The top ‘first-world problems’ that concern us in 2017 vs. in 1997

A new study compares the day to day concerns of twenty-somethings in 2017 with those of 1997. Finding ripe avocados and free Wi-Fi were a lot less of a concern for people twenty years ago.

So, there was this story in the paper the other day about a couple living in a Tudor-style home in North York, Toronto who sued a neighbour for also having a Tudor-style home. The rationale was that the similar home copied theirs and therefore devalued their house.

Calling your lawyer because someone in the neighborhood has a similar house to yours is a prime example of what we now define as first-world problems. These are defined as the issues that upset people who have no actual problems to concern them.

I think this easily takes the top spot of 2017’s biggest first-world problems. But that is hyper-local to Toronto. For a broader look, the tech firm HTC has surveyed people about what their every-day concerns. Interestingly, they polled millennials first and then cross-referenced their issues with those that people now in their fifties said their problems were when they were young.

The differences are striking.

Of course, it makes sense that many of the top ‘first-world problems’ of today have to do with technology. Amongst the top ten are forgetting your phone at home, the lack of free Wi-Fi the ‘buffering symbol’ when you’re streaming videos, and forgotten passwords.

Twenty years ago we had far fewer passwords to remember, there was no Wi-Fi, even loading images on the internet had to ‘buffer’, and we didn’t need to have our phones with us at all times (and most people still had landlines.)

Other pet peeves of today’s young people include a lack of ripe avocados, running out of toilet paper, when food is delivered without condiments, and having to wait for someone to respond to text messages.

Back in 1997, we were more likely to worry about having a happy relationship, earning enough to pay the bills, and saving up for a down payment on a home.

Some of the top first-world problems of 2017

  • Having to wait at home for a delivery to arrive
  • Forgetting your account passwords
  • Leaving your phone at home
  • Waiting for streaming videos to buffer
  • When you can see someone has read your text – but they haven’t responded
  • When an avocado isn’t ripe enough
  • When they don’t bring you condiments and you have to ask for them
  • Running out of toilet paper and forgetting to buy more
  • Your laptop is running low on battery, but the charger is in another room

The top first-world problems back in 1997

  • Finding a happy relationship
  • Earning enough money to pay the bills
  • Being able to afford to travel
  • Saving up for a first home
  • Getting photos developed – and finding many of them were overexposed.

Note to younger readers. In the olden days, we had to take pictures on film. You never knew how your pics would turn out until you paid someone to develop them for you. Because you could only take a finite number of shots, and you wouldn’t see them until much later, you actually counted yourself lucky when you got a good picture in the deck. It was a drag.

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