I’m Thankful for My First World Problems

            Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about everyday things that I take for granted. I live in America, so I’m already more fortunate than the majority of the rest of the world, but even still I’m more fortunate than a lot of Americans. At twenty years old, I still live with my mom, who pays for everything but my gas. I have a car to drive, a job to go to, a house to live under, and a bed to live in. I have warm clothes and multiple pairs of shoes. I have running water, both cold and hot and the only health issue I have is that I have to wear glasses. I’m thankful for my first world problems that I take for granted on a daily basis—my hair, my life, my job, and my freedom of religion.

            How many times have you gone on Facebook, Twitter, and or Instagram and seen someone post a picture with a hashtag complaining about their hair with another hashtag mentioning how it’s one of many first world problems? I can’t speak for you, but I know for me it happens on a pretty regular basis. So, it might sound silly to you that I’ve been concerned about how I’ve been taking my hair for granted, but that’s okay. I’m not afraid to sound silly. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about cancer, because I’ve seen several movies on Netflix that had main characters with cancer and because one of my favorite authors, musicians, and actresses, Paige Omartian, had cancer when she was growing up, a little girl whose family is friends with some people from my church was diagnosed with cancer this past year, and my team leader from work had a sister who lost her battle with cancer in the past year. I have thought about how the treatments for cancer often lead to hair loss and I have wondered what I would say or do if I was diagnosed with cancer and lost all of my hair. Honestly, I would probably cry about it. My hair has always been my favorite thing about myself. At some point or another, I have complained about every square inch of my body, physical, mental, and emotional except for my hair. So, yes, I have felt guilty about taking my hair for granted and I’m trying to remember to thank God for it every time I look at it, stroke it, or push it out of my face.

            I’ve been thinking about how I have taken my life for granted. I’m not guaranteed another breath, and yet I act as if I’ll live forever! While taking life for granted isn’t necessarily a first world problem, it is a lot easier for those of us who live in first world countries to take our lives for granted, because unlike the residents of third world countries, most of us don’t have to fight for our lives on a regular basis. In the past, my mother has been pregnant at two different times with babies that didn’t even get to live long enough to see the world with their own eyes, my team leader’s younger sister passed away as a young teenager last year, a week ago a young woman only four years older than me was murdered, and there many people somewhere fighting for their lives right now. Right now, I am breathing in and out, I’m tapping my feet to the music coming from the TV, and I am using my fingers to type these words. Those are things the previously mentioned people never be able do again and yet I take this actions for granted on a daily basis. Inhale. Exhale. I did it again, and I’m still doing it, I’m breathing. That’s not something to be taken lightly and it’s certainly not something to take for granted. I’m still breathing; I should be thanking God for blessing me with life.

              I am daily taking my job for granted. Not only do I have a job, but I also have a job that pays well. I have a job that pays me $7.25 an hour. By American standards, that’s minimum wage and isn’t considered a high paying job. In fact, having a minimum wage job is often considered a first world problem, but compared to most of the other countries in the world, that’s a lot of money. In America, $7.25 can’t even get me more than one coffee at Starbucks. When I compare that minimum wage to that of other countries, like China, I can’t help but laugh at myself for complaining. In China, minimum wage is $1.19. That’s not even enough to get a tall Passion Tea Lemonade from Starbucks, which is one of the cheaper items at Starbucks. It’s barely enough to get me a small ice cream cone at Chick-fil-a for $1.18 (including tax). I take job for granted, especially when I consider the fact that I’ve been employed since 2010 and my managers pretty much let me take off 8 to 9 months a year for volleyball and basketball each year until I graduated high school in May of 2013.

            Finally, I take for granted the freedom of religion that living in America grants me. I have the freedom to worship whichever god I want to worship and not be burned at the stake because I choose to worship the God of the Bible. I have the freedom to stand in a street corner and proclaim the praises of my Lord and Savior. I have the freedom to sit under the stars with a group of friends singing worship songs to our Creator, the one who created the stars above us. And, I have the freedom to publically meet with fellow believers on Sunday mornings in a movie theater, in a building rented from someone else, in my own home, in an actual church building, or in the middle of the field. My freedom of religion is something that I’ve grown so accustomed to, that I often forget that there are still more countries than I can count that are persecuting Christians who publically proclaim their belief in Christ. As an American, I may be verbally persecuted by people that don’t understand what Christianity is really all about, but what is verbal abuse when I could be living in a country that would torture me for my beliefs? It’s nothing but a first world problem!

            My challenge to you and to myself is that we stop taking things for granted! We need to remember that we are blessed! We need to be thankful for our first world problems! I am blessed to have hair, to be breathing, to have a job, and to have the freedom of religion! What are you blessed to have? My challenge for myself this year is to write on a sheet of index paper at least one thing I am thankful for each day until the end of the year. Why am I doing that? I’m doing it so that when times get rough, I’ll remember the things God has blessed me with. I’m doing it so that at the end of the year, and years from now, I’ll remember the little things that I’ve been blessed with, and I’m doing it so that I will remember to have a thankful attitude each day. The more you make yourself think about the things you are grateful for, the more grateful you become for all the things that you have.

            Now that I’m done writing this blog entry, I’m gonna go appreciate some of the things I’m grateful for—my soft mattress in my heated bedroom (it’s only 43* outside here in Texas, which is considerably warm compared to the negative degree weather in most of America right now, but it’s still freezing for us), my warm UT Longhorns snuggie and UT Longhorns house socks, my two fluffy pink blankets and soft Texas flag blanket, and both of my pillows with my UT Longhorns pillow pet. And, I’m gonna to enjoy something else that I take for granted each night—sleep! Thank you for reading this blog entry, I hope you enjoyed it! J haha

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