Hashtag First World Problems [A NARRATIVE]



Hashtag First World Problems

Written by Vanessa Grillone on December 8th.

It wasn’t until I discovered the hashtag FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS that I realized this world has some serious issues.

Public transit is so unreliable #firstworldproblems

Too tired to get up, too hungry to sleep #firstworldproblems

Hungover at work #firstworldproblems

When your favourite purse is sold out in store and it takes 3 weeks to ship to you #firstworldproblems

When your fridge is full but you have nothing to eat #firstworldproblems

The real first world problem is that all these first world countries are filled with a bunch of whiny complaining infants who spit out their milk when it’s too cold, instead of appreciating the fact that their parents could actually afford milk in the first place. People love to complain, I know that for a fact. We love telling people how difficult our lives are, how we’re “too busy” to make time for anyone else, how our lives are just one colossal disappointment after another/

I don’t want to go to work #FirstWorldProblems

“This is fucking ridiculous!” I protested and slammed my laptop shut. This outburst caused other four-eyed writers in the dimly lit, ironic coffee shop, to give me the stink-eye. I smiled shyly until they turned back to their screens. I am not a writer, I am a business student, studying the ways of social media marketing. I come to the same coffee shop every Sunday, ordering a black coffee, and sitting on one of the stools by the window. I don’t believe in online branding, I don’t understand how stupid the world has become. Who the fuck cares what this blogger or that influencer thinks? Why can’t people make their own choices?

I let my eyes wander out the window in front of me. I knew what lay behind. A few gentlemen baristas standing behind the excessively large counter, discussing their latest short story or science fiction novel as they serve gluten-free muffins and fat-free scones. On the couches sit students, writers, and bloggers, all pretending to write while constantly checking their social media feeds. There are a few of the more experienced salt-and-pepper writers with unwashed hair and heavy bags under their eyes, who actually have notebooks beside them filled with character notes and sketches. And then there are a few groups of women, sipping  sweet drinks with gossip dripping from their insecure lips.

This normally busy Toronto street is ghostly on Sundays, especially in the winter. Street cars trudge by, pedestrians walk sombrely, bikers barely pedal as they enjoy the Sunday slow-down before Monday comes and the rush of a new week begins. What would happen if people stopped complaining for twenty-four hours?

I’m not stupid or naive. I grew up in a loving family where money problems never reached the surface. Although I’ve worked since I was sixteen, my parents paid for my schooling and some months they even covered my rent. I have nothing to complain about but I know that as a product of this generation I let myself fall into the moshpit of complaining brats.

What if I stopped complaining for one day? Stopped any negative thought from entering my head, trained myself to be better than my society? What would happen? I’d probably worry less and laugh more. I’d deal with shitty circumstances a little better without giving myself pimples or insomnia. I’d appreciate our shitty transit system since I would use my extra time waiting to read. I’d learn how to take my time and stop rushing life. I’d probably have more friends who like their lives instead of friends who can’t see the good things right in front of them.

If I learned how to complain less and appreciate more, I’d probably be the only one in my generation with a smile on their face.

I’d probably be the only one living.

– Vanessa

*Hashtag First World Problems is a work of fiction*