A fair amount of you have asked about #TheGoodList daily posts over here, and if there are any rules? Can you repost, share the fun, join along in the hashtag?
And to that, I’ll say as I generally do: Yes, yes, yes of course.
#TheGoodList is not a new concept, hardly original, as there are a number of gratitude chasers sharing slivers of their happiness under a wide variety of hashtags. My friend Maggie has a gratitude practice she calls #LovelyThings. Another friend shares #14000ThingsToBeHappyAbout. The list, and lists, go on.
If you’re inclined to join, no matter the hashtag, I suppose I do keep a few principles. These aren’t rules, necessarily. Rules are to be offered by members of authority, and really, who can safely call themselves an authority on Instagram?
And yet: here’s something.
A few months ago, I began to grow weary in my relationship with social media. (Of course you’re unsurprised, me with my ever-growing tendency to fall on the Less is More side of Internet Usage time and time again.) There were aspects I loved, of course, and then there were aspects I was working too hard to love – aspects I knew would eventually have to fall by the wayside were I to continue a life lived in (semi-)public.
The truth is, we are a generation that has blurred the lines between the documentation of our lives and the distribution of our lives. We trap sacred moments and offer them for public consumption. We wield ourselves into broadcasters, talking into tiny screens to share on Instagram stories, dilettante TV reporters sans hairspray and stick mics. We turn our days, our travels, our children into regularly scheduled programming. We replace contentment with content, and we call it a life.
#TheGoodList is not that.
It is, simply put, a naming of happy moments. It is for surveying our days, for calling it good. It is for noticing, for paying attention, for practicing the fine and weighty art of gratitude.
The practicing is the good stuff.
The publishing? Entirely optional.
Here are a few rules, if you’re of the tralatitious variety:
Your list is best shared alone – for me, that’s in the wee hours of the morning, or the black hours of the night. No thought to “peak times,” and certainly not in the presence of others. Resist the temptation to steal away from your actual life to post pseudo-representative photos of a virtual life. No more than one post per day. No live footage necessary, no stick mics. It’s just you, your moments and the publish button (if you choose). Snap a photo (styled, un-styled, whatever) throughout the day or week, type a few things you loved. No need for more, no need for less.
My family was Face Timing with faraway friends last week, and my friend spotted Chinese flashcards fastened with magnets to our exposed kitchen pipe. Why haven’t I seen that online? she asks, and my response is the expected one:
What I share is only 1% of the real.
#TheGoodList is simply me being intentional with the 1% in hopes that I will continue to appreciate the remaining 99%. It is me, figuring out a way to make an online life work for me, rather than me making my life’s work online.
Perhaps you’ll find it a useful perimeter, as well. If so, I’ll meet you there.