As far as time off, it’s almost impossible to believe people once hoped for one day off per week. The weekend has become such a big part of our lives, many people start the countdown on Monday. Workers in 1908 would have been astounded by our calendar of three-day weekends and paid vacations, not to mention 40-hour work weeks.
People are living longer, earning more and retiring earlier. The news is, on a large scale, good.
Even the negative news these days isn’t exactly negative. A recent TIME magazine cover story warned that, “Worried about autism, many parents are opting out of immunizations. How they’re putting the rest of us at risk.” Sounds ominous. But the story inside actually detailed what could be considered a positive message.
In its very second paragraph, TIME reports that “thanks to state laws requiring vaccinations for youngsters enrolling in kindergarten, the U.S. currently enjoys the highest immunization rate ever.” Some 77 percent of children have had all the recommended shots, “and most of the remaining children are missing just a few shots.”
This is especially surprising when one notes that the number of shots children are required to get has doubled since the 1980s. One would expect that when the number of shots required increased, the compliance rate would have declined. Instead, more people than ever are vaccinated against more things. Proponents of vaccinations ought to be dancing in the streets.
We’ve accomplished things that would have seemed impossible 100 years ago. Yet we’re not happy. Americans grumble about 5 percent unemployment, even though just a few years ago many economists would have said that number was impossible. Experts thought we couldn’t maintain unemployment that low without generating massive inflation. Yet we have.
This weekend, consider breaking out the 80s mix tape you made a few years back and having a celebration. As a nation, we’ve earned it.