The Good List

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.


  • Wow! What a heartfelt message and timely one! We often trade contentment for content and our children, lives, etc are so much more than content or programming. As mothers we walk a fine line with our children and social media. I never want my son too be shamed or embarrassed as he grows older by anything i share photos or words. And some moments of motherhood in my opinion are sacred too me. Bath time sleeping nursing and I do not post them on Insta. Thank you for a fresh perspective Erin!

  • This! So needed it today… I am being more intentional but it’s still a battle as to what we share and when we share. Thank you for your transparency as you battle this, too!

  • Erin,
    I echo your sentiments, your vulnerability, your intuition.
    I originally wrote just for my daughters, but as readership grew, I panicked and made my blog private, then open, then private. Still I wonder. For now,I keep it open, because I offer an alternative that I hope brings inspiration and contemplation.

    As I read your insights Erin, I even wish you’d write more, because you too offer something different, contemplative, and hopeful.

    I hope there is someone out there who appreciates my life sharing–even if it’s one person, it will have been worth it.


  • I’ve been enjoying your Good Lists so much! And I most ardently admire your use of tralatitious, a word I didn’t know and had to look up. = )

    • Ha, tralatitious is SUCH a fun word to use! It’s gonna stick with you, I can feel it. ;)

  • Thank you for this! I have such a love/hate relationship with social media and it’s wonderful to see your #GoodList throughout the week. I love seeing your positivity and enjoyment of life’s little moments. That’s what living is about; thank you for the reminder xoxo

  • This is beautiful Erin…. My thoughts are so similar. I feel like we’re all trying to be mini celebrities or have our own shows. I’ve taken big steps to quiet myself on social media these days… And it feels so good. The sacredness and secretness of life is returning quickly and I love it so much. But now I’m wondering… How will I do business things without an online platform these days. I guess this is where the trusting God and getting creative comes in… Or entering into the online world with a different perspective. But it’s oh so hard to not get sucked into this virtual reality of sorts. Love what you share with us through your words!

  • I love your good lists and I love these thoughts. Internet usage, how to use this incredible and somewhat overwhelming tool, is an ongoing conversation for me. I appreciate your viewpoint so much.

  • Amen, sister. I’ve been off social media now for about 2 months and it’s been such an awakening process to fully see the sacred around me, fully present, rather than disconnected/distracted through various apps in my phone. I grew weary of (and admittingly, angry with) the time it was stealing from those I love. And now, I have no growling to share my life for the accolades and affirmations of others. :) AND I’ve been able to use that time more meaningfully and intiontio ally.

  • The timing of this post could not be any more perfect as I am in the middle of a month long sabbatical from Instagram. It started to feel consuming mentally and made me sad when I thought about every memory being forced into a picture. Anyway, I so appreciate your thoughts! Maybe I’ll meet back up with you on those squares in a couple weeks :)

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