There are things that, while we’d never wish for all this, have turned out to be okay. In fact, there are some things that are, dare we say, a little better than when life is “normal.”
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This is The Good List — I’m Tsh Oxenreider.
Our current pandemic is genuinely harder and in different ways for different types of people. Certain subsets, like the African-American communities, are legitimately more at risk for serious health issues due to coronavirus, and those who’ve lost work because of all this are certainly hurting. Those of you in health fields and working tirelessly on the frontlines are definitely risking more than my family, who’s mostly staying home and doing work and school from here, and different countries worldwide have different risks, depending on their infrastructure and populations. In other words, yes, we’re all in this together, but also yes, this global pandemic is affecting us in different ways.
But I think one thing we all share, even if we don’t have the same things on our lists, is a list of silver linings — things that, while we wouldn’t wish for this, have turned out to be okay. In fact, there are some things that are a little better than when life is “normal.”
An easy example is pollution — the earth is having a bit of a heyday with so many of its human residents not doing its usual rigamarole of carbon footprinting left and right. Skies are blue where they’ve been gray for years, waters are clear where they’ve been swampy, and grass is literally greener in some places. Traffic is definitely insanely better here in the Austin area, where it’s normally notoriously bad.
So for this addition to the Good List, think of what’s making your good list right now because of your current lifestyle changes, not in spite of it. I don’t mean to pollyanna this situation — it’s completely fair and even healthy to name when things are hard or stressful. I’m not talking about trying to “flip the script” on the negatives; that’ll just put us in a state of denial. I’m talking about the things that are good on their own, the standalone byproduct of what we’re doing right now. Take a minute and jot down a few things that you’re admittedly enjoying right now.
And I recommend us writing this down because we’re gonna forget. I know, it’s impossible to believe right now. How could we forget this wild time? But we will. Not that it happened, but the little, ordinary, everyday parts that you liked. Think of all those things in life you swear you won’t forget: the sound of your child’s voice when they’re little, a favorite song from college, the way the air smells in a place you love. When you run into those things again years later, you’re shocked at the memories that come flooding back.
It’ll be the same for this. Write down the things you like right now, because you don’t want to forget them, and also because maybe you can take them with you. As places start slowly opening back up, for whatever that’s worth, perhaps there’s a new habit, or idea, or work of art, or thing you’ve discovered the past few weeks that you’d like to keep doing when the rhythm of life starts humming somewhat back to what it was (though I think most of us can admit that there is no true “going back to normal,” but you know what I mean).
Here’s a few things on my list… I love that my kids are getting more sleep, we don’t have to pack lunches, and our mornings are overall much more chill. I love that we’re not spending nearly as much money on things, including dining out. I love that my daughter and I are working out together. I love that the kids are finding new ways to entertain themselves, including a weekly D&D campaign they’ve started together. I love that Kyle and I have dates that involve picking up dinner, taking it to a parking lot with a lot of trees, and simply eating and talking. I love seeing so many more people in our neighborhood out on walks — we’re seeing kids we literally never knew existed! I love the lack of pressure to overcommit to events and outings (because there are no events and outings right now). I love that we’re having more family hangouts on the front porch, just enjoying the weather. And I love that our kids are becoming each others’ best friends.
Maybe you can incorporate more family reading nights into your weeks, or evening walks during the sunset. Maybe you’ve found a new workout routine that works even better than what you were doing before. Maybe you like working from home so much you’d like to see if your boss is up for making that a regular practice. Maybe you’ve found such a great bread recipe that it’s not your go-to favorite. Or maybe you’ve discovered that, shock of all shocks to you, your kid does better homeschooling than you ever thought she would, and you might want to give it a full go next school year.
Whatever it is for you, write it down now. Because it’s good to notice the little things that make life better. That’s what this entire show is about, as you know, so I’m a big fan of this practice — especially when things are changing so rapidly. Give yourself reminders of the good that you’d like to stick around. They’re there, I promise.
Hi Tsh, this is Liz in Kansas. I’m calling with my quarantine good with what I’ve been doing… Every morning I open up all the curtains and blinds. But the here’s where the habit part comes off: I’m challenging myself to get the dishes done for the day before the sun sets (since I hand-wash everything because I don’t have a dishwasher). That way I can enjoy the view out my home kitchen window before I go around closing the curtains — I’m just trying to use a lot more natural light, but also trying to motivate myself to get housework done so I can relax.
Well, it’s wild to believe, but April’s officially over, and we’re now officially in May. Last month I experimented short-term with a format of more frequent, shorter Good List episodes, and it was legitimately fun for me. I loved doing it! But with a new month, we’re going back to our regularly scheduled weekly format, so I’ll be back with you next Friday, and every week after that, with a brand new episode of The Good List.
A little reminder that if you haven’t yet, to sign up for my free weekly email called 5 Quick Things, where I share 5 things I either created or loved from the week. Go to fivequickthings.email to sign up, and you’ll get the next weekly email that goes out on Friday mornings.
I’m on twitter @tsh and sometimes on IG @tshoxenreider, and you can also find a transcript and the show notes of this episode, and all episodes, at thegoodlistshow.com.
And don’t forget to leave me a voicemail or send me a voice recording, telling me one thing that’s currently on your Good List. Leave me a voicemail at (401) 684-GOOD or record your voice and email the voice file to email@example.com. State your name and where you’re from, and what’s one thing that makes your life better right now, and we may feature it here on the show.
Thanks to Liz for sharing with us what’s on her Good List. Music for the show is by Kevin MacLeod, and thanks, as always, to Caroline TeSelle and Kyle Oxenreider for their help, as well as my furry intern, Ginny. I’m Tsh Oxenreider, and I’ll be back with you soon — thanks for listening to The Good List.