Living in the lap of luxury

8 Jan

As some of you know, I have recently doubled down on the being-frugal thing by cutting out a lot of expenses outside of basic standard of living, mostly because I get a thrill out of watching my bank account grow.

This, and some outside reading, has caused me to reflect on the fact that what I consider “basic standard of living” is better than anything most of the most wealthy and powerful people throughout the history of humankind could have even imagined.

I can specify the temperature of my home to the degree at the push of a button. I move a lever and clean water comes out at the exact temperature I want and in limitless quantities. I can drink it, wash clothes with it, bathe with it, whatever I want without any pesky wells.

If I want to get in touch with someone who lives far away from me, I can be hearing their voice at the push of a button. If I want to see them (maybe not basic standard of living, but still) I can be anywhere in the world in a few hours for about a weeks wages. Even my car turns a journey that used to take months into a few days. It wasn’t long ago that if a person left home they may never see their family again.

For entertainment, even the fact that I can read opens up a world of opportunities few people had 500 years ago. I have an essentially limitless supply of free books at the library, and could get movies there too if I didn’t have the amazing luxury that is the internet, where I can also learn anything I want for free.

Food? I don’t have to plan months ahead of time, keep plants and animals alive for months, harvest/slaughter them, and then figure out a way to store the food through the winter, I just pop in to the grocery story where there are shelves full of every kind of food I could ask for. When I’m ready to prepare it, I take it out of the fridge (no storing blocks of ice for me!) and push a button (no wood chopping either!) to have my stove or oven instantly ready to cook.

For most of human history, we all spent the vast majority of our waking hours just surviving. Now it takes almost zero effort. I’d rather live in my typical middle-class apartment than be royalty in a huge, drafty castle in the 1400s.

I think this realization, that we are all already living a life that our ancestors could not have even dreamed of, and probably would’ve been willing to pay billions for, is an important step towards being grateful. And because consumerism can be boiled down to trying to buy a better life, gratefulness is the first step to savings.


2 Responses to “Living in the lap of luxury”

  1. autumnkovachak January 9, 2015 at 9:36 am #

    Such a great perspective. So true.

  2. Glenna January 8, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

    I love your conclusion.
    We live lives of great choices and abundances. I really don’t know how we can be so lucky.

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