So, I have said before that I think I was born in the wrong century. I like to hand quilt, cook, garden and build stuff. I love that I picked an entire big bag of swiss chard, collards and romaine right out of my backyard garden today. I love that there are little peas forming on our plants and the okra is just starting to peek through the dirt. I love that my daughter woke up this morning under a blanket I made myself. I love to cook a full meal and make my own strawberry jam.
I do hearken back a bit to the “good” old days, but need to remember that there were both pros and cons to them.
Pros: No makeup, you didn’t hear people refer to their quilting companions as their “besties”, and no Justin Bieber. Cons: Having to boil many kettles of water for your kids’ weekly baths (gag), no movies, and no giant coffee mecca (gasp!).
While I like to perpetuate some old-fashioned practices, I learned this week that I really don’t wish I lived in another time.
We’ve had one of those “Texas” Aprils. The kind where it’s freezing and you’re covering the garden one minute, (remember the last blog post?) and it’s pushing 90 degrees the next. Seriously, weather? How many times can people really use the phrase “Well, that’s Texas weather for you!”? Clearly they can use it a lot of times.
Just for fun this week, our remaining 27 year-old AC unit decided to throw in the towel. Like really throw it in. Not like the other times when the warranty company has recharged it, slapped a band-aid on it and we moved on. It was D-E-D, dead. Consequently, the ambient air temp in the upstairs was a crisp 88 degrees. Ahhhh….sweating yourself to sleep…
I am not into sleeping in a sauna and neither is my family. Back in the old days we would have built our house to take advantage of the crosswind and breezes, not just stuck it wherever it would shoehorn in with the rest of the houses. We might also have a lovely sleeping porch.
We have no lovely sleeping porch, so downstairs we all trooped. Splayed out all over the living room like a dysfunctional slumber party. We have been doing this for several nights now and we all are over it.
Even the seven year-old said, “Can I sleep in my bed soon? That air mattress is really making my back hurt.” So imagine the back pain of we who are not seven. We are doubly spoiled due to our recent memory-foam acquisition. That mattress is awesome. Way better than hay or horsehair, I bet. Hmmm…seems like modern day wins another round.
Obviously modern times are better in so many ways. I like healthy, organic meat and dairy. While the old days were full of it, I would not have enjoyed the procuring process. I like to feed chickens and would love it if we could have some here for all the fresh eggs. On the flip side, my chickens to show up in my fridge already deceased and featherless. Not sure I could stomach the in between bits.
I like to crochet and knit things for fun, but having to knit dull, coarse yarn into necessary items might take the fun out of it. Perhaps not, if there were no DVR-ed episodes of NCIS or Cougartown to watch in the waning hours of the day. Maybe knitting boring yarn into socks was high entertainment at the fireside. Who knows?
Back to the AC mess. When it comes to modern day living, I think that I like the good stuff and hate the bad stuff. Novel concept, right? I’m a rocket-scientist (nobody would have used that phrase back in the day). I love my air conditioning and refrigerator. I love having electricity power my sewing machine instead of my foot.
I hate working behind a desk in an office without windows or with windows that don’t open. I love working outside in the dirt or inside at my craft table. I hate cleaning and think there was probably a lot less of that going on back in the day, with smaller houses, less stuff and no indoor plumbing…well, that last part is a serious one-up for 2013. I do like the indoor plumbing.
While there was backbreaking work and many children to keep up with (yes, probably more than I have now), there was also a simpler life. In light of recent horrific events, that seems even more idyllic that it probably was. However, there was a greater reliance on God to provide and a stronger family emphasis. Neighbors came together to bring meals, care for children, finish a barn or bring in a crop. We are blessed to have neighbors and friends who do help in so many ways, but not everyone is so lucky. It isn’t the pervasive nature of our culture anymore.
Then again, along with today comes doctors who can keep my kids healthy, schools where girls can be educated and go on to college, cars that can run us to the grocery store when something is needed. All good things. I have to think my counterparts hundreds of years ago would have enjoyed those.
I guess when it comes down to it, you should be happy wherever and whenever you are. God put you there for a reason. Embrace what you have now and borrow a bit from the past. Try to make your life the best you can make it. In the immortal words of the great philosopher Billy Joel:
"The good old days weren't always good, And tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems."
Oh, and be thankful for the AC!