Coping With Those Pesky, Little First World Problems

Posted Feb 7 2018, 7:00 am in , , ,

If you’re reading this blog, you’ve got first world problems. (People with third world problems don’t have computers…or electricity.) Sometimes we get so caught up in these problems, our worlds shrink to the size of a pin head. We forget to see the big picture. Believe me, I know.

Now, I realize there are problems in our lives that are big and scary and deserve the attention we give them. These are not those problems. These are the problems that make you say, “Is it really that bad?” Like when my 16-year-old says at breakfast (in a disgusted tone), “This waffle is too crunchy!” Moments like that shine a light on my family’s first world problems (among other things.)

This week I work to recognize those problems for the luxuries they are. Flip them over to find something positive on the other side. There’s a little picture and there’s a big picture. Time to acknowledge the big picture.

Someone who has a true handle on the big picture is astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson who said in a 2007 National History Magazine article:

The day our knowledge of the cosmos ceases to expand, we risk regressing to the childish view that the universe figuratively and literally revolves around us.

Amen Neil.

So here’s a short list of first world problems I’m working to switch from Little Picture to Big Picture:

  1. Being rejected by a literary agent – A first world problem indeed. A painful, gut wrenching luxury that, if done correctly, will happen over and over and over again. BIG PICTURE: I have electricity.
  2. Running out of coffee creamer – There’s nothing worse than tipping that creamer container over to find only a few drops, not even enough to lighten the first cup of coffee. I have certain specifics for coffee. I like sugar-sweetened creamers. No artificial stuff. Sugar. (Yes, my dentist benefits greatly from this need.) And when that creamer runs out and, gasp, I have to use plain creamer or (God forbid) milk…well, it’s not good. BIG PICTURE: I have constant access to clean water.
  3. Reply All – Do I really need to say anything about this? Reply All should be erased from the planet. No good can come from Reply All. Ever. It is something the internet/email gurus invented to torture us while they sit back in Silicon Valley laughing as we’re forced to read seventy-five replies about why people can’t volunteer at {insert school function here}, excuses ranging from vomiting kids to dogs with explosive diarrhea. BIG PICTURE: I have indoor plumbing.
  4. Leaving a bag of groceries at the store – Is there anything worse than finally convincing yourself to go to the grocery store only to come home and realize you’ve left an entire bag of groceries at the check out? And then you have to figure out what exactly was in that bag and if it’s worth going back for. I mean, really, how badly do you need those Cheetos and NutriGrain bars? It’s cold outside. You’re already home. A true dilemna. BIG PICTURE: I have access to transportation…in my garage.
  5. Having to wait 45 minutes for a table at a Chinese restaurant on Christmas night – Even though we’ve gorged ourselves on cornbread stuffing and mashed potatoes and even though our refrigerators are overflowing with leftovers, we have to have something different for dinner. We can’t take it anymore. We couldn’t possibly eat another slice of turkey. But when we go out, we realize every person in the known first world universe feels the same way. And the only other option is Ihop. BIG PICTURE: I have access to food on a daily/hourly/minute by minute basis. 
  6. Discovering the UPS box containing the Girl Scout cookies I order from my niece in CA is ripped open – Of course a ripped box is not a problem. Please. It’s when you look inside and discover half the order is missing and, of the three remaining boxes, two are opened. And of the two opened boxes, one is empty! At least they left me a box of Thin Mints. I swear I heard the UPS driver laughing as he skidded from my driveway. BIG PICTURE: I’m not living in a war zone.
  7. When your freshly groomed Goldendoodle rolls in goose poop on his walk – I don’t know if any of you have had up close and personal experience with goose poop but I’m hear to tell you, it’s the nastiest, foulest, most rotten stuff on the planet. And my dogs love it. For some ungodly reason it calls to them like the Sirens from mythology. And it doesn’t help that we have a flock of geese who reside in the lake behind our house. BIG PICTURE: I’m surrounded by clean air.

This list will keep growing. Today, something will happen that will make me stop and shake my head. But I better remember to look up, look around, and in the words of another brilliant person, Taylor Swift, shake it off. Those first world problems are a privilege. Keep ’em coming.

What’s on your list?




8 responses to “Coping With Those Pesky, Little First World Problems”

  1. Michelle Yetman-Katz says:

    Laughing while I read this. Okay, so I need to “let it go” that the UPS driver stole my mom’s Christmas gift of an iPad and WalMart customer service sucks – yes, let it go – I am never getting a refund – be one with the universe – okay I feel better already. Hey, I thought only Jews ate Chinese food on Christmas! You’ve also improved my cultural sensitivity and understanding of my fellow man. Well done Jennifer.

  2. Linda thompson says:

    As usual you have done it again! Great thoughts
    n bringing us back to realty of how fortunate we
    are to be born n living in this environment. Thanks
    for the perspective! Tell your friend she is right only
    Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas!! Ha ha

  3. Gerry says:

    God has truly blessed us. Is this an accident of
    Birth as well? Love all your thoughts

  4. Lisa Nordin says:

    Excellent Jenn-I’m glad life is only annoying at times but mostly good! Thanks for sharing your gift!

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