Today, I nearly put myself in a really bad mood that would have spoilt the rest of my evening.

What for? Because I was frustrated that I had to deal with a uniquely first world problem -deciding whether to show up  for an engagement that I didn’t really want to go to.

Fortunately, I’ve been reading some really good material this week and before I had a meltdown, I took a timeout, grabbed a can of Oolong tea and read my newspaper. That moment of retreat allowed me to take a step back and realise what an unbelievably ridiculous situation I was put in. So, in a sense it is true- sometimes to go forward, you have to take a step back first.

This is what happened. We were invited to some relative’s gathering and the wife didn’t really want to go because a) she hates gatherings of the huge variety and b) it’s kind of hypocritical to show up for someone’s party when one hardly knows the person in the first place. I totally understand where she comes from because I’m not one for huge gatherings either but for the better part of my young life, I was quite apathetic about it.

On the other hand, the extended family has had such gatherings since I was young and recently, such things have been getting fewer and fewer. Basically, my mother expected us to go.

While things have roughly been resolved, I still can’t get over the fact that I have to solve such problems in my life. It’s ridiculous. While other people have to turn their collective brainpower and effort to solve issues such as thinking about how to put food on the table, getting their kids to school or dealing with the pain of seeing their loved ones die because they couldn’t afford medicine, I have to deal with this. My life almost feels like a waste.

In a perfect world, my time and energy would be spent picking stocks, getting regular exercise, learning how to cook well, learning how to code, teaching people how to make better financial decisions and anything else that makes the world a better place.

Having to decide whether to show up to meet people that don’t interest me is truly a first world problem.

However, the interesting thing to all this is that when I started focusing on my breathing and took a step back to think of the whole situation as an outsider looking in, I started to realise how ridiculous this all is and I almost couldn’t stop myself from laughing out loud. All feelings of frustration and bitterness immediately faded away. Matthieu Ricard is really on to something.