I read somewhere that human brains are better at remembering bad events than good ones. It was something to do with how, in the distant evolutionary past, people needed to remember the things that were dangerous — oh, there’s where the saber tooth tiger attacked. I’d better avoid that place now. This makes sense, from a pure survival standpoint. It’s better to survive and have a memory full of terrifying events than to be eaten because you forgot.
In today’s world, however, this isn’t such a great feature. Now it’s a little too easy to remember how traffic lights were all against me, or that package I ordered took longer to arrive than I thought, or how this person it that person slighted me.
In fact, we Americans mostly live in the comfiest, safest, most luxurious environment imaginable. Kings in the past weren’t as warm, dry, and well-fed as we are today. Compared to how people lived for all of history, and how some people live in other parts of the world today, we are unbelievably, unimaginably well off.
I want to remember this when my booties are soaking wet because I’ve ridden in the rain every day of the week and I never have time to get them to dry. I have a really nice bike, and all sorts of fabulous gear to make it more comfortable, and the opportunity to ride.
I want to remember this when I’m stuck in traffic, slogging slowly to work. I have a job I love and a great bus to ride and the opportunity to work.
I want to remember this when I look in the fridge and can’t think what to make. We have a home, with a fridge, with electricity, and good food, and all the accoutrements needed to cook.
I have so much to be thankful for.