Do you ever feel that you were born in the wrong century?
I do. That’s why I love historical fiction.
Back then, it seems, there were none of the problems that exist these days.
Especially for religious people, the past is something we feel we wandered from. If only we could return to the golden years of the pioneers, or maybe the perfect families of the 1950s… I’d like to see the American west while buffalo still roamed the plains, to hear Jesus speak, or to live as a victorious warrior in the ancient world.
Then again, it’s one thing to read about the past. Quite another to live it.
In Feb 2009, Reader’s Digest ran an article by John Tierney entitled “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which showed the blessings of living nowadays. Here are the top ten reasons to be thankful for living in the present. (My thoughts are mixed in following each topic)
- Free time
Though we complain how busy we are, we have more time than ever before for non-job activities. It’s all about how we choose to spend that time.
Have you ever noticed that most of history is filled with violence? Yet, “[o]ver the past century, even counting the world wars, a person’s chance of dying from war or violent civil strife was less than 2 percent… comparable to the statistical risk of driving a car in the United States.”
- A roomier American dream
In the good old days, travelers had to share lodging—including beds—with other travelers. Lice and stench. Even at home it was often a one room log cabin shared with the entire family.
- The reader’s revolution
Libraries, amazon, e-readers. I regret not living when one could know everything there was to know, but I’m so thankful for unending number of books.
- The horn of plenty
Sure there is GM food, and pesticides exist. But my family and I have never lacked a meal.
In the 18th century, French peasants ate under 2,000 calories on average. Nowadays most people in poor nations each 2,700 calories.
Plus, look at the variety: Cocoa from Mexico, kiwi from New Zealand, pineapples, lobster. Food from around the world, and fruits out of season.
- More wilderness
This isn’t quite true with all time periods, but many areas razed by settlers are now wild again. Plus, with technology it is easier than ever to enjoy it.
- The modern automobile
It doesn’t take a year to get to Oregon or California now. No months of traveling, trying to time everything with the seasons, just to begin a homestead before winter. And families don’t have to say the forever goodbye just because a member leaves for another part of the country.
- The platinum age of television
Niche stations. Education, movies, sports. Though this may be a curse time-wise, entertainment has made a quantum leap.
- Retreat from Armageddon
“During the Cold War, the United States and the former Soviet Union had about 50,000 nuclear warheads aimed at each other.” 90 percent are gone.
Gone are the days of the family’s single black and white photograph with everyone looking somber (so the picture would be clear–smiling could make for a blurry picture). Now, our entire lives are recorded via digital photos and social network.
So, read about the past. Engross yourself in that world while you cuddle up in your chair. And enjoy life in the present. Be thankful for the best of both worlds.