I think a lot about privilege.
I think about what privilege is and what it means to be privileged. Here's the Oxford definition:
a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group...
It occurred to me recently that I might be the most privileged person there is. Seriously. I don't think that there is much question that we belong to a generation that is living the most fortunate version of human life thus far. Anyway, let's go through my list.
Racial privilege? I'm white. Check. Nothing more to say there, really.
Gender? I'm a straight dude. Duh. No glass ceilings or lifelong battles for equality here. I'm doomed to be judged entirely on merit my entire life.
Economic? I work a white-collar government job and had a government-subsidised university education. Yay for social security and the welfare state!
Family? My two loving, generous parents have been married for over twenty-five years, both of whom have been gainfully employed for my entire life. I also have a cool younger brother to share these exorbitant privileges with.
Friends? I'm so fortunate here. I have heaps of great friends from all walks of life. It's great to have people that share common interests which often results in sharing great experiences.
Technological? I live in a age where we have impossibly perfect little computers in our pockets, access to the world's information through radio waves and can talk to or see virtually anyone I want whenever I want, wherever I want. Think about that for a second.
Health? So far, so good. Everybody touch wood now, please. I do wear glasses and use Ventolin occasionally, but let's be serious.
Even without comparing my situation to people far less privileged than I, say for instance those people living in sub-Saharan Africa, I feel that I have no almost reason to complain about anything, ever. There'll be times when I do moan or whinge, because I don't think it matters how fortunate we are, everybody stubs their toe once in a while. (How does that hurt so much? I really don't get it.)
If you're reading this, I'm guessing quite a bit of this applies to you too. It's worth thinking about how far up Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs our problems are when we experience them. Chances are that yours, like mine, are mostly pretty high level, first world problems. Next time someone cuts you off in traffic, swear quietly to yourself, smile and turn your stereo up a bit. Things could be much worse.