Sunday, 29 January 2012

First World Problems

Image: farconville /

There are a lot of things these days that I can christen Classic First World Problems.  Just the term alone is equivalent to someone slapping me in the face and screaming “SUCK IT UP PRINCESS!”.  Or, as we used to say when I was younger “awwwww….diddums”.  This can only be said in a baby voice - it’s the only way it truly works.  A slight tilt to the head also gives it credo.  Urban Dictionary has a number of definitions for the word diddums.  All of which have me chuckling like the maniacal Gen X that I am.

But I digress.  First World Problems.  You know what I’m talking about – we all have them and we’ve always had them.  My informal definition is that it’s just crap that we’re complaining about.  Mindless, senseless and indulgent complaints. Only now we’ve been given a new label to use.  This new label puts it all in a different light and allows us to look at our ‘problems’ (this term is used very loosely) using perspective.  Urban Dictionary defines it like this:

“Problems from living in a wealthy, industrialized nation that third worlders would probably roll their eyes at.”

Aw, crap, I don't know which 1 carat diamond encrusted platinum ring to buy!

Looking at our niggles and worries in this light can help us to see our worries differently, and quite possibly have a laugh at ourselves.

  • iPad dock not working properly and now you have to hold the bloody thing in your lap & use the actual keyboard on the iPad?  Good God!  First World Problem.

  • You’ve bought too many groceries to fit in the fridge, so you have to trudge downstairs to fill the other fridge/freezer.  In the rain.  And you actually tsk.   Are you friggin kidding me! First World Problem.

  • Rolling your eyes and huffing while the person in front of you clearly has more than 15 items in the express shopping lane?  SUCK IT UP.  First World Problem.

  • The blue tooth in your BMW isn’t pairing with your phone?  Awwww…diddums…  FIRST WORLD PROBLEM.

All of these, bar one have been something I’ve huffed about in the recent past.  I know.  I hang my head in shame.  But I list them to help with illustrating my very point.  That short of something extremely serious and life-threatening, a lot of the things we waste our time and energy worrying about, are small bickies.

At the end of last year a very dear friend of mine was going through a family crisis.  Someone very near to them was diagnosed with a brain tumour.  Things were grim, but they were holding it together.  She was holding it together.  And through it all, she remained stalwart, positive and focused.  I would speak to her on the phone, and though she wasn’t the one with the life threatening tumour, I knew how tough this was on her and the family.  My heart hurt for my friend and her family, and it pulled things into perspective for me.  How could you possibly want to whinge and moan about not getting enough sleep when someone you love dearly is coping with this?   Almost anything that I was annoyed at then, was clearly labelled a First World Problem.  Nothing came close to this kind of tragedy.  Not within coo-ee.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t get the shits, and complain about your boss or your colleagues, or that annoying person who whistles whilst walking very closely behind you.  Or your kids not eating one bite of the food you’ve just slaved for an hour to cook for them.  Not at all.  I think a good vent and whinge can do us all good.  I would encourage it!  But don’t fool yourself.  Don’t believe your own crap, and think it’s actually important.  There’s more important things to worry about.

It’s all too easy to get embroiled in our own Bold and the Beautiful lives.  He said this, she said that.   It’s a lucky person that can see things in perspective and listen to their (reasonable) inner voice in the heat of the moment.   The voice that says “put the saucepan down.  The Architect didn’t mean it that way, and after all he DID just clean the car, hang out the washing, put the kids to bed and clean the kitchen”.  You know what I mean, right?

Things that have worked for me are things like replacing the words “have to” with “get to”.  So “I have to cook the kids dinner”, becomes “I get to cook the kids dinner”.  “I have to do the grocery shopping” becomes “I get to do the grocery shopping”.  This has saved me a number of times from spiralling into a one-way slippery slope to feeling sorry for myself simply by putting the emphasis on what I am privileged enough to be doing.

But enough of my rambling.  It’s Sunday night and I want to finish this before Homeland starts.  I missed the end of last week’s episode and I’ll be pissed if I miss this week’s.  Oh wait…

First.  World.  Problem.

1 comment:

  1. Too true Leanne, one never has to look far to find someone that actually has a real problem or heartache they are going through, often health related. That quickly puts my own little dramas into perspective. This is what i think about and remind myself and I count my blessings that my loved ones are all in good health with a roof over the heads and meal on the table. WE live in the Lucky or Fortunate World!


Would love to hear what you think :)