Tuesday, August 16, 2016

First World Problems

Identifying something as a First World Problem has become a way of saying that that something is not really too much of a problem in the big picture: more like a minor hindrance or irritant in a pretty fortunate life.

I have been thinking lately, well before being prompted to blog about first world problems. that I have, indeed, been pretty darn lucky. Unlike millions of folk, both past and present, I have always been comfortable: always had a roof over my head and heat in winter. For much of my adult life, I have even enjoyed artificial coolness in summer which has been pretty doggone important in the past week as our temperatures soared to a feels like reading of over 105F. There were three days when I pretty much hibernated indoors.

And as my tightening beltline will attest, I have always had enough to eat. The food has always been there. Unlike millions or even billions, I've never had to scrounge for scraps.

Healthcare has also been good. As a senior in Ontario, I don't pay much more than $100 per year for my prescriptions. To put that into perspective, meds were costing my ~$300/mo before I officially reached the golden years. That leaves me enough money to fund dental care, orthotics and hearing aids without too much financial strain. As someone who must fork out almost $3000 for hearing aids this year, I am really appreciative of the help that I get with prescription meds that leaves me the funds for these devices. Even then, the hearing aids were partly subsidized, for without state assistance, my cost would be closer to $4500. Phew!

Of course, life has been good in other ways that would be easy to take for granted. I am referring, of course, to family: both the family that I grew up in and that which I accumulated on the way. Perhaps, although I do my utmost to disguise the fact (hahaha), you have noticed how much I dote on my grandkids.

Let's add universal education to the goodies that have enhanced my life, for even now education is not free and easy in many less developed countries. Also, my university years were subsidized by a combination of student loans and grants.

Such are the benefits that accrue from the happy accident of being born in a first world country.

This all leads me to a first world phenomenon that I have some minor reservations about — the bucket list. There are those who have grand bucket lists of things that they intend to do in this life. Goals and wish lists are fine really, and I have no great issue with listing things you would like to accomplish, which often becomes holidays to take and places to see. I do hope, however, the bucket folk are appreciative of the truly important things in life like some that I have mentioned above.

I don't have a bucket list. I can't afford to have a bucket list. If I were to have a first world problem I guess this would be it, which is to say that I don't have much of a problem. Of course, I appreciate things which happen to accrue to me beyond the basics, but I would never sit down and make a bucket list of wishes as if not being able to cross them off my list would somehow be a grave failure or disappointment. I do understand that there is no particular fault in having a checklist of some sort, but to me the stuff of life is more like having love, comfort and sufficiency. If you have that as I do, you're blessed ... as I am.

16 comments:

Marie Smith said...

Bravo! Well said! So true.

Jayne said...

Blessings counted, indeed!

Ruth said...

"Such are the benefits that accrue from the happy accident of being born in a first world country."- One of the best first world countries at that. We enjoy benefits here that our American cousins do not have. Health care is so important. I don't have a bucket list either but try to visit some place new every year, even if it is a regional town, another province or a road I have never travelled.

Tabor said...

I think about stuff like this every single day! I really do, and it makes me sad and worried and it does help me volunteer more and contribute to many charities. I just was plain lucky...not smart or strong or deserving.

baili said...

i am lucky that have everything what is called basic need of life big house loving family sensitive heart and above all the realization of the blessings that i have but trust me if i had none of this i would be still happy and peaceful because the one who is blessing me has nothing borrowed from me it is just his geatness and kindness that he is as generous to me

Jim Flack said...

Wonderful, thoughtful post, AC. We, you and I both, are lucky ducks to be born when and where we were. Life is harder for the younger generations, even here in a first world country. I have learned never to take for granted anything. Especially love, family and home! Thank you for this "bring it all home" post.

Kailani said...

seeing a Stevie Wonder concert is the only thing I have that could be construed as a 'bucket list' item. I hear you though! We are privileged. :)

Shammickite said...

I agree wholeheartedly. I know that I am priviledged and extremely lucky to live here in my chosen country, where I have a roof over my head, a comfy bed, warmth in winter, food on the table, and enough money to buy the necessities of life with a little bit left over for a few luxuries. I used to have a list of things I would like to see and do, but, well, those things are not important. I just want my children and my grandchildren and my yet to be born great-grandchildren to live happy fulfilling lives and make a useful contribution to this crazy world.

Haddock said...

A wonderful post.
These are some of the things we take for granted and don't pause to think about.
Like you said - If you have that as I do, you're blessed ... as I am.

Country Gal said...

I was just thinking about this very thing earlier today , I said to my self , self we are very lucky to have what we have and to have the choices that we do ! I often remind myself how blessed we really are here in this country ! Thanks for sharing , have a good day !

Country Gal said...

P.S my bucket list is to live simple give when you can and be thankful for all you do have !

KGMom said...

You nailed it. First world problems aren't that big. It is good to be reminded of that.

Vicki Lane said...

Spot on! I am not fortunate enough to live in a country with a rational healthcare system but aside from that, my life is exceptionally good. I've never made a bucket list but I do have a kind of anti-bucket list. I know now that I'll probably never hike the Appalachian trail nor sail around the world nor learn Italian nor play a musical instrument nor learn to weave --- just a few things that some years ago, before there was even the concept of a bucket list, I thought I'd like to do.

It's a good feeling to let some dreams go free.

Mara said...

Family and health are the best things in the world. I don't have a bucket list as such (I think), more of a list of places and things I would like to visit and do. But I am not waiting for my retirement to start on them. I do them when I can. Preferably with family and/or friends.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

we don't have a bucket list, per se, John. But we are at the point in our lives that if we want to do something and are able to do it, then we just do it. That does;t mean we take off on exotic trips or go out and buy extravagant items, but if something we own needs replacing we know we can do it without too much consideration. I do understand what you said about being appreciative of the things we have and so our blessings are family and long-time friends.

Mary Gilmour said...

How about the availability of good, varied food from all over the world. How about the relative sanity of our ethos and government, even among first world countries.
How about all of the opportunities opening up for grand daughters! Our daughters have had to scramble and put up with a lot but they are succeeding and leaving a trail for smart, athletic and happy girl children to follow.
(Yeah, I don't notice much about my grandkid either. hAH!)
Nice prompt.