Just say a short prayer offering thanks for having the great fortune of living at the best time in human history.........best technology, science/medicine, appliances, transportation, best entertainment, best sources for energy to power it all, best weather/climate.
Don't let anybody try to fool you into thinking this is not true.
Know its true and enjoy it to the maximum while using it to help make the world a better place.
sorry met mike. let me tell you why i may disagree with a couple of your points.
yes, i agree we should say a little prayer/whatever each day and be greatful. but...
for people who grew up in the 50's 60's 70's 80's...
health insurance was better. it was more affordable. (as a percent of the average income).
a doctor visit, or a trip to urgent care, was more afffordable (as a percent of the average income).
a person without a lot of education had a better choice of good jobs with a good paycheck ( & benefits).
a public employee received better compensation. (and better pay raises).
the roads were better.
higher ed was more affordable. (i could give you figures for this).
there was less (annoying) bureaucracy that a public employee had to put up with. (i could print pages on this topic alone). most of this bureaucracy has NOT improved society. it occasionally helps a few individuals.
teachers were shown more respect.
a senior who wanted to save for retirement could get a decent return on their savings. (if they did not want to put money in the stock market).
i think as we go into the future , most folks will be astounded at the number of pension funds that go bankrupt over the next 25 years.
i am not that impressed with all the new tech. i could care less about having a computer screen in the middle of my car dash. i don't care at all about facebook, snap, instagram, messaging, hulu, netflix, etc.
and btw, over the last 10 years it has gotten harder to get ahold of the stuff i need to treat bees for parasites. (too much bureaucracy).
over the last 20 years air travel has become more of a nuisance (bureaucracy).
but yes, there are some things that are better.
Thank you so much for your excellent thoughts bear!
It's especially thrilling just to get a response from one of these posts!!!
You make some good points. Health insurance and cost of college are clearly major problems in the US today.
I guess it also boils down to ones perspective. For me, the internet has become a way to educate myself about many fields........including climate science but also hundreds of other topics. I have always been big into learning things for fun and bettering ones self and a better way to do it could not have been invented.
I have access to thousands of weather maps every day. As a meteorologist for 37 years, there has not been 1 hour of one day that analyzing the weather for a living has not been fun.
Speaking of profession. I remember trading back in the 90's.............call your broker on the phone to place an order. The order sometimes did not get filled for several minutes and you did not hear back when it was hectic for more than 15 minutes. Now, I can see the top 10 bids and offers in every market and push a button.......less than a second later, I'm filled at MY price while sitting in a chair in front of the computer and looking at weather maps on the other side of my screen and with live quotes going on too.
Trading and meteorological heaven................all day, every day(when the markets are open)
But very few people trade or analyze weather.
I have accomplished many projects at home/fixed stuff I knew nothing about because many thousands of people on the internet who are much more talented than me, love to show off their expertise at fixing stuff with great demonstrations/videos.
You may not use facebook or other places like that.............but guess MarketForum is another example of this technology. You and I would never know each other. I would not have the opportunity to share messages on markets/trading, weather and topics like this.
Regarding emails. I am chess coach at 5 schools and have over 200 students, some with split parents and grandparents, so close to 300 contacts.. We have 6 different tournaments to sign them up for and I have chess shirt orders. In the 90's, when I was chess coach at 2 schools and we only did 1 tournament and no chess shirts, I used the telephone to call each house...........sometimes leaving messages, then calling back. It took numerous hours and numerous days.
Today, I type up email messages with all the relevant information and sign up lists and send copies to each family at each school with just 4 emails, 1 for each school.............then record the responses. It would take me an entire week to call 200 families this way. Passing out hard copies of the info at school was good but I needed to talk with each parent to discuss arrangements/transportation.
I agree that our health care system is broken but 100 years ago and prior to that, even the richest people on the planet..........kings and queens and powerful people had their children die from things like bacterial infections or childhood diseases. There were no antibiotics. You could offer the doctor a million dollars and put them in the best hospital with the best care but in many cases, it didn't save their lives like a prescription for antibiotics does today.
Vaccines have eliminated most of the childhood diseases in the developed world......measles, mumps and so on.
When you wash your clothes or dishes today.........you are not really doing that......the machine is doing most of the work. Do you ever cut down trees? I've cut down a couple dozen and cut up many dozens and its fun because the chainsaw magnifies your power X 200 at least.
I love my riding mower and top of the line power blower that blows air at 240 mph and all my gas and electric powered tools......using cheap, abundant, reliable and energy dense fossil fuels that are THE reason for most technological advancements). They make jobs very efficient and easy.......speaking of power, that magical electrical current that flows thru wires to our houses didn't exist 150 years ago.
Neither did tv or radio
Or entertainment or professional/college sports.
Today, when there is breaking news anywhere on the planet, the entire world knows all about it in minutes.
or cars. People used horses or walked 150 years ago. How often would you travel across the country to see a relative? For most people NEVER. Vacations? They didn't exist. Gyms? They didn't exist. People did not exercise for health back then. Food? It was scarce and you could not store things in a freezer or fridge. There weren't grocery stores with everything you can imagine just a few minutes drive from your house. Or restaurants or thousands of other stores selling everything under the sun.
Heating your house? Not a concern where you live but that was a challenge in the cold climates during cold waves and how about that heat out there in the Southwest/Arizona? What was life like less than 100 years ago without air conditioning there or in most of the US during the Summer?
I think people today waste alot of water, especially those that take showers every day out of habit and because its a luxury.(if you work hard or get dirty thats a different story). 150 years ago, if you lived in Minnesota for instance in the Winter and the temperature stayed below freezing much of the time and all the rivers and ponds were frozen, exactly how did you stay clean?
And there was no indoor plumbing or running water, so everybody had to go outside to use the outhouse.........even during sub zero cold(probably some much have just gone in a pail in their house and dumped it in the outhouse.
Speaking of that, more soldiers died in the Civil War from diarrhea/dysentery and other diseases caused by drinking contaminated water..........than from gunshot wounds. They didn't understand that having their latrine next to their water supply was contaminating it.
Read this article and imagine what it was like being a soldier in the Civil War.
Civil War Diseases
Most of our worst days in this age are better than people's average days back then.
Their worst days? Unimaginable by today's standards but back then, people accepted it because that's the way life was.
When I was a chaperone for my sons 5th grade class 25 years ago at a Lincoln State Memorial Park field trip, I will never forget, after the tour was over, when a boy asked the tour guide why every log cabin out of 10 had 2 wooden boxes in front of them.
Can you guess what they were for?
They were coffins, built in advance with the expectation that each family ASSUMED they would lose a couple of young children from disease or sickness. That was an accepted way of life...........and death.
Speaking of which, the average life expectancy was less than 40 years in every country in the 1800's.
Everybody prepared for an early death.
Withot cheap, power dense, reliable and abundant fossil fuels, most advancements that have enhanced and extended our lives would not exist!
So bear, it boils down to perspective................what you want to compare our lives today with.
There certainly are problems in our world, especially compared to some things that peaked a few decades ago that we remember that are not as good as they used to be when we were younger.
You listed some good/legit ones. We have gone backwards instead of forwards in those realms which should not be and we have good reason to expect better and insist on better.
From my perspective, however I view the world today compared to the world 150 year ago, when hardship, often severe hardship and constant challenges to survive were universal to almost all humans............but they didn't know it because that was just their (brief) lives...........from beginning to premature end.
We know it today though................because we have been so spoiled and conditioned to having hundreds/thousands of wonderful things that when they don't meet expectations it's not so wonderful..............they suck.
That is not just taking things for granted, its human nature. Everything is relative. There is a relationship between most things compared to other things in certain realms.
If you live a life rated 9 on a scale of 1-10 , for instance and the quality of your life drops to 7.............it sucks.
If you lived with a life quality of 2 and you worked your way up to a 3 (which probably was not even attainable for most people 150 years ago by our standards today) you would be the happiest person on the planet.
It's all perspective and what you want to compare it with bear!
We all complain about dumb/trivial stuff. That's not to overlook legit complaints from suffering, abuse, injustice or other conditions that must be aggressively confronted and managed or eliminated if possible by applying effective means that we have at our disposal.
I complain more than I should at home, like everybody else........especially considering that I was able to observe the worlds MASTER MENTOR on not complaining.......ever.
This person grew up in the inner city of Detroit. Sometimes on welfare, never met their dad, youngest of 4 children. Great mom though, who taught him what it meant to be devoted to family.....and be grateful for what little they had. Starting from the time this person was a young boy, he worked constant jobs and gave all the money to his mom and accepted this as a good life with the objective to be his best.
He served in army at the end of WW2, then graduated from the University of Detroit. After that, he became a top notch industrial engineer for Ford Motor, where he worked the rest of his life. Quite an accomplishment for the boy who grew up in the "Irish Ghetto" of inner city Detroit in the 1920's/30's.
But this was not what really defined his life. He married and had 6 children. Without knowing his own father or having that relationship he decided, like everything else in his life, that he was going to be the best.
This is how I got to know him. ...as his oldest son. The boy with no dad.........grew up to be the best dad the world has ever known. All parents have challenges raising children but I gave Dad many more challenges than any kids that I grew up with......... but he never complained. Not even 1 time did he complain. I was there. Not 1 time.
Our mom also lost her dad when she was a baby, then watched her mother die of cancer and was raised by her older siblings after that. Tough childhood and this caused her to suffer psychological issues well into adulthood. But she had the good fortune to marry a man devoted to heal her and while he faced tremendous adversity trying to do this.....he never complained 1 time. I was there. Not one time did he complain. If fact, if we complained about mom or something else.............WE were in trouble for it. And he turned it into a good marriage and provided a wonderful life for his wife, our mom(who provided us with love thru the pain that she suffered).
If the sheet would hit the fan or the chips were down or there were seemingly impossible obstacles, dad acted like they were just all opportunities to apply what he had learned as a child and continued as adult. Make the best of every situation by being the best that you can be......for you and your family and never complain not even 1 time. If you are unhappy about something.......get working on making it better and changing it but never complain or feel sorry for yourself.
Dad is 94 years old today and is still a living Saint in many ways. Around 10 years ago, after reflecting on his parenting and being a husband that had tremendous challenges, I asked him if my memory was actually correct. How was it, that thru all those years he never complained 1 time at home and did he ever complain to his buddies or coworkers?
He said, "Heck no, I never complained! They would not have respected me as a man. A real man would never complain about his wife and kids. It would have been embarrassing for me, as a man to have people think that I was not in control of the situation at home"
I think that also, his early years, having to rely only on himself and his mom to successfully overcome tremendous adversity and disadvantages, prepared him for things in the future that would never be overwhelming.....because none of them seemed any worse than what he was accustomed to dealing with every day growing up.
Reminds me of this quote:
"This is the less-studied of two phenomena that happen when we go through something awful. We either get stressed (PTSD), or we grow. Depending on the trauma and how we deal with it, hard things can indeed make us better. Not always, but if the trauma doesn’t take away our capacity to look inward in an honest way, we have a shot of leveraging it, rather than being destroyed by it.
“Science shows that hardship leads to something better when it is used as an opportunity for self-assessment, a rare chance to reevaluate the basic premises of our life,” writes a buddy of mine, who went through a fair amount of PTSD (and growth!) in his career and personal life a few years ago, in his wonderful book, A Book About Love. “The pain becomes an engine of meaning, as people often discover in the aftermath of a great difficulty that life is brief, and that those we love matter more than anything else.”
You hear that? SCIENCE shows this. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is not just wishful thinking. Thank God(s). It just depends on if we’re able to use it to reassess our ourselves. Easier said than done, for sure. But this is comforting."
"As a journalist, I see my role in society as one who uses words to create change. That’s a powerful and humbling responsibility.
But as a human being, my role should be no different. Should it?
Our words are sharp tools. They can free people or destroy them. So many of our problems in the world and in our lives come from using the power of our words improperly. And even as a journalist who prides himself in the truth, I’ve learned that I am not automatically inoculated from the ability to cause pain with my words in everyday life — from lying to gossip to defeating self-talk — and that’s a power we all can afford to take real time to observe, evaluate, and commit to using the right way.
As Don Miguel Ruiz writes, “Your word is pure magic, and misuse of your word is black magic.”
"Call it lateral thinking, call it innovation, call it changing the game — call it any of my favorite euphemisms for the topic I write so much about in my books — but Bruce Lee recognized something really cool in the middle of all this back trouble: that you don’t come to know your true self by trying to be someone else.
In the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, he wrote, “If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow — you are not understanding yourself.”
What I’m trying to say, my friends, is keep beating your drum until you find the beat that’s yours. When you feel down, use your words to spread beauty and love and change for others — whether you write them or just speak them. And use that writing and narrative-searching process to find the growth in hardship when it hits you — whether it’s a setback or a slump or one of life’s stupid mistakes.
That’s what I’m going to be working on for the next little while. I’ll check in to let you know how it’s going.