I’ve seen a few blogs over the last few weeks suggesting that a good new year’s resolution would be to ditch First World Problems. We should ask ourselves about our worries and decide if they really matter, recognise how lucky we are to not have more serious problem and then move on.
But here’s the thing.
I had what some might consider a first world problem this week. Many people would hear what I was stressing about and wonder what the hell I was worried about. I’d found a solution, it was something I’d been thinking about doing anyway and I could afford it so why was I so annoyed and worried about spending the money?
It’s a first world problem, Emma. You’re lucky you can afford that money. Get over it and stop moaning.
And that little aspect of it? I could understand why people might think that.
But the problem isn’t really about the money. And luckily those I reached out to about that understood that (and in one case I’m not sure they know what a first world problem is).
That’s the bit I’m focusing on because it’s the bit I’m comfortable with. There’s a lot behind it and it’s too big and messy and not something I can do anything about. I’m happy with my solution. My solution isn’t the problem. The problem is the cost of my solution.
I have a really fun opportunity coming up. I can get there easily. I’ve been there before and I know it’s accessible.
Because of what time it finishes I can’t get home. So I’ve booked a room at a Premier Inn. I’d been thinking of going away for a couple of days and batting around ideas so when that came up I didn’t hesitate to RSVP yes. I’ll do something else there before my event and spend the whole day mooching around doing something the next day. Then after I sent my RSVP I looked at hotel cost.
Right in the centre of a city on week night that room is hideously expensive. I could have got two nights for not much more on a weekend. I can afford it and I think for how much I should enjoy what I’m going for it’s worth it.
But it’s not comfortable.
Behind all of that problem however are the bits I don’t usually talk about.
The fact that cheaper hotels exist really close by but aren’t accessible.
And that public transport isn’t fantastic which means I can’t get between where I’ll be and where I could get home quickest from (or on the very quickest form of transport home) so as always I’ll travel a different route.
The difference in times between the accessible transport at the station people expect me to travel to/from and the one I do is minimal when the difference in times to get places on arrival is considered but when it’s a case of trying to beat the magic hour of midnight when your local station operates unmanned are a problem. It should just about be doable but the slightest delay and I’d be screwed. So whereas many people who live here could go there and get home easily I’d rather not risk it.
I’m fine about all of that. I’m looking forward to a couple of days away and planning and plotting all the things I might do whilst I’m there to fill the few hours before and the whole day after. I keep changing my mind.
The amount that hotel cost however much I can afford it and however much it’s a one off and a treat and it doesn’t matter still feels like too much.
So people can roll their eyes about first world problems all they want. They can laugh and joke and blog about new years resolutions to get over them. But I think I’ll keep them. Because for me they’re often the part of a larger but hidden problem that I am capable of dealing with.