I just finished reading Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler (outstanding book by the way) and it spurred me to list all the things that are better today than my grandparents, and parents, had just 50 short years ago. We need more positive thoughts and ideas in our lives with so much negative information on TV and on the internet.
So in no particular order:
1. Central air. My Dad remembers the first time he had air conditioning – he was 25.
2. Cell Phones. I still remember my grandmother’s telephone, it was a party line. That meant that you had to wait to use the phone – and it rang in multiple homes. She could remember when the first telephone arrived in her home town. Everyone wanted to use it – but they had no one to call. Speaking of cell phones, do you realize that it has replaced, on average, about 500 pounds and 10 thousand dollars’ worth of books and appliances from the 1970s? A set of encyclopedias, a dictionary, a globe or atlas, a calculator, a computer, a television, a camera, a scanner, a flashlight, a radio, 10,000+ vinyl records, etc. Imagine – or don’t, I still remember all those things.
3. Credit cards and ATMs. No more writing checks or waiting for the bank to open to get your money – and you couldn’t get your money if you traveled out of town unless the place you were going took out of town checks.
4. Cable TV. I still remember when there were only 3 channels (CBS, NBC, ABC) and if you were in a big city, possible PBS.
5. Automobiles. More choices, they are safer, more comfortable, and have more onboard entertainment than my parents or grandparents had in their houses. And cars have seatbelts and people use them for the most part. I remember my grandfather’s old Chevy didn’t have seatbelts.
6. Better Roads: You wouldn’t believe me if I told you – but the roads today are MUCH better. Better marked, safer, and better engineered.
7. Office Work. We now have laser printers, color copiers, scanners, video teleconferencing, email, and the list goes on. I remember when you had a notepad and a shared typewriter.
8. Computer spreadsheets. There was a time when you had to hire an accountant to do the functions possible by anyone with a basic knowledge of excel and some time.
9. Air Travel. I remember when planes had a smoking section – yuck. My grandmother never flew on an airplane. Air travel is faster, safer, and more comfortable than taking a train was 100 years ago.
10. Food. More variety, more ethnic choices, and fresher produce. I remember when Chinese TV dinners were exotic. I don’t think my Grandfather ever had Thai, Indian, Japanese, Russian, Greek, or Middle Eastern food. It was never available to him – now those ethnic choices are available in almost every mid-sized American city.
11. Health. Infant mortality was mother’s dying in childbirth was a real worry when my mother was born. Now they are an anomaly with modern medicine. At the turn of the last century Polio was a major medical scourge – it’s almost non-existent now. Breaks throughs with stem cell treatment and cancer research along with other medical breakthroughs will make for better quality of life for the elderly.
I could go on and on. No matter what you read or hear – our future holds abundant promise and it should make everyone smile knowing where we are compared to what our grandparents had. Be thankful, and enjoy the wonders to come.