So you think you’re having it bad – your kettle’s broken*, the clutch has snapped, you have burnt cupcakes and no chocolate – hell it’s been a day – tell me about it.
On second thoughts – don’t. I’m really not interested. Tell me when you have a real problem – and you might get some sympathy – you might even get some practical help or advice. But whine about life’s little injustices and I will ignore you (heck, I might even tell you to shut up and get a grip – that’s the extent of my counselling).
Am I heartless – mean spirited – cold? Possibly. But I prefer to think that I am just being a little bit more honest – and a bit more balanced (arrogant, moi? – oh yeah). You see, by focusing on all your little problems you a) sound miserable and so dampen the mood, b) fail to celebrate all life’s little victories that make it such fun, c) completely miss the fact that compared with many, many other people around the world you are amazingly lucky, blessed, and living free of any discernible, long lasting, debilitating hardships.
So the next time you think the world is against you because someone un-followed you on twitter (oh scream!) – or your perfect day didn’t work out quite as planned (bit of a traffic jam love?) – or your shoulder aches from carrying shopping bags loaded with champagne and truffles – do me a favour – don’t bleat about it.
Instead, take a look at the world around you. Remind yourself that the country you live in is still reasonably civilised (despite all the scare stories in the tabloid press). We don’t have a civil war raging – we are not dying of thirst and hunger. Few of us have been directly affected by recent earthquakes and Tsunamis (if you have, then you have reason to feel bad – and you have my deepest sympathy).
Most of us, however, get to go about our daily business unmolested and even though we talk about “the daily grind” it isn’t really a grind – it’s a fairly cushy number in a warm office with light refreshments (if you work on a farm then I accept that life is tougher – but it was probably your career choice so, again, not much more than a hint of understanding and we won’t mention the taxpayer subsidies).
Meanwhile there are some people who lead lives of quiet desperation – genuine hardship, daily grief, unimaginable pain, exhausting chores and an agony of loss and heartbreak that few of us can imagine (and thankfully will rarely experience for ourselves). Think about them – just for a few moments each day, particularly when you are feeling put upon by another broken shoe lace or a late pizza delivery. Think about them as they wake up knowing that today will be no easier than the last – and realise that they are doing a lot more than just “muddling through“.
Think about them and get a bit of perspective in your life – their problems are several orders of magnitude greater than yours. Then, rather than posting a self-centred moan, post a celebration of life. As someone (me – in 1981) once said: “People who get wrapped up in themselves make very small parcels.”
If you can’t think of anyone you know like that, someone local who you could help, if only by providing moral support and a genuine concern, then here’s a suggestion – read about Maggie and Alice. Particularly Maggie.
You see, Maggie’s day won’t suddenly get better – no amount of perfect cupcakes can make her life what it should have been. But your concern for her welfare, moral support for her family and, perhaps, even a small donation to the EACH Hospices that help to care for her could go some way to making her future (and that of other children like her) just that tiny bit better – and the burden of caring for her that little bit more bearable.
Now, off you go and have some fun.
*PS: Did I tell you that my kettle broke yesterday – complete disaster, traumatic day boiling pans of water – probably missed out on at least three cups of tea – really don’t know how I survived. And you think you’ve got it bad.