“Daddy ruined Christmas!” the eleven year old huffed beside me.
“Oh?” I replied, imagining a scene where her father burned the turkey or destroyed the Christmas tree in a comical fashion. Needless to say, I was beyond amazed when the girl instead said: “I asked for a pink phone and a black laptop and he got me a black phone and a pink laptop!”
Lately I’ve been watching historical reality TV shows, in particular “Turn Back Time: The Family” and “1900 House”. The former depicts three modern different families: working class, middle class and upper class who live through five different eras, starting with the Edwardian era. The latter involves a modern family who must live as Victorians in a typical house of that era.
The thing that amazed me was how hard things were back in those days. Everyday tasks like washing clothes or cooking dinner or even cleaning the house were so laborious- regarding laundry, it was common for children to take a day off from school to help with it! Back then- the working class families worked exhausting hours for minimal pay; they seemed to be surviving rather than living. A vicious cycle of: work, eat, sleep, repeat. No time to enjoy life because the time not spent on labour could be the difference in making the rent and avoiding eviction.
We take so much for granted: it’s easy to throw clothes in a washing machine; to throw food in the oven; play with phones or mess around on laptops. These things are so everyday that it’s easy to forget how hard our ancestors had life. Sure the pink phone might have been nice, but there’s a fine line between need and want. Sometimes I think we need to take a step back and appreciate just how lucky we are.
Thanks for reading