Friday, October 27, 2017

First-world problems, a reminder to count your blessings

Running out of wireless data is a first-world problemOut of data

“I can’t wait ‘til Friday when our data resets,” my youngest has said repeatedly over the past two weeks since we ran out of cellular data, halfway through the month.

“Why don’t we just get unlimited data,” my middle son asked.

“Because I spend a ridiculous amount on our cell phone bill every month as it is and I think you all should be able to ration the amount of data we have. I didn’t even use 1 GB before we ran out!”

“We should switch companies.”

“I get a corporate discount with this provider. Seriously, this is the least of our problems. It's just a little inconvenience, really”

And so go the negotiations with people who have yet to ever pay a bill.

"The WiFi's no good!"

And it’s not even like we’re all the way shut off from data; our wireless company lets us limp along with slow data until our next billing cycle. Besides, there’s WiFi…

“The WiFi at school stinks!” or “Our router needs resetting again!” someone will yell from his room.

I know exactly who the data hogs are because I looked online at our data usage. They are the two who have complained the most.

The reason we are out of data is because we took a trip to Florida earlier this month to look at colleges and not everyone bothered to ensure they were logged in to hotel WiFi.

Today I want to talk about first-world problems, or “problems” of the privileged.

[bctt tweet="Problems or inconveniences? Some people would be grateful to have any job, any car, any cell phone…or even electricity, At times in my life I was there. " username="carolineposer"]

An aside

As an aside, the cell phone analogy may not even be the best example, because in developing countries, a lot of people have bypassed landlines and gone straight to cell phones.

In eight emerging and developing countries, about nine-in-ten or more own mobile phones, comparable to the 90% of Americans with cell phones.

Additionally, a growing number of people use internet-capable smartphones (more than half in some countries and at least a third or more in many others, compared to 58% of people in the United States.)


Overheard while driving in the car recently:

“Can we get Five Guys?”

“Are you buying?”


“Well, that’s not in my budget right now; we just got takeout the other night.”


“Start bringing your wallet!”


“Can we stop at Dunks?”

“I don’t have any money with me.”

“Use your card.”

“Not today!” I’m trying to get my credit cards paid off after some unexpected car repairs and the college visit side trips to *ahem* Universal Studios and The Magic Kingdom.

And a few days later…

“So and so says he’s going to get Gucci flip flops.”

“What!? Do you really think the brand of clothes is important?”

“Not really, but I do like to be stylish…”

“I’m sure you do. But there are some people who are just grateful to have shoes and clothes. They could care less about what brand they are.”


I continued, “There’s a guy named Abraham Maslow. You need to Google him right now. (By then our data had reset.) Take a look at his hierarchy of needs.”

Moments passed and my son flashed me his phone with the familiar pyramid.

“Yes, that’s it. Where do Gucci flip flops fit on there?”


“Somewhere near the top, honey. No one is even thinking about Gucci flip flops unless he is fortunate enough to have all his basic needs met.

"There are people in this world that don’t even have shoes. They are stuck on the bottom of the hierarchy, wondering where they are going to sleep or what they are going to eat!

"Needs always have to come before wants."

Wants vs. needs

It is a privilege, not a right, to

  • Have a smartphone

  • Drive a car

  • Get food or drinks from a restaurant

  • Fly somewhere in an airplane

And even then, I know people who would be grateful to have any job, any car, any cell phone…or even electricity, who may not even give themselves permission to dream of a dinner out or a vacation.

At one point in my life I was there.

I know what it feels like to do a job I hated and be happy about it anyway, to drive a “brokemobile” (just thankful I had my license), and to have a crappy old “dumb” phone (that I would have been embarrassed to use in front of my friends if I were a self-conscious teen just wanting to be “normal”).

And yet still, I had electricity. I might not have had heat, but there was always light (except for a very dark extended period of time during an ice storm).

What problems?

So, please, people. Stop for a minute and think about others who would be grateful to have your problems. There are probably a lot of them!Count your blessings to remember to be grateful!

  • If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep... you are richer than 75% of this world.

  • If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace... you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

  • If you woke up this morning with more health than illness... you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

  • If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

  • If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful... you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

Count your blessings! Pass it on!

xoxox, Carlie

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