It is strange how in modern times we like to lament pollution, over-population, nuclear wars, and so on and somehow think times were rosier in the “old days”.
In the “old days” people died by the millions at very young ages from simple health problems like diarrhea. I walked through one cemetery in Penticton a week ago, and they have a section for children. It was sad to see so many headstones where the child died at birth or at very young ages. Modern times we witness miracles of medical science. A nurse at the hospital was taking my blood today and her son weighed just over 2 pounds and he survived, and he survived leukemia in his pre-teens. Myself I would never have survived in the “old days” because they didn’t do transplants and dialysis was not dreamed of.
What about other things? Houses are built to standards a zillion times stronger, and more airtight, and energy efficient.
Travel? In my grandfather’s day, people rarely travelled, and the bold few might risk a car or train excursion. Tires in those days punctured easily and if you drove, you had to know how to change a tire, and carry multiple spares. My grandfather drove on dirt roads in horrific conditions all winter long during the depression, and he had a big family to feed so he drove and worked 18 hour days.
Life expectancy? in the old days, a 50 year old was lucky, and even 40 years ago 70 was a good life expectancy.
I am glad to live now. I live in a time where I am around to see my children grow up, otherwise I would never have even seen my son born. The house I live in isn’t a palace but it is much nicer than the one my Dad was born in. He was born on the prairies in October 1938. Basically a one room shack, a little heat from a stove, constantly losing heat as no insulation to speak of. His uncle had to stand at the door and tell trick&treaters no treats that year because they were trying to keep the house warm and couldn’t open the door.
Travel. This is so cool. People do travel now and are able to travel huge distances in a single day. Travel is affordable and not just for millionaires. I have seen the Vatican with my family, cave churches in Cappadocia in Turkey with my Sue, ridden the tube in London with my family, and walked on the beach at midnight with them in Sweden.
I never dreamed of doing those things and now those memories are mine; of mosques at dawn, white skirts of whirling dervishes, colorful hot air balloons in cool mornings over the fairie castles of Cappadocia, pizza and cappuccinos across from the Colosseum. An average person like me to have seen so much, it is amazing.
The reality is that we live in a wonderful time of opportunity, and have been blessed to be here living in this time.