One of my favorite meme out of all the hilarious ones out there (“Success Baby” is another one) is the “First World Problems” meme. This meme is unique in that it serves a second function other than to induce great humor – it reminds people to be humble and grateful of their current situation.
I am very much blessed to be living in a first world country. Life and the standards of living in the United States is unimaginably better than a third world country (unimaginable, because I wouldn’t know what it is like to live in the third world). However, that first world lifestyle and environment breeds us to take for granted many things that we think are rightfully ours. When things go bad, we lament our problems even when viewed from a wider perspective, they can be seen as trivial at best.
Everybody has heard it: people bemoaning whatever conundrum they are facing, even though it can be as small as not receiving the correct order of coffee drink at the local Starbucks. I personally have a habit of getting incensed about the cost of gasoline, or the ticket prices to a San Francisco Giants game. We can all imagine the outrage if all cellular towers in the city just stopped working; there would be mass hysteria of complaints from people not being able to go online to check Facebook with their smartphones.
The “First World Problems” meme was created to poke fun at ourselves for complaining about things that would seem stupid and ridiculous to be on about in the eye of someone from a third world country. Oh, you’re mad because the cook at the diner made your steak medium rare instead of medium as you’ve had requested? A person in the third world obviously hasn’t got that luxury. You’re cable service is offline due to unforeseen circumstances for an hour? A person living in the third world hasn’t got cable! The meme automatically puts everything we complain about in perspective.
Nowadays when I find myself making comments about how terrible things are or make complaints about certain things, I mutter “first world problem” to myself so that I take a different point of view. Most of the time, I really shouldn’t be talking at all. It allows me to not give mind to the little issues in life that might otherwise irritate me. The phrase is a constant reminder of how lucky and fortunate I am everyday to be alive and well; with a roof over my head, and food to eat.