I like making lists. Do you like making lists? “To do” lists are the most common, as well as “to buy” lists to remind me what to pick up at the store.
But have you ever made one of those lists where you write down everything you are thankful for? A gratitude list. For me, it always starts with Tom, my family, a place to call home, good food to eat, the love of God (who is Love), our dog, and eventually gets to the more trivial… “brightly colored post-it notes…” and “10 more minutes on snooze.” lol Or similarly, maybe you’ve made a list of things that make you happy. These lists are fun to make.
Well in some ways, I see my new blog as an ongoing discovery and celebration of these best things in life… things that constitute The Good Life, at least for me. Sometimes a recognition of the little joys in life. And sometimes, on a deeper level, an intimate, introspective look at the things that truly matter. …if there even is a distinction between those two (we will see).
I realize this phrase “the good life” has as many meanings as interpreters. For many people, “the good life” means forsaking busy civilization and learning to live peacefully and self-sufficiently in nature. For others, it means acquiring the most luxurious goods this world has to offer and never needing to worry wear your next dollar will come from (quite the opposite!). For me, it means something else entirely. It’s a way of life that I am beginning to think about and define in this 27th year. And well, I’m just bold enough to think the entire inter-cyber-net-universe needs to get this inside scoop!
I think an incredibly fascinating place to start with this search, as with all searches, is Wikipedia. This site holds all the answers, if you didn’t know. But since it’s community-edited, it’s always interesting to see what has been said and what’s been left out. “The Good Life” entry is fascinating for this reason. It’s relatively short for such an immense topic. Why is it that this is all that’s been written about the ultimate experience of human existence?
THE GOOD LIFE
The good life is a term for the life that one would like to live, or for happiness, associated (as eudaimonia) with the work of Aristotle and his teaching on ethics.
There has been a pattern in the life of the Christian Church of monasticism or ascetism, wherein members of the body of Christ separated themselves to be consecrated to a more contemplative lifestyle, or decided to live in voluntary poverty in order to better meet the needs of the world.
Recent developments in this field have been made by what some call the new monasticism. Young men and women, both monogamous married couples and celibate singles, share their homes and lives, usually in the inner city as a means and method of growing in their faith and ministering to the marginalized and hurting people surrounding them.
There have been many instances throughout history, especially American history, of individuals or groups of individuals attempting to return to a simpler state of existence, or, as Henry David Thoreau said, “to front the essential facts of life”. Thoreau wrote his influential memoir Walden about his personal experience with simple living. A century later, Helen and Scott Nearing published a series of books on “the good life” detailing their alternative lifestyle.
* La dolce vita (The Sweet Life) – Federico Fellini’s 1960 film may be seen as an antonym of ‘the good life’ concept
* Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
* Living Faithfully in a Fragmented World by Jonathan R. Wilson
* The Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing
* Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
* School(s) for Conversion edited by Rutba House
* The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claibourne
* Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ronald J. Sider
* Walden by Henry David Thoreau
* The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder
…Back to me now.
So that’s a very interesting look at what is meant by “The Good Life.” I will be reading some of these books and other materials and digging deeper as part of this blog.
But I also have my own ideas of what needs to be on the “official” entry.