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Love Notes – First World problems

Posted on October 23, 2014 by Maple Creek

There’s a video on YouTube called ‘First World Problems Read by Third World People.’ Although it’s not a new video, it made a deep enough impression on me the first time I watched it that I still think about it.

I’m often reminded of it when I hear others – or even find myself – complaining about the things that annoy us.

The minute-long video features people in developing countries discussing issues that only those who are fairly well-off would actually consider “problems.”

“I hate it when my phone charger won’t reach my bed,” says one Haitian child.

“I hate it when I tell them no pickles and they still give me pickles,” says another.

The video is a promotional one created by the non-profit Water is Life – an organization that provides clean drinking water to those in desperate need – and it does a good job of proving a point.

The majority of what we consider to be problems have more to do with inconvenience and things that make our lives easier. It’s more about desire than necessity, or wants versus needs.

When I purchased a new vehicle earlier this year, there were two key features I was looking for – four-wheel drive and remote start. While the first was a necessity for winter driving and the different types of terrain my job takes me through, the second was an added bonus that I deemed a must-have after discovering just how much easier it made my life when my last vehicle had it. Heated seats are also a nice perk, but is it really necessary? Should these things really matter if you have a reliable vehicle?

We’ve all been told by our parents and grandparents that listening to someone else’s problems can make our own seem irrelevant. And it’s true.

When I catch myself starting to feel frustrated or sorry for myself because of a situation, I try to listen to that nagging voice in the back of my head asking if it isn’t a First World problem.

Whether we realize it or not, we are a very spoiled demographic here in North America.

It doesn’t help that we’re bombarded with advertisements telling us how much we need the latest electronics or gadgets that hit the market.

I’ve never been on a mission trip, but friends who have in the past have recalled just how guilty they feel when they return home to plunk themselves on their leather couches and flip on their 50-inch TV. I don’t blame them. It’s hard to understand how we can be born into families and countries that are well-off while others aren’t so lucky.

Although our lives aren’t perfect and even people in developed countries have problems, when you consider the way some people are forced to live it really puts life into perspective. Is the inability to find a parking spot close to the mall entrance really that big of an issue compared to the single parent who doesn’t even know if she can afford to put gas in her car this week? Is it worth freaking out at the drive-thru attendant who forgot to put ketchup on your burger when some people don’t even know what it’s like to have three meals a day, let alone have the luxury of eating out?

Breaking it down to basics, when you have your health, safety and financial stability, you know you are blessed. It’s not until we lose one of those that we realize how good we had it.

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