When my computer crashed and I was beyond frustrated, my son said, “It’s only a First World problem, Mom.” True. This annoyance was minor in the grand scheme of life. 

Living in the United States—a land of privilege and opportunity—we have time to focus on trivial matters.

Confession: My swimming pool is my First World problem.

Our pool has always been a gathering place; a source of fun, exercise, and restoration after a long day.

After thirty years, we wore the pool out! It is now begging for major restoration. 

While impatiently waiting for long-term renovations to begin, I notice First World problems all around me: 

An angry man at Walgreens claimed the store texted too often about his prescription refills.

A woman outside Publix cursed her phone that just died.

In my house, when the remote control is missing, chaos follows. Couch cushions fly through the air. We are desperate to watch more reruns of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives!

Martha Stewart’s article about scented candles past their prime made me laugh out loud. In Florida, when the power goes out during a hurricane, no one cares if the air smells like Mountain Pine or Island Grapefruit. We just need light to guide us to the bathroom.

Weird Al Yankovic’s song First World Problems shows us how foolish we look complaining about the dead battery in our electric toothbrush, or the poor design in the foam of our overpriced latte.

After winning first place in the 2017 Royal Palm Literary Awards I entered my novel Mischief Makers in another contest. It didn’t even place. While the judge applauded my solid grasp of pacing, setting, and description, the final comment was, “But the real issue is the ‘First World problem‘ theme of the story itself.” That. Was. The. Whole. Point.

I write books, articles, and Reflections that dwell on slices of life and First World problems. My stories are beach reads with happy endings. Swimming with Strangers in Shanghai, my short nonfiction, is full of tongue-in-cheek angst while I lived in a five-star hotel. Moving back to a maid-less house was torture. 🤣😂

I’ve visited impoverished areas of Cambodia, Thailand, and China. I don’t take potable water, a roof over my head, or access to quality healthcare for granted. When faced with those with less, I struggle knowing I have so much.

Yet I still pine for my pool.

What First World problems have you encountered?


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