Sometimes it takes not having easy and abundant access to something to truly appreciate its presence when you do have access to it.

A recent trip to Portugal, where I was not served a drink with ice, has made me really appreciate the idea of frozen water. In fact, I’ll go as far as electing an ice maker as my top luxury item. That one thing, where if I were stranded on a deserted island, I would take with me.

Recognizing What We Take for Granted

Earlier this year I purchased a new refrigerator for my home. The old one was just that … old. We had been using it since 2004, and recently felt a little more space would be nice as well as one with an ice maker.

One day, while walking through an appliance outlet store, my wife and I found a fridge with a price tag that was too good to pass up. As an added bonus, this model had an ice maker (and a water dispenser — double bonus).

And this thing is loaded: 30 total cubic feet of storage, a smaller drawer with adjustable temperature, a door within door feature, a window on the door so you can see inside without opening, LED lights, etc.

But that ice maker though.

For years I would buy a 20-pound bag of ice when we really needed ice; every other week in the cold months and weekly during the summer. That bag of ice would live in the freezer that was located in our garage (it took up too much space in the freezer in our kitchen). When we needed ice for a drink, for cooking, or to nurse a bump on the head, it was a production to obtain. In addition to walking the extra steps from the kitchen to the freezer in the garage, there often was some ice picking that took place because the once separated cubes of ice were now one frozen block. This all took place while holding a glass in one hand and propping the top-loading freezer door up with some the side of my arm.

With the new fridge and ice maker, I’ve quickly become accustomed to ice on demand. And while I would be conservative with my ice in the past, I now fill my glass until my heart’s content, knowing the maker will make more.

Don’t Know What You’ve Got…

Back to Portugal, and sunny 80 degree days with a hint of humidity. Lisbon is a city built on seven hills, where there is a cafe seemingly every 25 feet.

Those cafes have espresso that is strong and flavorful. But if you want a cold brew or a shot of espresso over ice, it’s not happening. In fact, the one success I had in getting an iced coffee, it was merely an Americano (espresso + water) with a single ice cube added.

It was not cold.

Now that I am back home in the United States, I’m back to my ice maker. I’ve also become so much more conscious of how easily accessible ice is. Every grocery store sells it. Every soda fountain dispenses it. And every time I go to my kitchen, my ice maker is making it.

Ice is an ultimate luxury item. We don’t really need it. But it sure is nice to have. While some countries struggle to find clean water, here we are flowing not only clean water but freezing it and putting it inside water.

Taking a Mindful Moment for Appreciation

This all has enlightened me more to all the little things that make life easier or more comfortable. Having a pillow to rest my head on, a vehicle to get me where I need to go, a tiny computer inside my pocket to keep me in touch with everything and yes, the power to decide if I want my drink hot or Artic-freaking cold.

What seemingly simple part of your everyday life can you appreciate a little more?

And now I’m off to make myself an iced coffee.

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash