“I’ve had enough!” Call them prayers, visualizations, manifestations, I’ve asked the Universe for “more than enough.” There’s ‘not enough’, which is poverty. There’s ‘enough’, which is balancing on a razor’s edge, where a slip is a dangerous thing. Then there are at least two versions of “more than enough”: prepared for an emergency, and beyond that is arguably greed. (And, no, the world isn’t as simple as that, but generalizations are handy ways to organize the world.) I asked for ‘more than enough’, and got it. Maybe I should’ve been more specific.
One thing that there’s more than enough of is advice about envisioning the world you want to live in. Ask and you will receive. While I like the sentiment, the lottery is proof that not every request is immediately and perfectly answered.
And yet, I understand the concept and the philosophy of manifesting a personal existence. Rather than make it an emphatic statement though, I temper it with a bit of reality for myself. Setting a goal is one way to improve the chances that you’ll achieve it. All we’re ever doing is improving the odds. There are no guarantees. Fortunately, setting goals doesn’t cost anything but time. Working towards them, well, that can take a lifetime.
Forget the pundits and their advice about visualizing things like success. Be careful what you wish for because you may get exactly what you want. Comedians and D&D players know how such things can go agley. You wanted a mountain of gold? Congratulations! It is being delivered from above and is about to land directly on your head. Wording. Wording.
I asked for ‘more than enough’, not too much more, just enough more. I’ve seen ‘not enough’. I feel like I have ‘just about enough’. I know having ‘more than enough’ is comfortable. And I’ve seen what can happen to those who have ‘far more than enough’. Thinking about how to preserve or what to do with the excess can consume their life as much as a poor person can be consumed with the need to find enough. The pain of any anxiety can be real; but the impact on their lives is completely different, of course.
So, what did I do wrong? Well, maybe nothing. This is a busy time to be in real estate, especially on Whidbey Island. The historic reaction to a pandemic is repeating. People want to get out of the city and its density, and out to somewhere with distance built in. Business has been good enough that my business, and therefore I, might make enough, and maybe a bit more.
Why would I think I did something wrong? Well, after months of staying and working from home, I’ve become more aware of what I have. There are a lot of things I have more than enough of.
(The following list is not comprehensive. This is a blog, not an academic survey of my life.)
More than enough, much more
Weight – Yep. Prior to working as a real estate broker, there was a time when I could bike commute to a coworks. Twenty miles a day, that’s probably how I fit into those clothes that are shoved to the side of my closet. Bike commuting for real estate? Not on one of the longest islands in the US.
Herbs – After buying my house I decided to save money by landscaping with transplanted plants. Aside from two apple trees, a fig tree, and a bay laurel, the rest of the landscaping is transplanted from somewhere else on the property. Left basically untended for about a decade, my yard now produces far more herbs than I can use: rosemary, lavender, sage, lemon balm – with mint finally showing through. Just enough would be something that can fit in a few pots. Instead, I have loads of herbs that must be cut, which I then leave out as free fresh herbs, which become yard waste if no one wants any.
Fruit – Those fruit trees are doing well. For most of the year they stand there, slowly growing. For a few weeks they produce far more than I can eat, or at least should eat. There are limits. Figs, figs, figs. Apples. Apples. Apples. I’m not complaining. The deer aren’t either. They get the excess after I toss it across the fence and into the yard.
Stuff – I am a minimalist but not an extremist. There are those who proudly live with only 200 possessions. That’s fine – for them. I don’t have much but i have much more than that. After months of bumping around things that I never use I have even less. Free or trash, lots of stuff has gone. Sure, some of it could be repaired, but then again, maybe not.
More, but not too much more, than enough
Clothes – Within the last two years I’ve finally refilled my wardrobe. After years of carefully wearing holey things, I’ve been able to replace most of the old clothes, or upgrade for work while using the old clothes for chores.
House/home – My house, my home, may be one of the things were I have just a bit more than enough. In 868 square feet I have enough, plus a bit more. Two bedrooms, but really one office and one workout space; because I sleep in the living room on a futon couch. Someday I might buy a bed, but there’s a long list of things to repair or replace before I get there. Another room would simply become storage, and I don’t have that much to store.
Pantry – The pandemic has emphasized necessities that can become unavailable. My earthquake preparedness kit has doubled. Noticing Use-By dates has adjusted my stockpile of perishables. My pantry is almost full, but I’m not going to obsess about it because having too much more than just enough can become that same issue of how to store it and protect it. My freezer can’t expand, but I’m keeping it stocked – even though that means re-arranging a frozen 3-D jigsaw puzzle every time I take something out or put something in. Avalanches can happen indoors.
A bit more, please
Money – Money continues to be a taboo topic, but ignoring that taboo is partly what this blog is about. Studies try to quantify what is enough, but they do so statistically. Personal finance is personal. Enough, or just a bit more than enough, is different for everyone, and changes throughout their lives. I frequently quote one of the themes in my book Dream. Invest. Live.; Spend less than you make. Invest the rest. The ability to spend less than you make is an accomplishment. Basic necessities represent a lower limit, a minimum expense/income balancing act. Too many people can’t reduce expenses any further without threatening their lives. The ‘minimum’ part of ‘minimum wage’ is a political choice, not what’s necessary to afford necessities. (Maybe we should change the discussion to one about a Living Wage.) Being able to spend less than you make means, at least as some level, there’s more than enough. Being able to invest the rest, to put it somewhere where it isn’t immediately available is even better. Currently, I am moving that balance point to simultaneously get out of debt, pay bills, set money aside for taxes, repair and replace as necessary but with strict prioritization, and have hopes of investing more. Retiring anxieties is an action that may take just as long as it took for the anxieties to accrue.
At least for me, life is about balance. What’s necessary? What’s sustainable? What’s enough? What’s too much? And. When is it appropriate to have just a bit more than enough? There is more to mention, but this post already has more than enough words. A writer’s lament; “If I had more time I could’ve made it shorter.” #IIHMTICHMIS