First up, I have a confession: this is not my idea. I’m 100% borrowing (hopefully not stealing) this idea from Tsh Oxenrider, who is perhaps the one creator who has had the biggest impact on my life over the last three years at least. She first wrote about ‘The Good List’ on her blog, The Art of Simple (now closed), and then on her podcasts, Simple and The Good List. Before you read any further, please do check out the original posts.

There are four categories to The Good List: a thing, a habit, a work of art, and a philosophy. The idea is to pick one thing that will fall into each category that is adding something to your life. Another way of putting this is that it is making your life ‘good’. You could think of it as a type of gratitude list but one that goes a little bit further; I can’t think of many gratitude lists that feature philosophies.

1) Dishwasher

Yes, it sounds really mundane and boring but using my dishwasher more than I used to is making my life a little bit more good. Because I’m in a bubble right now, I’m actually cooking for two more often or I’m missing evenings at home but still had lunch and breakfast to wash up. All this meant that the washing up was piling up. Pre-COVID and bubbles, I washed the dishes 99% of the time but now it is just too much to handle on top of everything else that 2020 and now 2021 have given us. Allowing myself to use the dishwasher has relieved me from spending what now seems like hours at the sink, wiping the same dishes and pans continuously.

For the eco-conscious among you, I do fill the dishwasher as much as I can before turning it on. Saying that, I do not regret no longer having to clean the pyrex or roasting trays. It’s the small things in life that make living easier.

2) Running

Specifically, I’ve been running 100k throughout February. At least that is my aim and I’m over three-quarters of the way there. Though I enjoy running and have been doing it very consistently for the last few years, I always struggle to get out more than once a week during February. With running clubs closed, it is even harder to find the motivation during a lockdown coupled with below 0 degrees temperatures. Signing up for a 100k challenge means I now have a reason to go out and run, beyond it being exercise and headspace.

Yes, it’s been ridiculously freezing and my arms did start to feel a little numb at one point. And yes, running 25k a week turns out to require more planning than I realised. However, I am sleeping better, feeling more energised, and struggling mentally less… though 9k on an empty stomach before church isn’t so sensible. Totally wasn’t drifting off while watching online church 🤦🏻‍♀️

3) Which One’s Cliff: the Autobiography

I know, it seems a bit lame that a millennial would be reading Sir Cliff Richard’s first biography. Then again, I’m not exactly the least lame millennial out there – the fact that I spent two years watching Summer Holiday and The Young Ones, then prancing around to the songs, says everything you need to know about that. However, his “autobiography” (actually written by a ghostwriter) is so much more than I expected. He is honest about his struggles, his faith, his career in such a way that it completely destroyed all of my expectations – not that I am even sure what those expectations were. Most of all, it made me feel less alone in a very similar way to Hutchmoot Homebound – there are other creative Christians out there and they have similar struggles.

In particular, this quote struck me straight to the core:

But even if I tried there’s no way I can divorce that from Christ because, despite what some would have me believe, He’s as much to do with music and entertainment and with TV and recording studios as He is with churches and Billy Graham

Cliff Richard, Which One’s Cliff? (Introduction)
Snowdrops in a wood
I am loving the snowdrops this year so much. Little signs of hope everywhere. The thing is if we had them all winter long and didn’t have to wait for them, would we appreciate them as much?

4) Delayed Gratification

I think this is actually a philosophy I picked up from Tsh, though I can’t remember which podcast episode it was I’m afraid. The idea of ‘delayed gratitude’ is that it is in waiting for something that the pleasure and gratification of it are increased. In a society where the norm is to have whatever you want whenever you want it (from online shopping’s next day delivery to sex on demand via “dating apps”), choosing to wait for something is unusual. But I honestly believe that we need to learn to wait.

I’m not saying this to excuse my lack of writing recently. I wish enforcing delayed gratification was a reasonable excuse but it really isn’t… can we agree that pandemic-brain is one though? But you know what is made better when we have to wait? The first hug when you see your long-distance boyfriend. Or how about the anticipation of having to wait a whole week for the next episode of a show? (Wandavision, anyone?) How about the smell of a home-cooked roast dinner as it wafts through the house over an hour or so? These are everyday examples and they will be different for each person. But just give it a go. Choose to wait for something, no matter how much you might want it. 9 times out of 10 it will be better

Choose to wait for something, no matter how much you might want it. 9 times out of 10 it will be better.
- On Delayed Gratification
It’s just been Pancake Day. I can’t think of a better example of why waiting is a good thing. Have the reasons pancakes are so much fun is the cooking and flipping of them!

So that’s my first Good List. The whole point of this is to share what’s good in my life – effectively helping me to survive and maybe even thrive right now – and hopefully inspire you to notice the same in your life.

I’d love to know what’s on your Good List today. Share a thing, a habit, a work of art, or a philosophy in the comments below.