What have you HAD to go without?

Power outageLast Friday I wrote about the bacon shortage that isn’t. A friend pointed out that most of us have gone without something at some point and survived it. Which got me thinking about what I’ve had to go without and how I handled it.

  1. Electricity. We’ve all had to suffer through a power outage a time or two. Where I live now our longest outage has been a little over two days (during a snowstorm with record lows). When I was a kid, outages could last much longer on a farm in WV.  And in SC there were hurricane outages. But the unifying theme for all of them is–going without power hasn’t been all that bad. When we were kids it was even fun–sleeping in front of the fireplace, building a fire in the driveway, not having to bathe . . . I have less fun as an adult, but it’s still little more than a temporary inconvenience. And there’s LOTS of time to read!
  2. A Telephone. There was a time when no one was really living at the family farm and the phone was disconnected. When we spent time up there, we had to get by without a phone. If there was an emergency, you could take two clothes pins and a handset with exposed wires to the nearest working pole and, ahem, borrow the neighbor’s line. Calling friends was NOT an emergency. Yes, this was before cell phones.
  3. The Internet. The farm again–for a long time you could only get really slow dial-up and when no one lived there full-time we didn’t even have that. It was actually pretty nice.
  4. Grapefruit. It doesn’t mix with a medicine I take. I miss my winter morning half a grapefruit sprinkled with sugar, but only when I think about it. Which isn’t very often.

And that’s about it. I’ve never had to go without food (for more than an hour or two and really, that doesn’t count). I’ve never had to go without any  of the basic necessities–clothing, shelter, clean water, chocolate . . .

This exercise has largely pointed out how spoiled . . . and blessed I am. There are plenty of things I am currenlty going without–a new car every year, a three-book contract with a major publisher, a gorgeous farmhouse in the middle of 20 rolling acres, a really fast metabolism . . . I could make a long list. But here’s the thing. I have everything I need with lots left over. And I’m ever so grateful. I could even manage without bacon if I HAD to.

5 thoughts on “What have you HAD to go without?

  1. In 2 weeks I’m going to Bolivia. While there, we will be in-country, up HIGH in the Andes, for 8 days. More if anything breaks down.
    We bring our own water, food, sleeping bags…

    We’ll have no bathrooms, no showers, no tubs, no phones, NO INTERNET, no privacy, no nothing.

    I can hardly wait!!!

  2. Daniel

    What have I had to do without?
    What a provocative question.

    The quick answer, without reflection, is people, close relationships, a family.

    Knowing how to answer the question requires an awareness of what what is. Not to go all Clintonesque here.

    What is necessary in life? And who gets to decide? What do I miss not What have I had to do without?

    What a provocative question.

    The quick answer, without reflection, is people, close relationships, a family.

    Knowing how to answer the question requires an awareness of what what is. Not to go all Clintonesque here. There are so many answers. But how much of that desire, greed?, is worth dwelling on? I wish I’d traveled more. I wish I could afford that invitation to the Costa Del Sol in January. I wish I had talent enough to paint and draw and still respect myself in the morning. I wish I’d written the Great American Novel.

    But I didn’t and I don’t. Yet.

    Bacon is the least of my problems. Porkapocalypse, Indeed.

    >>Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” was a conservation motto during World War II, popularized in 1942-43. The saying was frequently credited to New England. 

    “Eat it up, wear it out, make it do” (not “use it up”) appears to have been the earlier form of the saying and has been cited in print since at least 1933. The exact origin of what was described in 1937 as “the four threads of the New England character” is not known. Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) was said to have told the four maxims to This Week magazine (see March 1938 citation, below), shortly before his death. …<<
    http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/use_it_up_wear_it_out_make_it_do_or_do_without/

    1. Next time we’re at the dog park with a good crowd we’ll have to float this question. There are several interesting ways to look at this . . . I love it when you get philosophical!

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