That’s a First-World Problem for Ya

Post Date: December 6th, 2012

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

— Matthew 20:16

Image found here

Tonight I couldn’t get more than $40 cash back from the super-healthy organic co-op store. Then I went to an ATM and my card wouldn’t read. As I exited the building where the ATM was, several children rushed through the door and the parents behind them let it happen. After everyone charged through, adults included, I stepped forward, thinking the guy in front of me who’d held the door would keep doing so. No. He let it shut just as I walked through with both hands carrying groceries, and so it slammed on me.

Then I sat in my car to await the end of a teen-ager’s piano lesson–the reason I needed the $60 in cash, because the teacher won’t take checks. I’m hacking and snorting the whole time because the older I get, the more gluten and lactose intolerant I get. Every meal presents a question mark of how my body might not like this or that for dinner. And like I have the time to craft a healthy, organic diet that ferrets out all the mystery allergens or keeps every meal pure.

I won’t even explore the fact that lately, I no longer have time to write.

I did lift out of my irritable fog to delight in this–community wireless. Thanks, Town of Carrboro. Without it and my laptop, I would have a way to tap these rants to life.

And I am not stuck in a hospital bed right now. A forced sitting in a carseat isn’t that terrible. In fact, a blog emerges from it.

And most importantly: everyone I know and love is safe at home, none of us facing chemical weapons, rocket launchers, or genocide in our neighborhoods.

As Friar Laurence once told Romeo: “There art thou happy.” That was in a scene where Romeo was whining, big time.

First-world Folks, take a note: just because we’ve chosen to lead lives that are jam-packed and so technologically rife with instant gratification doesn’t mean we have it bad. And writers who have the most time to write and reflect are probably in one of two situations–a sane location with enough food and safety–or prison.

Tonight I’m going to take this moment to stop whining and remember what matters most: I’ve got a lot of reasons to be thankful, and if my first-world life has become too much for me, I most likely have means to change it. Starting with my attitude.

Shakespeare’s words that thrilled my soul at 14 remind me that there are words to be written in every spare moment and only one crack at this life. If I also take a moment to remember who’s last in this life’s race, am I really going to moan about faulty machines and going second or third through a door?

As a Holocaust survivor told my stepson recently while interning on a documentary shoot: You make a decision to choose life everyday. You’ve got this chance; stay positive; make the most of it.

What pack of blessings lights upon my back? The first thing this first-world gal must do is ask that. The last thing she should do is live an entitled life of demands on the world around her where she wonders why she isn’t first in everydamnthing.

I’m going to mull on that and read the good Friar’s words to the self-pitying Romeo just one more time.

What, rouse thee, man! thy Juliet is alive,
For whose dear sake thou wast but lately dead;
There art thou happy: Tybalt would kill thee,
But thou slew’st Tybalt; there are thou happy too:
The law that threaten’d death becomes thy friend
And turns it to exile; there art thou happy:
A pack of blessings lights up upon thy back;
Happiness courts thee in her best array;
But, like a misbehaved and sullen wench,
Thou pout’st upon thy fortune and thy love…

Act III, scene iii

No Comments