Taking it for granted

I had to be in Towson this morning by 9:00am for a Jaycees meeting. Factoring in the hour-plus drive to get there, time to take Wylie out, and otherwise get myself ready for the day I knew the day would starting awful early. Right about 6:00am, Wylie and I headed out the door for our usual morning walk.
Normally I don’t bother turning on the outside lights before heading out for the morning walk. During the week, the timing works out so the sun’s usually coming up while we’re out. And on the weekend, I can sleep late enough that the problem doesn’t exist. But because it was so early this time, I considered breaking with tradition and leaving a light on so I could find the place.
After closing the front door, I realized the light wasn’t on. I must have forgotten to flip the switch. It’s an easy problem to fix with the light switch located just inside the door, but it wasn’t that big a deal and so Wylie and I headed out for our morning walk. The walk was fairly uneventful, we passed another dog out with his human on the other side of the street, but that was pretty much it aside from the usual variety of scents that Wylie gets excited about this time of year.
When we got back to the house, I noticed something was amiss. The light in the yard was out, but the light switch was in the on position after all. I flipped the switch a couple times and it was quickly evident that it wasn’t a problem with the switch being in a mid-way position, the bulb had burned out.
When things are working smoothly, we all tend to take things for granted. Every time Wylie and I went for our evening walks, that light had come on without a hitch. If there’d been problems with it flickering or just not working all the time, I’d have noticed it. But this light bulb had always just been there, waiting for me to flip the switch.
My first reaction when I realized that the bulb had burned out was one of minor annoyance. That’s one more bit of home maintenance to do (though this one is about as easy as it gets). But then I got to thinking about it. The last time I replaced that bulb was shortly after I moved in to this house. That was nearly eight years ago. Eight years is a pretty impressive lifespan for a light that gets used every night. Don’t you wish all the light bulbs in your house would last for nearly eight years? (Aside from energy efficiency, one of the reason’s I’m switching to compact fluorescent bulbs is that they last for five to seven years.)
It’s a lot of thought to put into a burned out light bulb, but it has me wondering what else, and who else, I’ve been taking for granted over the past eight years.