Wednesday, November 17, 2010

First World Problems

(note: this post was written initially in notepad, approximately six and half hours prior to this posting.)

Have you ever heard that phrase, "first world problems?" It means, in short, "stop whining and be glad for what you have."

See, I'm sitting here without power at the moment (thank you, laptops!) because the electric company is out here fixing the faulty wiring our condo building has. For most of the morning, all I could think was "ugh, I am so bored. I wish I could listen to music/watch TV/cook lunch/vacuum my floor/whatever that requires power." The temperature has been slowly dropping all day to the point where I'm wearing gloves inside.

As I reached for my gloves, I suddenly realized that I was whining (in my head, really) for no good reason. How many people out there in the world would be absolutely grateful beyond belief to be in my shoes right now? How many people would love to be sitting in a fully-enclosed home, with a roof over their head that doesn't leak? Sure, the furnace isn't kicking on right now, but the cold wind outside wouldn't be cutting through to their very bones. They'd have shelter. Something I take for granted every day.

I think Americans on the whole don't appreciate what we have. (I am most definitely 100% including myself in this.) Most of us are born in families that have a roof over their heads, and food on the table (most of the time, at least.) The thought that we could ever have less never really occurs to us, and then when we have a minor inconvenience happen (for example, the electric company turning off your power for half the day to make your lights stop flickering and your power stop cutting out for a split-second when a major appliance turns on) we whine. Oh goodness, did I whine. Here, let me share with you what I posted on Facebook just about an hour before the scheduled power outage. (That's right, I KNEW IT WAS HAPPENING and I still whined.)

"Okay, DTE - you had better fix the problem we have with the electricity. I'm sick of my power dimming every time a major appliance kicks on/off, and while I'm none too thrilled to not have power for 3 hours (Aurora gets water with her snacks, thank goodness, so I don't HAVE to open the fridge) I'd rather have not-flickering."

I feel kind of ashamed that I even said that now. I have it so, so easy in comparison to so many people in this world, and yet I took it for granted. I still do, in fact. I am incredibly selfish. Horribly selfish. Terrible. It's one of my largest failings. I hate it about myself. Absolutely hate it.

I think I'm going to go sit and think about this some more. The three extra hours without power (ultimately 4 and three-quarters hours) have actually been a good thing, I think. It opened my eyes to something I don't realize about myself often enough.

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