26 October 2012

Losing a cell phone, losing perspective

I recently wrote an article for the catapult magazine issue on "first world problems." I've included parts of it here:

"As I write this, I’ve misplaced my cell phone. Again. And I’m super annoyed about it even though I know it’s ridiculous to be in a bad mood on account of a stupid phone and my absent-mindedness. It’s even more ridiculous because I’m fairly certain it’s not entirely lost, just inaccessible. But it still doesn’t change my being annoyed.

My annoyance is disproportionate to the consequences of it actually being lost... but recognizing that it’s silly to be annoyed about a cell phone doesn’t make my feeling go away. I don’t know how to worry about the big things — having enough food to eat, being able to get an education, personal safety, religious freedom, and so on — as these are all things I have always been able to take for granted. Instead, I am overwhelmed about my inability to do much to help those in places where such worries are constant and real. For me, the pressures and worries are different: productivity, availability, self-image and usefulness are just some of the things that have become a central focus of life. A lost phone, simple problem that it might be, can be seen as part of that bigger picture. Being frustrated with myself or sensing that my loss lets others down are real feelings, regardless of whether this actually reflects reality, and these feelings ought to be recognized and honored...."

The rest of the article can be found at http://www.catapultmagazine.com/first-world-problems/article/losing-a-cell-phone-losing-perspective. I also recommend follwing the links to the other articles. Shawn talks about inner-cities and hospitality in other cultures, both topics I find important. And Deb is an old friend of mine - her article also discusses the challenge of first world assumptions and expresses well the real difficulties of privilege.

update: another article that expresses well the challenges of first world problems is: http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2012/11/the-problem-with-firstworldpro.html 

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