If you’ve ever come across the term ‘first world problems’, it’s likely because someone used it as a Twitter hash tag to accompany some kind of trivial issue they wished to tweet about. ‘First world problems’ are essentially problems and worries that people in developed, wealthy countries (i.e. ‘first world’) usually like to usually complain about. Like when you take earphones out of your pocket only to find that they have mysteriously tangled together even though you didn’t put them in that way. It’s an even bigger problem too since you need to listen to music on your way to work, on a day when it’s most likely raining and cold and you need that little bit of peace of mind. This isn’t to say that first world problems aren’t problems (to each his own) but that the problems themselves are first world, meaning they usually have first world solutions too.
We currently live on the planet of the apps; a time when you can have an app for anything from a cooking timer to a compass, all usually for free. Suffice to say that anyone with a smartphone can quite easily find a solution to any problem simply by downloading the appropriate app or by asking Siri for the answer. A lot of the time you’ll find that people complain about internet related issues while using the internet, the very thing they’re complaining about. Of course it’s frustrating if your phone is frozen or giving an error message, but it would be more prudent to research the quick fix rather than tell everyone through Skype all about it, in the time you could be using to fix it. You would be surprised at the amount of free programs available online to help speed up your laptop or computer and all it takes is a simple Google search to find what you need. Too often you might see people whine about persistent and invasive advertisements on YouTube or Facebook, when the simple solution is to install adblock in their respective browser. These are very specific examples listed here, but what am I really getting at here? What I’m trying to say is that people should take more steps to combat not only their first world problems, but also their complacency.
When you live in the first world, it’s easy to get comfortable with a routine way of life. You wake up and the shower’s working, your coffee machine makes the best-tasting cup you’ve ever had and your cable box springs to life at the touch of a button. People often begin to rely on these things to always be in perfect working order, so much that they can’t imagine what would happen if it broke and how it would dampen their day. Problems usually do arise, leading to instant irritation and frustration that nothing good ever happens in life. When really, these problems are trivial and have easy solutions, sometimes which might be just patience. It’s easy to get complacent with a style a living, especially a life in the first world, yet people forget how lucky they actually are in the first place.
I’m not trying to preach that you should never get frustrated when something goes wrong or when you have a genuine issue, because truth be told when only one side of your earphones stops working, it’s the most annoying thing. I’m trying to point out that we should take our abundant lifestyles and use that to our advantage when dealing with problems as they arise. There are those who aren’t so lucky and when problems come their way it could be more detrimental than a minor annoyance. Some people are lucky to even have a phone, so when that phone gets problems they’re at risk of losing the only thing they have, with no resources or internet tips to fall back on. Everyone gets technical problems; no matter what lifestyle you have, you are definitely bound to encounter many. If you took the time to look online for answers, you’ll often find several people who have the same issue as you and they can offer you solutions, plus having that solidarity makes you feel less isolated in your problems.
Ultimately, my point is this: we in the first world have the tools at our disposal to live well, but we also have the tools to deal with it when living doesn’t always go well. We should never become complacent in our lifestyle and take things for granted, though that doesn’t necessarily mean we should be on the edge all the time in fear of something breaking. We should try our best to be content with what we have and have the common sense to think of how to solve problems when they come our way. So the next time you get off work and realize your iPod is out of power and you have nothing to listen to on the way home, maybe consider yourself lucky that you have an iPod at all.