National Blog Posting Month – January 2014 – Pressure
Prompt – If you could persuade people to do one thing right now, what would it be?
Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Pick me!
I have no idea.
Actually, maybe I do. I would try to convince people to spend some time in a 3rd world country. And if that’s not really possible, then spend some time with the truly impoverished. The desperately poor. The homeless.
Because so-called “First World Problems” make me mad.
People whine. Oh the drama! Life is so hard.
“Why won’t so-and-so just drive me here?”
“My phone won’t work.”
“It snowed and I can’t get to my hair appointment.”
Or, my favorite, “You bought the store brand? I wanted the name brand.”
Cry me a river.
I’m not saying that there aren’t economic problems here (I’m in the United States). I’m not saying that there’s not a huge stinking error in the distribution of wealth in the world. What I’m saying is that most of the things that people consider a crisis around here are completely unimportant in the grand scheme of things. We can whine that our cable is out because we already have a house, a car, electricity, and plenty of food.
I’ve been to Bolivia twice. Bolivia, at least the remote places on the Altiplano that I visited, was a third-world kind of country. The military was everywhere. People grew their own food. Cell phones are relatively new there. People lived in thatched roof cottages!
It put everything in perspective for me. I lived for two weeks without bathing and without the Internet. I came out OK. When I returned to the U.S., I wanted to get rid of all the materialist things that I have lying around.
Of course, I fell back into my routine and started collecting things again. I’ve forgotten some of the lessons learned, but not all of them.
The most important lesson that I got from the experience is that no matter how bad I think I’ve got it, I’ve actually got it pretty good, because I’ve got it better than the people of Bolivia. If something happens to me that would also be distressing to them – you know, like my house burns down – then I know I can complain. Otherwise, it’s probably a triviality.
There are days when first world problems happen and they do upset me. Like right now, I really need to replace my phone because the one I have is having… issues. But I’m not going to blow up and put it all over the Internet that my life is ruined because my phone doesn’t always make phone calls. I’ll just be annoyed, take a deep breath, and deal with it.