I was reading Your Money Or Your Life again (groans start – you all know what this means… deep thoughts). They are talking a lot about the idea of enough. How much is enough? There is a real, quantifiable amount that will satisfy without overindulgence.
I look around and I realize that this is it. We have enough. We add to it occasionally, as needed or truly wanted, but we have enough. Now that I’m working, I don’t have the time or the inclination to shop for fun anymore. Part of the reason for that is that I feel better, like I’m actually contributing something instead of just marking time. I’m actually bringing in less money than I did, but I have more peace of mind and my husband and I agreed that that’s important too. I don’t feel as bored or empty as I did so I’m not spending to fill in the holes.
Anyway, many of us live in a culture that says more is better. Consume. Get more stuff and you’ll look better and feel better and people will like you. Most of us think we’ve not succumbed to the hype, but most if us have in some insidious ways. When was the last time you actually wore something out instead of using it until it broke and then getting a new one? Do you buy new clothes every season or because they’re on sale, or do you wait until you actually need them? Shoes? How many pairs do you really need? Tools? Couldn’t you borrow some sometimes? We are taught from an early age that if we get stuff it will make us happy. Toys, video games, cars… Is it any wonder that, as adults, we keep buying to make ourselves happy?
Yes, I want a hobby farm. Land and animals and a tidy little house. But I’m willing to wait for it. Save a down payment and pay it off early. If I never get it and we continue just as we are, well, that’d be ok. We are not missing anything from our lives that we need to be fulfilled and happy. We have enough for the essentials and some small luxuries. We have enough.
How many people can look around them and say that, really? How many of us want more for no really good reason? To impress our parents or our peers? To convince ourselves that we’ve “made it”? In reaction to something that we didn’t get growing up? Whatever the reason, do you really need, or even want, all that stuff? Is it fulfilling you? That’s one of the major questions the book asks, and it’s a doozie. It’s how I know I’ve arrived at enough. What else do you actually need to fulfill you and your dreams? Does your stuff lend itself to your goals? Is it in line with your values? Wow. Think about it truly and I’ll bet you can come up with a real, quantifiable amount of stuff that is actually enough.