How to Measure Enough

Nov 4, 2015 by

Dream Year

Let’s get right to the switch for this bait: I have no idea how to measure enough.

I have a picture in my head of what enough looks like for me. It is very pretty. It has to do with totally liking my day – that’s pretty much it. And it’s totally enough, as long as the picture doesn’t get all muddied with jealous rage when I see a facebook post from fellow author Jen Hatmaker that she is going to be the guest of Kimberly Williams-Paisley at the CMAs tonight. I wrote “fellow author” not because I am remotely on-par with Jen Hatmaker, but because I have to somehow attempt to explain to you how I can compare myself to this woman. I am not jealous that Nicole Kidman, for instance, will probably be at the CMAs tonight. She is a worldwide movie star, married to country music icon Keith Urban. She’s good. But when an author-blogger from Texas gets to go to the CMAs with Annie from Father of the Bride, I turn a little green – like a pale amethyst green, a really pale, almost holy-white kind of green, because I am such a good person and Jen is so worthy. But anyway, it’s moments like that when enough is nowhere to be seen.

I think sometimes we use enough and done as the same word. But I’ve noticed something. I don’t know anyone who’s done. People who seem pretty well-established in the things I pursue are still pursuing. And while they pursue, they have to remind themselves of all the same enough concepts that I say every day.

it’s not about what I get from life but what I give

the joy is in the journey

how significant we are to our loved ones is more important than how significant we are to the world

I lead a small, but valuable life, Kathleen Kelly said. And then immediately she adds, do I do it because I like it or because I haven’t been brave?

I really love – and deeply feel – this line every single day. But I’m wondering if we underestimate how very brave it is to live valuable.

I have begun to adjust my pursuits into wants, wishes, goals, dreams, and various other categories for whether a thing is a true and foreseeable finish line, a distant hope, or a wildest dream. I think the valuable part lies way down at the beginning, somewhere after our glimpse of a finish line but well before we get there. I am doing is every bit as valuable as I have done. Because I am doing is who you are as a person. It’s how you’re hanging on despite adversity, still climbing despite relentless obstacles, facing boldly each mistake or regret in the evening then waking determined to have value, and be even more brave, today.

I don’t know for sure how to measure enough, but I don’t think it’s synonymous with the end. I feel when I stop wanting, I’ll stop living. I think enough has something to do with acknowledging our small but valuable lives and measuring not where we’re going but how we’re getting there. Today was enough. This moment is enough. I have everything right now is supposed to have. It is small. But valuable.


Picture description: Me, my mother and my sisters at a book event in Omaha last year. My mother and sisters also dream and also believe in enough.

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  1. The “how” – yep, I think that’s a good measurement.

  2. Nikki

    Well said, and I completely agree. That line from You’ve Got Mail resonates with me as well.

  3. Carol York

    Hmmm…I think about “enough” in a different way, and I’ve read this post about 5 times now and still having trouble wrapping my head around the meat of what you’ve said. Not any fault of your writing; pretty sure it’s a block in my brain. I think I already think about “enough” in terms of what I’m doing.

    Did I send enough food with my husband for his breakfast and lunch at work?
    Have I told the kids enough how much they mean to me and that I love them?
    Did I put enough effort into preparing for this training class?

    I never think of “enough” as being done with something. I think of it as enough for the moment. Maybe I’m weird. Well, I’m pretty sure I’m weird, but maybe I think about it differently than other folks do.

    You made me think with this one. Thanks for the challenge!

    • Yeah, I think you understood me exactly. You just already live the conclusion I got to. In the beginning of the post I meant enough as in, “I will stop working such crazy hours when we have enough.” Or, “I finally have enough fame or success.” Those versions of “enough” never get reached – we always want more.