This time of year my social media is packed full of people sharing their greatest blessings. November brings out the grateful for things ranging from family to fish tacos and while I have many wonderful things to feel grateful about, this holiday season, I am most grateful for my problems. This may sound counterintuitive, to be grateful for your problems, but as I look at the world around me, I can't help it. You see, my problems are small. In the grand scheme of our world's current environment, my problems are small, minute, miniscule. I am privileged to have the problems I do, to worry about extravagances and not necessities. Never have I worried about a roof over my head or warm shoes on my feet. Heat can be turned on with a flip of a switch and food is in abundance. When I think about my problems for which I am grateful, they involve stains on my favorite sweater or having enough extra money at the end of the month to buy myself a present. My beautiful and lovely problems involve wishing I owned a house with fourth bedroom or wondering when I will ever find the time to clean my fish's tank. Not all problems are solvable but mine? Mine are the problems you find in a freshman algebra class. They may be annoying but they're really not that bad.
A few times over the past month, I have caught myself complaining to my friends about silly and insignificant things. My new bed was delivered late, my roots started to show before the 6 week point, and my order from Target got delayed a couple days. I agonized over which photos to put on our Christmas cards, the birthday invitations I wanted for my son's party were sold out, and Starbucks put in skim milk instead of almond. None of my problems are based on need or safety, none of them prevent me from living my life, and all of them, when said out loud, sound completely silly. So many people in this world have problems, real problems, and too often we are wrapped up in our own trivial issues to truly see what a privileged life we lead. In the grand scheme of things, the world will not cease to rotate on its' axis if my vacuum breaks. I may be frustrated that I have to replace it, but life will go on. My problems are severely outweighed by my life's joys and how can we be grateful for one side of the scale and not the other? One should appreciate the black and the white, the vegetables and the dessert because without one, the other isn't half as gratuitous. Problems make our joys more joyful and our successes more meaningful. Sure life would be much smoother if we didn't have to worry about anything but what would keep us on our toes? What would show us the full range of emotion we are capable of feeling? How would we learn about ourselves?
I have not always been this lucky and maybe that's why I appreciate where I am right now even more. Everyone has problems, but mine? I am lucky in that really? Mine just don't matter. And this is why on the holiday where everyone feels #blessed, I am grateful for more than just my family, friends, and home. I am grateful for my problems, every single silly, inadequate one of them.