First World Problems

first world problemsI’m having another one of those days where I can’t seem to write anything worth reading. This time, however, it’s not writer’s block or lack of ideas. This morning, I’m having a hell of time thinking about anything other than the fact that my head hurts like a mother…, well, you know. I’m not sure why it hurts because there are several possible causes. It started a couple of nights ago, when a side effect of one my many medications caused me to throw up my toenails.  Or, it could be a result of the fact that I ran out of salt for my neti pot and have had to use an inferior substitute for a few days. Or, there’s a cold front heading this way and those tend to make my sinuses go crazy. And, by “go crazy” I mean hurt like hell. Regardless of the why, it’s been hard to apply myself this morning.

It took a little time to figure out why I couldn’t seem to concentrate and when I did, I sat here feeling sorry for myself. Which is a funny because a little earlier, I had ridiculed someone for posting on Facebook “I put blueberries in my oatmeal. It makes the oatmeal taste better, but turns the oatmeal blue, which makes it unappetizing. It looks like Smurf vomit, frankly.” I told him “Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, which are worth a little smurf puke. #quityourbitchin“. While I didn’t really need to use those exact words here (but how could I resist talking about “smurf puke”?), my friend’s problem with his breakfast and my headache are both what you might call first world problems.

According to Wikipedia, the term refers to issues that are complained about only because of the lack of more pressing concerns. An unappetizng breakfast or a persistent headache fall into this category because A) my friend at least has blueberries to put in his oatmeal (hell, he has oatmeal) and B)  the medication that could have caused my headache is keeping me alive and in relatively good health and I have easy access to it. There are all too many people in this world who don’t have either food or medicine.

Before we go any further, let me make it clear that neither my friend nor I sit around whining, unaware of our privilege. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as aware of their privilege as he is. I certain haven’t met anyone who deals with it better. But, no matter how aware you are, how well you handle it, we all fall into to a bit of whining now and then; it’s just human nature. And, it’s acceptable as long as you don’t make a habit of it.

That said, I need frequent reminders that my problems aren’t nearly as big a deal as I think they are. The truth is that I’m warm and dry, I’ve got food in the pantry, my bills are all paid this month with some money left over and I can walk down the street without women locking their doors or clutching their purses. Considering how many people don’t have those things, a little headache isn’t such a big deal.