choice, somebody to sit next to on public transport without the risk of some unstable nutter sitting next to you instead, somebody to ring up from the supermarket to ask whether they prefer vanilla or strawberry, somebody to try not to be late home for, somebody to disappear into the bedroom with for an hour of filling time, somebody to bounce your thoughts off without wasting them all, somebody to hold onto during the sad part of tonight's TV drama, and somebody to climb into bed with at the end of the day with a sleepy glint in their eye. Sure it can take a long time to hunt down that perfect partner in the first place, but that's nothing compared to the lifetime of shared experience and mutual support if you make the right choice.
3) Family: It's all too easy to turn a partner into a family. All it takes is two minutes of unprotected sex, planned or otherwise, and hey presto nine months later your life is changed forever. The two of you used to have a social life, going out to meet friends, holidaying abroad when the fancy took you, waking up at ten on a Sunday morning but staying in bed til noon, that sort of thing. Then suddenly you get to take four kilograms of screaming flesh home from the hospital and your life is never your own again. You used to enjoy dining out, now your offspring is dining on you. You used to have disposable income, now you merely have disposable nappies. You used to go out four times a week, now you can only go out if the babysitter's available. You used to be able to sleep through the night, now you're forever woken up by something that can't. Never mind, babies do eventually grow up and leave home, but not before they've learnt how to throw spectacular tantrums, developed an expensive ballet habit, coerced you into doing all their homework for them, spent a couple of years sulking in their bedrooms experimenting with hairdye and acne cream, and trebled your car insurance. Just make sure that, by the time your youngest child finally moves out of the family home and your life returns to normal, you haven't forgotten what normal used to be more than two decades ago. And don't forget to explain to your offspring the importance of contraception, although children often don't realise how heartfelt your warning was until it's too late and the whole cycle has started again.
4) Friends: Nowadays most people take out personal insurance against getting bored. This insurance comes in the form a group of people we call 'friends'. Friends are like-minded souls who like to fill their time in the same sorts of ways that we do. They enjoy going to the same sorts of films that we do, going on the same sorts of holidays that we do, eating out at the same sorts of restaurants that we do and laughing at the same sorts of jokes that we do. They're not afraid to tell us that we really shouldn't have put that particular selection of clothes on this morning, or that we really shouldn't have said what we just said to someone else last night. If our Thursday night is looking particularly featureless they'll happily invite us along to share theirs instead. If we're ever in trouble, or feeling down, they're there for us just as we'd be there for them. Good friends are hard to find, but even harder to lose. Never underestimate their importance in the daily battle against boredom.