The Ease of the Present Day

Often things feel like they’re always getting worse in so many ways. It’s easy to focus on the negative, simply because at times there seems to be so much negative to focus on. Pandemics. Inflation. Wars. Politics. The Red Sox being 21.5 games behind the Yankees. (Hey, I didn’t say all of these were negative for me. Just that they were negative for many people . . .)

But as I’ve watched different movies and thought about my past some, now and then it just strikes me how easy we have it in so many different ways. The thing that reminded me this time was talking about how Tomas will be able to video call with us once a week. Comparing that to when I was on a mission and I could only talk to my family three times a year on the phone, and the difference is striking. I mean, there’s the whole “video” component of things. Yay technology. But the ability to call Slovakia and see and talk to anyone you want, any time, for free? That’s a huge difference.

When Denisa and I were first married in 2001, she had to get a phone card specifically for calling home. It had the cheapest prices, and it was still something like . . . 20 cents a minute? $1 a minute? I can’t honestly remember. It was high enough that she only called home at select times, and she watched her call length carefully when she did, just so the bill wasn’t too high.

One reason that missionaries likely weren’t allowed to call home in years past is likely (in my opinion) the inequity of the cost. If you have a missionary whose family can afford regular long distance phone calls, and he’s paired up with a missionary whose family can’t, that would be very difficult for the Elder who doesn’t get to talk to Mom and Dad each week.

Now, when Facebook Messenger or Zoom or whatever you want to use, you can call wherever you want for however long you want, as long as you have an internet connection and a device. Granted, devices aren’t free, but they’re also as not prohibitively expensive as they used to be.

People talk about the hypothetical sometimes, “When would you like to live, if you could live whenever?” There are plenty of problems in the present day, but when I think of the big picture, I’m not sure there’s a different time period I would prefer to live in. (Logically, looking at global trends, the answer for me would be “as far in the future as I can, and still understand how society functions.) I mean, medical care is so much better. Leisure time activities are so much broader. Electronics cost a small fraction of what they used to cost. And I would argue that despite there being much to do in terms of making the world a better place for everyone, it’s still a much better place than it has been.

So today I’m looking on the positive. Thinking about how great things have gotten in so many different areas.


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