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  • Carlos Arroyo

We forget.


It never ceases to amaze me how much we forget - or perhaps just ignore - the number of things that "should work" in order for us to have a regular everyday experience.


Think about your day so far.


How many things needed to function properly for you to perform whatever it is you did? Did the WiFi worked? How about public transportation? Perhaps you had food or groceries delivered to your home? Did you have running water in your bathroom? Were you able to make that important phone call you had scheduled for today? The list goes on.


If there is something true about humans is that we get used to things. Even the most extraordinary things we tend to get used to, and shortly after, we take them for granted. As if we had a right to them, as if they had been there all along. We are quick to feel entitled to things and quick to complain when they don't work as they should.


At no point is this clearer to me than in air travel. Being able to buy a ticket, go to an airport, get on an 8,000 kg machine that flies (!) across cities, countries and continents is the most extraordinary thing. And yet, we're so used to it that sometimes even minor inconveniences are cause for grievous complaints and rants. (Granted, not all inconveniences are minor and serious problems can and are caused by malfunctions in the system.)


Feelings of entitlement and getting used to everything make up the recipe for dissatisfaction and bitterness. The opposite to that is gratefulness and a cultivated awareness of how lucky we really are at almost every moment in our modern life, when days are "normal".


I believe we forget how the order in our lives, and the order in our communities, towns or cities are not a coincidence, or an accident. Order is created intentionally. Order is the result of an intentional effort to control our environment, however imperfectly. As hard as this might be to accept sometimes: it is really nothing extraordinary when things go wrong - when order collapses. For thousands of years the regular state of affairs was chaos in every possible sense. People used to die with a common flu, there was no electricity or sewage, no running water or health services. And yet we still lose our shit when the WiFi is slow. I've been guilty of that plenty of times.


It's a weird and useless trait in human nature: we get used to things. This text is - perhaps - a reminder to take some time out of your day and think about the chaos you averted today, maybe that'll spark a flash of gratitude that will serve you well for the next day.


Let's not forget how lucky we are on normal days.