First World Problems

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those facing retirement find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after they retire. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking on this link:  Click here for her website:

Now, on to my blog:

Washing MachineI was complaining to my son about my washing machine conking out and needing to buy a new one.  I bemoaned  having to search for a replacement online, having to call different appliance stores to check their stock, having to stay home to get the delivery, and figuring out how to use it.  He listened patiently and then put it all in perspective.

“Mom, this is a first world problem.”

That shut me up immediately. How petty and ungrateful we can become with the minor inconveniences in our otherwise privileged lives. We’re not being bombed like some people in the world. We’re not starving like some people in the world. We’re not being exposed to horrendous diseases, being mauled by animals, being beheaded or having a relative who is. You get the idea.

It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of our lives, stressing about having to buy a new washing machine and the like. I’m certainly guilty of it. But, it illustrates how any situation can be looked at in a different light. How lucky I am that I have the money, availability, and ease to buy a new washing machine. Not everyone does.

Yes, our problems are significant to us, but we must keep some perspective. Practice looking at problems from a different angle and see if their importance doesn’t diminish. Too many people complain too often about too many things. Stop complaining folks and make it work for you. If you go shopping for something and they are out of it, get something else and move on. If you’ve made plans with someone and they are late, stop grumbling and read a book or magazine until they arrive. When you can’t get what you want, choose something else at that moment. When things aren’t going like you had in mind, “go with the flow” as they say.

Complaining is easy. Dissatisfaction is rampant. Why can’t we learn to “turn lemons into lemonade,” as they also say? There are so many positive, interesting things going on all around us constantly. Choose to get into that mind frame. It makes life gratifying and so much easier.

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3 responses to “First World Problems

  1. Roger Trammell

    Perspective is everything, LGG. In terms of problems, I try to think back to the things I considered problematical when I was in elementary school. They seemed so earth-shattering then, not so much when viewed from today’s perspective.

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