My friend Heidi Willis did a blog post today about how spoiled that we as Americans are when it comes to medical care, specifically (in her case) the cost of diabetes supplies and medications. And because I completely agree with her, she got me all riled up, so now I have to post too!
I like the way she started hers, so I’m totally copying it.
I don’t rant often. (That’s her line…)
In fact, I rant never. (This is all me.) Mostly because I’m not a complainer. I’m a glass half-full kind of gal, so in the grand scheme of things I don't generally go looking for problems. But when something is shoved in my face, when I’m reminded (like I was this morning by reading Heidi’s post) about how ungrateful people can be...well, it hacks me off!
Here’s why I believe that we are spoiled as a society, why I believe that we should all be a little more grateful each and every day for what we have…rather than complaining about what we don’t:
I don’t talk about this often (or, really, almost never), but I grew up poor. Like, crazy poor.
Let me show you what I mean:
I lived in project housing. We had drug dealers in our neighborhood, as well as violent felons and child molesters. We had to wait for the 1st of every month for the welfare check to arrive, and when it did, my mom had to try to make it stretch so there was enough money to pay the rent and utilities, buy gas (when the car was running), maybe repair the car, and then buy everything that food stamps wouldn’t cover (soap, shampoo, toilet paper, school necessities, clothing, etc). Our welfare check was somewhere in the neighborhood of $300-plus. On a good month someone would come to our door and try to sell their food stamps for fifty-cents-on-the-dollar so that they could use the cash to buy cigarettes, booze, drugs, whatever. This was great for us, it meant that we would have enough food money for the month.
Do you get what I’m saying here? I’m trying to show you how poor looks.
But here’s how I see it:
We were American poor. We had a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and heat to keep us warm in the winter. We had money for food, free lunch at school, and when things got really tight, the food bank was there for backup. My mom kept us safe, making sure we avoided those people who could put us in danger.
And we had free medical care.
Yes, there were plenty of things that sucked about, and I hated always wanting more. But our basic needs were met. We weren’t starving or freezing, and we weren’t dying because we couldn’t get immunizations or medical treatment. There are children out there in the world who are.
I remind myself of this on a regular basis, when I WANT something and mistakenly call it a NEED. We are lucky, and we should definitely be grateful. I’m not saying we can’t complain, of course we can, it’s our nature, and there are always things to complain about. Trust me, I’m not saying everything is perfect. I’m just saying try to remember the difference between WANTS and NEEDS.
And if you’re reading this on a computer, be grateful that you have electricity…and probably running water, too.