Why Our First World Problems Aren't Really Problems

Why Our First World Problems Aren't Really Problems

The autocorrect on my iPhone always corrects word I don't want corrected. Ugh!
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The other night, I went upstairs to my warm, cozy bed, threw on some slippers and reached for my phone charger that wasn't there. I had to crawl out of bed and walk all the way downstairs to get my iPhone charger. So annoying, right?

Let me give you a few more common examples of our "big" problems:

The remote is too far out of reach, so I have to stretch out just to grab it.

The autocorrect on my iPhone always corrects word I don't want corrected.

The heated seats in my car don't warm up fast enough.

The computer doesn't "save your password", so you have to type it in for yourself.

I need a nap, but it's too late in the day.

By no means am I saying that those situations (and others) are not annoying and frustrating. I am definitely guilty for sometimes being so wrapped up in things I want or how I want a situation to pan out; but at the end of the day, does it really matter if my college class ran 5 minutes too long, so I was late for my massage appointment. No, not really.

But, I am suggesting that next time we order a Starbucks and they put whipped cream on it when you said you didn't want it, think about the people in the world who would love to live in your shoes. Honestly, the poverty and hardships in other countries are completely out of our control; any donation helps, but you and me, singlehandedly, aren't going to fix this huge problem.

There's one, easy thing that each and every one of us can do. It takes little time and little effort: GRATITUDE. Say thank you to God when little or big problems happen in your life, because He purposefully picked you for your life and your path. But say thank you with empathy, because there are millions of our brothers and sisters living a challenging and arduous life in which we can't comprehend.

About 2 months ago, our paster was speaking about gratitude and how, every single day, we can express our gratitude through a small, unprompted deed for our brothers and sisters. I decided to take on the gratitude challenge our pastor encouraged us to do, and since then, I write a nice note of a quality I loved about them on the receipt before I leave. I mean, I have no idea how any of the waiters/waitresses react to it, but it's my way of expressing my appreciation for my life, the food I eat and for the person who gave me the service.

Again, there is no immediate fix to the devastating conditions across the world, but together, through small acts of kindness, through more patience, and through prayer, we are diminishing the phrase "first world problems".

Whether you live in the United States or of slowly developing countries, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

I challenge YOU, next time when you can't reach your charger, have to wait an extra 2 minutes for your coffee or a parking spot; take a moment and be thankful that those little situations are you're biggest problems.


Please watch the link below! It is only 1 minute long & I assure you, it will change how you view your current situations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDLqafWub_o


Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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If You Give A Girl A Little Brother

You've given her the world.
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I remember back to my childhood, standing at the top of the steps yelling down to my parents "Why did you decide to have another child?" I remember riding in the backseat yelling "Mom, was I not good enough for you?" as my brother threw snow at me .

I remember crying when my mom made us share our first cell phone. I remember playing in a pool at a waterpark, and my dad couldn't play with me because my brother couldn't swim and needed my dad to be with him. I played by myself, thinking "They must have not wanted a girl when they only pay attention to him."

But now, at almost 22, I realized that the best gift God has ever given me was my little brother.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a pain in her ass.

Oh, he'll be annoying. He'll get in the shower just because you said you were going to. He'll start talking every time you do. He'll pull stupid pranks, he'll make you listen to bogus music, he'll make you watch stupid tv shows, he'll smell up the bathroom (and probably smell himself.) and boy, I promise there will be day's you will resent him. But he's just training for living with your husband one day.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a role.

As a big sister, I had somebody copying all my moves. If I did something, so did he. If I didn't eat something, neither did he. If I didn't like somebody neither did he. He was like a little shadow that did everything I did, so I was always motivated to make good choices and make him proud of me.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a rough side.

I wouldn't have done half the things I did if it wasn't for him. Play basketball in the drive way, spend hours on our bikes, spend the summer days in the pool, or down at the park. I wouldn't have learned that it's okay to get in the dirt and have some fun. I wouldn't have played half the made up, imaginary games we played every day. I wouldn't have played with Hot Wheels, or Lincoln Logs, or Leggo's. I would have played with Barbies by myself all day long, and what's the fun in that?

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her the best friend she'll ever have.

In the end, when our parent's both pass away, I won't be alone, because I will have my little brother. When the world gets tough, and everyone turns away from me, he will always be there. No matter where he end's up in life, I know he will drop everything and come running when I'm in need.

For Christmas this year, I bought my brother his first tattoo. We got matching tattoo's on our sides. Our lives our different now, because we're grown up and live on opposite sides of the state. But no matter where we go in life, if we look up, we will be looking at the same sun and moon. We are made up of the same matter, 'made' by the same people, and love each other more than I think we'd like to admit.

Alex is my true other-half.

Give a girl a little brother, and you made her whole.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Engel

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Being An Immigrant Can Isolate You From Family, But The Friends I Have Made In The US Are Family

The dream my parent's generation has of their kids marrying into the tribe often fades away, since all the eligible kids have grown up thinking we were all related.

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My father immigrated from Cameroon to the United States in 1987. He came here with $18 and nothing to his name. He was fortunate enough to have been able to live with his two brothers. However, before he graduated, they had both died — his only immediate family here, gone. My mother came here for my father in 1997. She had been traveling internationally and working all over the world. The United States was her first long-term place of residence since leaving Cameroon to study in Germany.

Before last Monday, the closest blood family member from my mother's side was my uncle, Lionel, who is here for his Master's degree. On my dad's side, it was my cousin, Joseph, who was nowhere to be found.

Life is different when most of your family doesn't live anywhere near you. Familial relationships take on a completely different meaning. 'Aunt' and 'Uncle' doesn't mean your parents' siblings, it means anyone older than you. Parents' cousins, friends, classmates, and the African lady down the street.

The word 'cousin' takes on a different meaning as well. Any kid from the same ethnic group (in my case, the Bassa tribe) is your cousin. As we get older, playing the 'who is actually related to me' game is the norm. The dream my parent's generation has of their kids marrying into the tribe often fades away, since all the eligible kids have grown up thinking we were all related.

In actuality, I have 40 cousins, 23 aunts and uncles, and 13 nieces and nephews. I've only met a handful of them. When you can't pinpoint where your genes come from, your blood type, or your true medical history, your physical existence can be isolating.

Even worse, the emotional scaffolding that comes from having connections with your extended family fade. There's very little openness about our family. Information is held lock and key, and finding the truth about familial relationships is hard, if not impossible.

When you grow up so separated from other families, you become dependent on your own immediate family. Meeting cousins can always be contentious: how to let them break the seal and become a part of our world, having to drop hundreds of dollars just to visit family, whose names we may not remember in a year.

In a structure like this, the importance of friends skyrockets. None of my Cameroonian friends are of my tribe. They don't speak the language, and the parts of Cameroon their family live in are revolting against ours. If we were in Cameroon, we would be enemies. Luckily, we're here. We're representative of how we have more things pushing us together than pulling us apart. Not just other Cameroonians — friends from other African communities help to create a web and safety net of learning, comfort, and understanding. We don't have a choice.

While I don't get to see my blood family, America has given my an additional extended family to help fill in those gaps. People across my country, continent, and the world.

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