Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shrugging Off My First World Problems

Yacht trouble?
 This iphone app's for you.
There's a new trend sweeping the internet called "First World Problems" - or, on twitter, #firstworldproblem. Actually, since I know about it, this trend is probably on it's way out, but I just discovered it and I think it's both hilarious and illuminating. First World Problems are problems that most people on our planet can't fathom being troubled by, because they are the concerns of affluence.

Here are a couple I picked up on Twitter:
  • My kid just made the honor roll so now I have to deface my Audi with a bumper sticker.
  • I saw a hipster wearing a shirt I donated to the Salvation Army and now I want it back.
  • I'd just achieved the perfect blend of cream and sugar in my coffee when my waitress poured a free refill into my cup.
Funny, right? But in addition to being an entertaining way to waste time on my iMac, the First World Problem concept has made me rethink the things that I get worked up about on a daily basis. Like...
  • My daughter left six pairs of shoes lying in the front hall.
  • The sprinkler system turned on at 4am and woke me up.
  • Can I saute with olive oil or does high heat turn it into saturated fat?
I mean, really. Are these problems, or privileges?

Of course, when compared to Third World issues like fresh water, literacy and basic human rights, almost all of our modern concerns seem frivolous. Hey, I'm not taking away our inalienable right to bitch, but I think a little global perspective will help smooth out the bumps in our complicated, abundant lives. Often, the things that stress out us most, just aren't important!

So for today, instead of getting freaked out because our brand new universal remote is on the fritz or that my rotten performance in my tennis match made me move down five places on the league ladder, I'm going to appreciate the fact that I have a flatscreen TV and the leisure time to play a sport at all.

Now I'm off to eat three bananas before they turn brown in my fruit bowl. Enjoy your First World day!

For more First World Problems, check out whitewhine.com.


Kelley Long said...

This reminds me of my mom's comment to people who lose perspective and get worked up about stuff that really doesn't matter: "Hey, did you know there's a war going on in the Middle East?"

So true, and humorous as well as humbling. Thanks for sharing and reminding me that instead of complaining that the humidity and construction noise make me want to close the windows, I should be grateful it's still warm and that I have the privilege to live downtown.


Marjie Killeen said...

Kelley - your mom is a wise woman! Most "problems" don't seem so bad when injected with a dose of humor - that's why I love this whole FWP thing. Makes me much less upset that I can't figure out how to replace my mod desk lamp's halogen bulb.