Saturday, January 23, 2010

January Ain't So Bad...Considering...

January in 1864 Michigan:
Gray skies making normally vibrant colors look bland
Cold - sometimes very cold - temperatures with a harsh wind
Many times little or no snow, other times a ton of snow
Short days and long nights

Can you imagine just how dreary January was in the 1860's? Daily work was probably even more monotonous than usual.

But, we're in the 21st century, right? Where one can have a big screen cable-connected television with 500+ channels and surround sound, the home computer where the internet provides the whole world at one's fingertips, cell phones where one can be connected at all times, movies anytime we'd like in the comfort of home, an automobile to go anywhere at anytime, 24 hour stores and restaurants, the electric light that enables one to turn night to day, warmth in any part of the house, your own room, ipods and mp3 players that can hold more music than one can listen to in a year...and the list goes on and on.
And yet, the whine of "I'm bored" and "there's nothing to do" prevails.
And not just from the kids - - - - - - -
Can you just imagine what our ancestors would think of us knowing what we have here in the 21st century compared to what they had in the 19th century? Can you just imagine if they could've seen the wonders of the future - the future that is now?
And we have the nerve to whine that we're bored.
It's knowing the boredom that our ancestors lived through that keeps me a bit more "up" this time of the year. I know that probably sounds strange, but it truly does. As much as I love the past - heck, I'd live there if I could, you all know that! - I still appreciate what we have today.
Then again, maybe we have it too good...
Think I'll click over to Facebook and see who I can connect with today.
See you next time!


Mrs. G said...

Though I agree with 90% of what you write, I completely disagree with this. :-) I think "boredom" wasn't a common emotion/thought in the 19th century. *Maybe* for the idle aristocracy but not for the majority of people. I always worry that I sound know-it-all or pompous but I don't write with that intent at all, still I can't understand what you can mean by "bored". How can you be? The days are so full that "tired" is more in my thoughts than "nothing to do" has ever been. There is the everyday work of keeping a family going, plus extra seasonal only work, plus the never ending planning for what is upcoming. Winter has more rest in it, certainly, and I think our forefathers probably welcomed it more than spurned it, I know I do. I think the modern cry of boredom arises from far too much leisure and not enough useful employment. Now is the time you should be immersing yourself in the plans for your future, practice your immersion skills and get into the 19th century mindset and boredom will be a distant memory. :-)

Mrs. G

Historical Ken said...

Mrs. G - I have never thought of you nor your writing as pompous. I appreciate your knowledge and your "take" on traditional living greatly.
I am in full agreement in what you wrote in your comment here - - I was attempting to write more tongue in cheek than anything.
I guess it didn't come off that way... maybe a poor choice of wording in my last paragraph.
Funny you should write about my "future" plans about 19th century immersion...that is exactly what I am doing - - - and I am excited!
Thanks again for writing. I always enjoy hearing from you!

Mrs. G said...

Ken, that's the cruddy thing about blogs or e-mails or whatever, so often the tone is lost and so much can be read into the written word. Hence, I'm afraid that what I write might sound bad to someone who doesn't know me well, I guess you and Patty must know me well enough to know that no malice is *ever* intended! :-)