First World Problems

Today I woke up in a big, comfortable California King bed next to my husband.

I was warm. Safe. Rested. Content. Hubby snored softly while our 5-year-old slept soundly down the hall.

Because I got up before the dawn, I flipped on the lights so I could brush my teeth in the light with clean water. I then looked through my closet – which is bursting at the seams – to find something to wear to work.

I chose a simple cotton dress, a pink cardigan and matching pink Chuck Taylor’s.

In the office at 6am, I got to work on my laptop, iPad2 and iPhone4. I pulled out my noise cancelling name-brand headphones and made myself the first of many cups of hot, sweet tea while I wrote blog posts for upcoming events and checked the web for the latest news.

At mid-day, a group of colleagues went out for a lunch of stunning food. There was more than we needed to eat. The flavours were superb.

After work I hit the gym and pushed my body to it’s limits before coming home to a fully stocked fridge to replenish the lost stores of nutrition and calories in my body.

It was a damn good day. No complaints.

It amazes me how often people who have more than most people on earth complain. They bitch. They moan. They roar. Oh NO! Your shoelace broke? Poor soul. Ruh roh! You got a flat tire on your gas-guzzling SUV and had to call someone to come fix it for you. TERRIBLE! (insert sarcasm)

I call these 1st World Problems. Or, un-problems.

Today was a good day in my world. I have a good vision of where I am and where I want to be at the moment. But, I think we all lose perspective every now and again. The importance of regaining quickly after it blurs and getting your head into the quit-worrying-because-you’re-damn-blessed mode is huge.

But how do you get back into a mode of not sweating the small stuff and being truly thankful for what you’ve got? It’s a state of mind, obviously, and you need to put yourself there. But, here are a few tried and true ways to get into a space of being thankful, of being fulfilled and of forgetting your own 1st World Problems.

  1. Be aware of your surroundings.
    No, really…be truly AWARE of where you are at any given time. Whether you’re at home relaxing, hiking in the Rockies, sipping bubbly on a yacht in the Mediterranean or in a mud hovel miles from civilization– take in everything that reminds you that you’re alive and safe. Realistically, if you’re reading this you have power and internet coverage. You’re better off than most just having those two things.
  2. Practice being thankful.
    This is easy to do, it takes very little time and the returns on being happy in the long run are huge. You probably don’t have to worry about basic necessities of life like shelter, clean water or food. So the next time you sit down to a meal, give the fates a silent nod of thanks for what you’ve got. Wash, rinse and repeat. You’ll find you’re thankful for everything you’ve got.
  3. Downgrade.
    Let’s face it, we’ve got too much stuff. Cleaning out our house for a big move recently found my husband and I more often than not in awe of how much crap we have. When it comes to finding happiness, less is more. Downgrade. Spend time and money on experiencing life, not buying things that you can’t take with you when you’re pushing up daisies. 
  4. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
    Some people just love drama. They thrive on stress and gossip and the insipid aspects of daily life. Here’s an idea – only spend time on the people that matter and the things you consider important to you. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and don’t confuse the small stuff for the big stuff either. Worry only when you have to. Don’t borrow sorrow and grief. Live happy.
  5. Cultivate your own ideas of happiness and contentment.
    Society tells us that we need the house, the 2.1 children, the flashy cars and the big job to be happy. I say that society’s idea of happiness stinks. Figure out what you want out of life and grab it with both hands. My idea of happiness will be different from yours. Contentment to me is wholly individual. Find your happy, and stay in that place as long as you can!

So there you have it – 1st World Problems, be damned (and, have a bit of a laugh at the irony on display)!
Get out there, practice being happy just for the sake of it.
Wear a lopsided grin. Soak it all up.

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