1st World Problems and 1st World Gifts: What’s in your bucket?
Photo by DFAT
On Thanksgiving Day, I wrote about 1st World Problems. At the time, a Move On petition was in circulation, asking people to pledge not to shop retail on Thanksgiving.
I also openly admitted that I signed the petition but not before grabbing a coffee at Peet’s.
My 1st World Dilemma.
Since then, I’ve been thinking more about our 1st World Gifts, beyond the materialism to which we have nearly unfettered access even if you’re living at or below the poverty line in America.
According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, if taken literally, once we have the basics met: food, shelter, a sense of belonging and maybe even a little bit of love, we then begin to yearn for more.
That more includes needs for personal fulfillment and meaning, identified as the need to self-actualize.
Self-actualization is a 1st World Gift and Curse.
Throughout the world, millions of people lack access to clean water. And, even when cleaner water is available, some women must walk for hours to collect it. In Sub Saharan Africa, women can carry up to 40 pounds of water daily on their heads.
Americans will never have to do this unless one of the dystopian, fantasy fiction novels becomes a reality. Hopefully not in my lifetime. *Fingers crossed*
We never need concern ourselves with this level of survival.
So what’s in your bucket?
If we are freed to focus on what Maslow calls our growth needs of self-esteem and self-actualization (and I’m suggesting we are), what’s in your bucket?
When people in this country complain about…well anything, a chorus of voices rises up to chide them with statistics with varying degrees of reliability to prove that there are people worse off than them and that they are, in fact, lucky.
This exchange almost never works. Not because the complainer doesn’t realize that there are others whose struggles are greater on some arbitrary scale but because their pain is not minimized by dismissal.
What if we acknowledge that we all carry buckets, but that the choice is ours to fill them with whatever we choose.
Perhaps you will never own a Porsche or a Bentley, but you can own a reliable car.
Perhaps you will never *retire* to a tropical paradise. But you can find work that doesn’t feel like work and not postpone your happiness.
Perhaps you will never earn enough to send your children to college, but you can teach them financial responsibility and how to learn without college.
Perhaps you will never own a home, but you can use this freedom to relocate for work, travel or help adapt the co-housing model to serve a larger market.
These choices are 1st World Problems and Gifts.
What’s in your bucket?
My bucket is filled with ideas about using education, technology and entertainment to help others (including myself) grow and self-actualize.
Self-actualization is my 1st World Gift and Curse. It’s yours too.
I feel both lucky and obligated at the same time to use the advantages of my life to enhance the lives of others in meaningful ways. I know I’m not the only one.
So what’s in your bucket?