The weather today is in the 90s, with a heat index of over 100 degrees. Fortunately, we have air conditioning in our home. The newspaper says a local aid agency gets over 100 calls a day requesting fans or air conditioners. When I grew up, we didn’t have air conditioning, of course – and neither did most of the people we knew. We had fans, which seemed quite normal to us. Summer heat was a part of life.
When people step outside now, they immediately complain about how hot it is, and that they just can’t do anything outside in this heat. They’re used to air conditioning, and how much better their lives are with it. They have it at home, in their cars, their offices. Even where they shop had better have excellent air conditioning, as well.
I once knew someone who said that we should “store up the good times and remember them when the bad times come.” I always agreed with this, but have an additional slant to it, as well. I believe we should still keep the bad (or less fortunate) times in mind and remember them when we are living well. Recalling the heat and the effort it took to sleep at night never fails to bring me a lot of appreciation for what I have now.
Years ago, I lived in an efficiency apartment – one room with a tiny bathroom and kitchen. This apartment had a space heater and no air conditioning. The tenant could use a fan. To demonstrate how long ago this was, the rent was $75.00 a month.
At the time, I fully appreciated being able to rent this apartment. I lived there for some time after I was divorced. The elderly landlady allowed me to keep my cat, which was my first priority (along with affordable rent). Everything else was tolerable. I froze in the winter and burned up in the summer. Other tenants could easily be heard coming and going on the uncarpeted hallway floors. Doors always closed with a loud slam. But when I became irritated with the noise and the extreme temperatures, I remembered the important things – having my cat in a place I could afford.
I remind myself daily to be thankful that I have things such as air conditioning. When I didn’t, I rejoiced that I had other things, like affordable rent and my cat. I do store up the good times, but still remember the less-good times, as well. If my house air conditioning goes out, I will survive, just like I did in my second-floor efficiency. If I become less secure than I am now, I will remember how I got through the past insecure times. Future good fortune will, I hope, make me even more aware of my blessings. But no matter what I possess, I will try to keep living with appreciation of what I have had in the past and may have in the future.