When is enough wine, enough?
The Way I Was

E is for Enough: living well, despite everything

When is enough wine, enough?
Enough wine?

How much is enough?

Americans spend over $2-trillion annually on traditional and alternative healthcare. And in our never-ending quest for a healthy, happy life, we fork over a sizable bit of our income for healthy food and dietary supplements, sports and exercise, therapists and spas. We spend kazillions on pleasures–entertainment, travel, gourmet indulgences… we part with all that money, and yet statistics show that we, as a nation, are neither very healthy nor very happy.

Let me share with you one of the keys to finding a good life. It’s not costly. It is almost too simple for words. It’s this:

Enough is enough.

Or in other words–

Be content!

It’s impossible to feel well when I am dissatisfied, displeased, resentful, envious of those who have what I want. Discontentment is at the root of unhappiness.

So why do we constantly wish for more wealth, more status, more youthful energy, more influence, more say, more wine, more sex, more friends, more flavor, more room, more trinkets, more beauty, more vacations, more love?

Why should enough not be enough?

I shall resolve to be reasonable. Let me remember that I don’t need to chase after happiness. Let me understand that if I choose to be content, right here, right now, in my present circumstances, happiness will find me.

Therefore I will be satisfied with what is sufficient. I will notice all the plentiful abundance in my life, and instead of allowing small pleasures to make me greedier for more, I will choose to be grateful for this goodness, knowing that right now I have enough

I don’t need more than I need.

So I will not pursue, or hunt for, or scramble for more. I will still have wants and desires, but I refuse to allow discontentment–mine or anyone else’s–to make my life unreasonable or unmanageable.

To be satisfied when my basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, rest and kindness are met, is to become liberated: 

  • I will stop living up to the stupid expectation that I must work tirelessly to gain more money, more power, more popularity.
  • I will stop using my wealth and influence to acquire endlessly more wealth and influence.
  • I will be generous.
  • I will play with children.
  • I will laugh often.
  • I will share my meals and my stories with my dear ones.
  • I will love my life and the people in it.
  • I will be attentive to the remarkably beautiful light glimmering on wet grass after a storm.
  • I will sit quietly beside the ocean listening to the surf, watching a loon bob and dive and surge.
  • I will sketch the loon or write a loony poem.
  • I will walk in the forest for the pleasure of moving my body, for the delight of smelling earth and pine sap and leaf mold.
  • I will sing to the clouds.
  • I will praise my Maker, thankful that I live.

Let’s all be more thankful for our sufficient blessings,

because contentment is the most important ingredient in the recipe for living well, despite everything.

In the conviction that I have, after all, enough, I become extravagantly and exhilaratingly free from the bondage of wanting more.

Do you want what you haven’t got? Is this desire robbing you of peace? 

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40 thoughts on “E is for Enough: living well, despite everything”

  1. Your post got me thinking this morning as I was feeling disgruntled that all my family is scattered now and I wish I lived closer to them. I was actually going through a phase of mourning the loss of having them around me on a daily basis. Somehow your post made me turn that around and be grateful that I did have them, even if not physically close.
    Anyway, after reading your post I decided to schedule into my calendar the times when I would see them this year and look forward to those times, and be grateful for those times, rather than keep up this pity party that it wasn’t every day.

    1. Believe me–I need those reminders, too. I wrote this series for myself, as an exercise in gratitude.

      I’m very glad to hear that it brightened your mourning. And the mourning is natural–it’s when we wallow in it that we get in trouble. Congratulations on making an action-plan!

  2. Great post. It is very sad that what you say about our nations (the UK as well as the US) is true in general. We just need to be happy where we can to make up for it.

    1. It’s so difficult to be happy when we’re bombarded with constant media that enumerates all the reasons why we shouldn’t be content; why we need more, more more!

      I’m making it my ambition to share contentment and gratitude. To help myself, and to encourage all the right-thinking people I know to join hands with me in joy! 🙂

      1. I’ve been reading your book and your sentence “It’s so difficult to be happy” could have ended up in so many different ways.

        I think your attitude to life is amazing. It makes me reconsider my attitude – which has been undergoing flux for a while. I’m definitely on a journey and still figuring things out and your posts really help me.

        1. So true– there’s a long list of problems that make being “happy” a challenge.

          It’s so encouraging, Denise, to hear that my writing is helping you. That’s my whole motivation and purpose in writing. To pass along what I was given, in the form of cheerleading help to those who are in the midst of the really, really hard stuff. (Those who haven’t been through really hard stuff, just aren’t helpful, no matter how much they want to be!)

          And I’m quite impressed by your courage and attitude; it gets easier as we get older, if we practice our convictions. I know from experience what the flux feels like, and the confusion of trying to figure things out. I’m still working on that, but I’ve been fortunate to follow behind some amazing people who have served as example and inspiration.

  3. Fabulous post! Like many other folks, I want a little bit more money so I don’t feel like I am living paycheck-to-paycheck, being able to put money in a savings account would make me rest a little easier. But aside from that I’m happy! happy! happy!

    1. Oh, I’d like more money, too, I dearly would. I’m trying to learn to work toward that goal while not letting it make my unhappy in the present moment.

      I’m happy that you’re happy! 🙂

    1. It’s easy to forget….

      that line is an echo of a Sinead O’Connor song (not a hit; one of the last bits on one of her albums), in which she sings, “I have all I requested; and I do not want what I haven’t got.”

  4. Like it very much. Enough is enough! Or as Leo Degroot once said, “It gets to the point where enough is too much!” All your points are things we need to pay more attention to .

    Sent from my iPhone

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    1. Yes, but its so easy to get distracted…

      I, too, gets to that point where enough is too much… or as somebody I know used to say, “Enough, already!” 🙂

      And I really knew she meant it when she said, “I’ve had just about ENOUGH.”

  5. Lovely post, Tracy. Philippians 4:12 was going through my mind the entire time I was reading. I’ve discovered having a lot of “stuff” won’t bring me happiness, it must come from within. I am blessed and knowing this, makes me rich.

    1. One of my most-treasured verses–I repeat it to myself often, when my mind gets cluttered with too much “stuff.”

      And you’re right, knowing that we are, in fact, blessed is the source of true wealth.

  6. Wise, sincere, and beautifully written, Tracy.
    One of my favorite bumper stickers says: “Happiness is a decision I make in advance.”
    The first time I saw it was on the rear bumper of an old car trying to be parallel parked by a very little old woman who strained to peek over the steering wheel. But she was very careful, and when she finally succeeded she got out, waved happily to those of us waiting in our cars, and she blew us kisses. It was wonderful, and it was enough to make us return the smiles and blow kisses in return!

    1. That’s a darling story; and it has made me resolved to start blowing kisses, often and with panache!

      I’m sure that if more people spread that kind of joie de vivre, it would be easier for people to remember to decide in advance to be happy.

  7. A wonderful post that has me doing all sorts of self reflection. Thank you Tracy! Often I find myself perusing Facebook and measuring myself against all the accomplishment people are touting on their pages. It takes some effort to step back and simply be happy with what I have in my life. This idea of keeping up with everyone is a dangerous one and definitely leads to more disappointment than satisfaction.

    1. My daughter-in-law and I have been having the ongoing conversation about how Facebook can makes us dissatisfied with out lives and accomplishments. It’s that competition/comparison thing…

      It does get easier, I think, as we get older and more secure in ourselves, less needful of other’s approval. I think it’s perfectly normal that we want other’s to respect and value us. One of the keys to contentment, I think, is to surround ourselves with people who respect and value us for the right, not the wrong, reasons (and to be comfortable with deciding that certain people’s respect, is, in fact, a kind of disrespect–or at least something we definitely don’t want).

    1. That is, in fact the real recipe, Andrea. Unfortunately the the more common recipe for “the good life” is luxury and enough wealth to hire servants, which, in my opinion, is really a sham.

  8. You know the secret Tracy! Contentment in all things. Reading through all the comments here, I was reminded of exactly the same scripture which Jill shared. It is so simple yet it is so hard. Funnily enough, I’m also in process of working on a post about Facebook and the challenges therein. It seems to be much harder for people to have any measure of contentment. We all know that there is always someone bigger and better than us but these days we can’t escape it as it’s in our faces the whole time. No wonder we spend ‘kazillions’ (love that word!) on trying to be healthier and happier but it’s not working! It has to come from within. Compared to others in my family and with friends, we struggle in so many areas, particularly financially, and I find it hard not to compare but in the process of making the decision to choose to be content with what is before me/us (and there is much to be thankful for, blessed as we are) it helps with working towards that state of true contentment. It is a gift for with that we really don’t need anything. Excellent post Tracy, thank you for reminding us of what is most important.

  9. Such a wise post – thank you. I made the big decision a year ago to make a major life change and leave a demanding job that that was unhealthy for me. I’m all the more content for having done that, and grateful that I was in a position to be able to do so. I’ve reduced my income but the happiness and satisfaction I’ve found is priceless.

    1. That’s brave, Marlene. Congratulations on choosing health and happiness over a higher income! You’re an inspiration to other people who would benefit from a similar choice.

  10. Loved your post, Tracy. Years ago, I bought the book, “Secrets of Simplicity,” by Mary Carlomagno. We really could lead less stressful lives if we just enjoy what we have. These things can provide more than a gold-plated credit card: the laughter of children, the enjoyment of a home-cooked meal and sharing time with those you love. Priceless!

    1. So true, Judy. I’ve read a number of books on simplicity, but not that one. I’m going to try to find it.

      We’ve been consciously trying to live much simpler lives–a surprisingly not simple thing to do in this complicated world. But the rewards are tremendous. Peace, contentment, the freedom to be oneself…

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