Recently I’ve seen some really great videos featuring people in the third world reading off complaints from people in the first world. And no surprise, we all sound like giant asshats. I love those videos and I simultaneously hate them as well.
You see, as much as I realise that my problems are painfully first world in nature, they are still problems. They keep me up at night, give me acid reflux and cause my husband and I to fight. Having my pain completely (and perhaps even justifiably) trivialized doesn’t make me feel any better. I have to wonder if it makes anyone feel better.
When did we start to be embarrassed about the things that keep us up at night? When did it become inappropriate to say that although your child is fed, clothed and sheltered, you still stress about how you are going to pay for college or someday buy them a car?
I am, quite frankly, tired of trying to pretend that I am so upper class that I don’t have any concerns. Or that I don’t have any hope of understanding the challenges of being “lower” class, living paycheck to paycheck, any more than I can hope to understand real third world problems.
I am middle class, with middle class problems, and I’ve decided to stop being ashamed of who I am. I live in the world I was born to, and make the best of what I have. I give of what I earn when I can, and raise my children to be good world citizens. I also worry about my problems, because they are mine. I also worry for others who don’t have what I do.
I know that I am lucky that my problems don’t include clean drinking water or basic shelter or clothing. I feel fortunate to have the worries I do. But all that said, I’m not quite ready to write them off entirely. They may very well be first world problems. But they are problems just the same.