What Do You Take for Granted?

I flew from Boston to Seattle last week. When I was growing up, I don’t think this particular cross-country flight existed. If it did, it probably took longer, was much more expensive, and was more comfortable. (I’m not slamming the airline. It’s a fact that seats are narrower, closer and there are fewer amenities on domestic flights these days.)

I take reasonable flights for granted.

I was thinking back to when I first had an email address that was mine, not affiliated with a company. I had one starting in the late 80s and finally moved to my own domain sometime in the 90s. During my hotel stay, it didn’t occur to me to even doubt that my email would just work. (It wasn’t that way in the 90s or the early 2000s. Remember when computers had modems?)

I take everywhere-email access for granted.

I have a head cold (possibly from my flying). I saw my doctor yesterday, and I can treat my cold with over-the-counter medications. When I was growing up, pharmacies had many fewer non-prescription choices. I like the guidance I receive from my doctor, and I’m thrilled I don’t have to wait for a prescription.

I take over-the-counter medicines for granted.

These are just three possibilities of things I have taken for granted in the past week. It’s only in retrospect that I can see the changes we have made in how we live. (I could have used many other examples, such as online shopping.)

Many changes occur slowly. As they occur, I don’t notice them. No one change is large. I think the changes in the airline industry started just before deregulation, and they continue today. Wifi vs. modem started in the late 90s/early 2000s. The changes to the pharmaceutical industry started back in the 90s (I think) and they continue.

I can see changes in retrospect. Since many changes are small and grow over time, I find it difficult to see many changes as they occur. I take the new state for granted. I don’t think I’m alone.

Every so often, I find it valuable to consider what I take for granted, to see how things have changed for me and for the world around me.

Dear adaptable readers, that is the question this week: What do you take for granted?

4 thoughts on “What Do You Take for Granted?

  1. Yves Hanoulle

    This week, my bank has announced that they are going to pay 0% interest to company accounts. I took interest for granted.

    During my holiday I paid for internet, turns out it worked more not then it did work. I took internet for granted.

    During that same holiday I could hardly sleep, the beds that came with the tents that we rented were really bad. I took a good bed for granted.

    During that same holiday I had someone in Belgium promise to do something and not to do something else (and let me handle it) Next morning I received a text message stating the person broke the promise. I took promises for granted.

  2. Jim Grey

    I went to one of the early User Interface conferences that User Interface Engineering put on in Cambridge, my gosh, that would have been 18 years (five jobs) ago. And they had kiosks with computers connected to the Net that let you check your email.

    I couldn’t believe how awesome that was!

    Today the very idea seems quaint. Email in my pocket feels like an inalienable human right.

    Something I hope to take for granted in the near future: being able to call a doctor on my computer at 8 pm on a Saturday night when my headcold misery peaks, have them diagnose me, and then either advise OTC meds or call a prescription in to my pharmacy. I use a service like that now, but it feels all space age still. Like those email kiosks.

    1. johanna Post author

      Jim, Hehehe. Jared Spool and the good folks at UIE have always been up to date, or even ahead of their time. I do think this business of email in our pockets is quite funny.

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