There are so many things we take for granted in our western industrialized society.

1. Clean air. I am fortunate to live somewhere that has very clean, clear air most of the time. The exceptions are when it’s very allergenic (and windy) outside, and when there are forest fires or prescribed burns. Like lately. When those things happen, we have to weigh the air quality with our need to have the house open. Unfortunately, both usually occur at the loveliest times of the year, when it’s cool but not cold outside, perfect for having windows open.

2. Clean, indoor water. It used to be that, to get clean water indoors, you had to go find a water source, haul some of it back home (water is heavy, folks, eight pounds a gallon), and then filter or boil it. Now, we just turn on the faucet and pay a bill at the end of the month. And we can even make it hot, right out of the tap! If you’re not feeling gratitude for this on a regular basis, I encourage you to give it a try.

3. Electricity. This powers so much in our homes: kitchen and laundry appliances, the HVAC system, lighting, TV and gaming systems, and our electronic devices, such as computers, phones, and tablets. Most of us could survive some time without electricity, but we’d have to remember The Old Ways of food preservation and the like. Plus, more of us would have to take up playing musical instruments for entertainment.

4. Vacuums. This leads me to number four, vacuums. Hard floors could always be swept, but if you wanted a rug of any kind, it would just get dirty, so you’d have to haul it outside, hang it on a tree branch or very sturdy line, and beat it with a carpet beater. (Some astute readers will remember vacuums that had carpet beaters built in.) Be grateful for your Roombas and Dysons, everyone.

5. Modern building codes and practices. Unless there’s something wrong with your house, you’re generally protected from the wind, rain, snow, and other elements when you’re inside. We don’t worry about our houses falling down (unless we live in earthquake zones).

6. Easily available food. One need just go down to the local grocery store (one of many, I might add) and procure some fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, bread, cheese, beans, whatever your heart desires, pretty much. It’s there. And even if you don’t have much money, there is something you can buy. We have it pretty easy, with the variety and quantity of food available at our stores. And, now, you don’t even have to leave the house. You can just pick what you want online and it’ll show up on your doorstep.

There are many other things to add to this list, of course, but give some thought to what you take for granted in your life, and remember to appreciate them.

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