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Nickname: Clive Maxfield     Articles(444)     Visits(533110)     Comments(79)     Votes(236)     RSS
There is so much amazingly cool "stuff" to see and do that I'm amazed I find the time to get any real work done. In my blog I will waffle on about the books I'm reading, the projects I'm building, and the weird and wonderful websites I blunder across. Please Email Me if you see anything you think will "tickle my fancy."
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Posted: 02:38:28 PM, 06/06/2014

Reflecting on our blessings


I do not intend to dispatch the butler to fetch my angry trousers, but I do feel moved to say something. More and more these days, I am noticing people wishing their lives away and/or moaning about "how hard things are" (and not in a good way).


I know it's easy to dwell in the past ("We'll never see days like that again"). I also know it's easy to long for the future ("Just a few more days, and it will be the weekend.") The problem with both of these scenarios is that we end up missing out on the moment.


If all we do is long for days gone past or things to come, we neglect the good things going on all around us. When you come to think about it, for the vast majority of human existence on this planet, our species has lived in horrendous conditions and painfully eked out a pitiful existence. To this day, a tremendous number of people around the globe live in abject poverty, and many of them live in fear of their lives.


When my mother was a young girl, her family didn't have air conditioning, central heating, or hot running water. All they had was a single cold water supply to the tiny kitchen, along with an outside toilet at the far end of the yard. Any hot water was heated on the coal-fired stove in the kitchen. They took a bath only once a week. This involved bringing the tin bath up from the cellar and slowly filling it pan by pan with hot water. My mom's grandfather would have the first bath, followed by her mom and dad, followed by my mom and her sister and brother... all in the same water.


They lit the house using candles and gas lights. They didn't have electricity installed until 1941. I'm sure the delight of getting electricity was offset by the fact that my grandfather, who was in the Royal Navy, was busy being sunk on a series of ships (he was not considered a good luck charm), and bombs were falling whenever the Germans had a spare moment. As a major steel producer, our hometown of Sheffield was a prime target.


Today we have the most amazing medical facilities and capabilities. Our homes are heated and cooled. We have hot and cold running water, and we can take a shower or have a bath multiple times a day if we so desire. We have high-definition color televisions in almost every room of the house (living in the hope that one day there will be something worth watching), and we have access to cheap and plentiful food beyond the wildest dreams of our ancestors.


Once again, I know that an uncountable number of people still live in the direst of circumstances. When I paint my rosy picture, I'm talking about the people I know in America, Australia, Europe, and many other places around the world -- the sort of people who have access to the Internet and the time to read this blog.


Many of us are truly living in the golden age of humankind. The vast majority of our ancestors -- and the vast majority of people living in the world today -- would say we're enjoying the lives of emperors and empresses.


Life is very short. We diminish it by wishing our hours away and belittling our lot. We should all begin each and every day by reflecting on our blessings. I, for example, have my extraordinary good looks, incredible sense of fashion, extreme intelligence, and cutting wit, to name but a few. (You, for example, have my columns to enjoy.) After that, we should seize each moment and enjoy it to the fullest, remembering that these moments are finite in number, and that others are not as fortunate as we are.


Wake up and smell the bagels. {Pontification mode = OFF}


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