High on my list of new podcasts for 2017 is Stephen Altrogge’s latest project Only The Good Stuff. It’s been thoroughly enjoyable so far, with an upbeat tone that is refreshing as well as entertaining. The show’s intent is to feature zero complaining, no negativity, only discussion about things that his guests are truly enjoying. I love the premise, and so after listening to several episodes, I became inspired and set about making a list of my own. So here’s ‘the good stuff’ that I’ve been enjoying in 2017.
1. The Note Sleeve by Bellroy
Simply the best purchase I’ve made so far this year has been this wallet by Bellroy. In concert with the Stocard app for iPhone, I’ve simplified my wallet from two dozen credit cards, membership cards, rewards cards, and licences down to a super slim form (at least an inch thinner) that now fits in my pocket so easily I barely know its there. The design of this wallet gives me three quick access slots for my most used cards, and hides the rest away for their less frequent use. Carrying my wallet has always been an annoying necessity and a bulky irritation that no one has come up with a better solution for. Until now, and I’m loving it.
I have a terrible memory. But a conversation in late 2016 brought a moment of clarity that has revolutionized the way that I organise my thoughts and plan my actions. Always concerned that my terrible memory would be hurtful at worst or seen as a negative at best, the enlightening statement went something like this “think of making lists as placing scaffolding around your weakness”. Suddenly, leaning on to-do lists no longer feels like a cop-out. Enter todoist, the app that helps me to keep track of everything that my brain would otherwise have forgotten five minutes after I thought of it. Todoist is my task manager; whenever I think of something I need to do, it goes straight into todoist as a snappy one-line item such as “ARRANGE: Truck hire for Saturday”. It gets a due date, and its saved. The pressure is off, but the task isn’t forgotten. Win/Win.
My family moved house a fortnight ago, and into a home which has more storage space, more floor space, just more space. But here’s the funny thing; in unpacking everything from boxes in the garage to their final resting places in drawers, cupboards, or shelves, even though we’ve nearly finished and still have plenty of room I’ve actually found that continuing to reduce our material possessions has been wonderfully therapeutic. While being grateful that we still have an empty shelf here and there, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed multiple runs to the local dump, giving clothes to charity by the box load, and generally asking whether we really need this or that. There’s all sorts of theological reflections that can be made here, but suffice it to say that living more simply and getting down to what really matters has been good for my soul, and I’m finding great joy in letting go of a lot of things that don’t matter all that much in order to make space for the things that do.
4. The Kindle Voyage
The time was long overdue when I decided it was time to upgrade my Kindle – purchased over a decade ago – for a newer model. To give you an idea of what I was reading on, my old Kindle had no light, wasn’t a touch screen, and boasted a full manual keyboard at the bottom. I’d considered the cost: at AU$300 this wasn’t a small purchase, but at the rate I buy books (and averaging $20 per book) the Voyage would set me back the cost of only 15 books. The adaptive light sensor means I can literally read anywhere anytime in perfect clarity, and simply applying pressure on the bezel to turn the page means I can keep a comfortable hold – no more buttons. I love to read. And as much as I love paperbacks, we’ve just bought our fourth bookshelf for the house. So transitioning more of my purchases to e-books saves dollars, and makes sense.