You've got an invalid haircut
It hurts when you smile
You'd better get out of town
Before your nickname expires
It's the kingdom of the spiders
It's the empire of the ants
You need a permit to walk around downtown
You need a license to dance
-- Warren Zevon, Life'll Kill Ya
What if you had enough?
No, really, what if you had enough?
You ever think about that?
Really think about it?
What if things were okay. Not great, but okay?
What would you do if things were okay? If you had enough?
What would you do? Who would you be?
What if you had enough money? I mean, not rich or anything. Maybe not even "well off." But mostly enough. That's the measure in our society, isn't it? Money. That's how we measure happiness, success, contentment. So, what if you had enough? Enough money.
What if you were better off than your parents. Getting by. You got a house, a car, some nice things. Sure you have a mortgage and a car payment, who doesn't? You're not living under a viaduct somewhere, right? Hopefully anyway. I mean, you could maybe live in a smaller place. You could drive a small cheaper car, something that gets good gas mileage instead of that monster $70K SUV with the V-8 and the 4-Wheel drive that you don't actually need, not to mention all that chrome. You could do that. But the thing is, you have the option and you don't want to.
What if you had enough to eat? Maybe not steak and lobster every day, but enough to eat. What if you mostly ate food that you liked? Because you could? What if you had extra food even, enough that you didn't have to worry about every bite and could scrape the parts you didn't like into the trash? What if you routinely had the option to turn your nose up at certain foods and pick something else from the menu? What if you could expect a full belly, every day? And snacks. And drive up windows. And you could even eat stuff that was bad for you, not because you have to, but because you like it. And then you had the option to go to the gym and work it off, but you could just sit on the couch and watch 900 channels of TV instead. If you felt like it.
What if you wanted to go to war anyway? What if you actually had that option? You live in a country that isn't at war, but you could go to war if you really wanted. What if there was a war overseas somewhere that didn't really involve you, but if you really wanted to fight, you could volunteer? You didn't have to, but you could? You could kit up, get yourself outfitted, and head on over to fight for some other flag? What if you were so privileged, you actually had that option, right?
What if there were plenty of jobs? Maybe not great jobs, but plenty of them. You don't like what you do? You could quit. Because everyone was hiring. What if you could join a union and get better benefits and pay and working environment? What if there was record low unemployment and business had to kiss your ass because they needed you?
What if you had all the civil rights? What if no one tried to stop you from voting or living in a certain place or being who you wanted to be? What if the cops didn't stop you for no reason or beat the shit out of you on the street just because they can? What if you could just identify as who you felt you were inside and then you could go out in public and be that person -- oh, I'm not talking about gender, though that too, but identity as a political party, an ideology, a patriot, a protester, an evangelist for your religion -- all the kinds of identities we just take for granted. What if you could wear the symbol of your religion or a hat with the words of your political affiliation on it in bold letters and the worst that happened to you was that you maybe got a dirty look once in a while?
I mean, what if you had all the privilege of your society?
What if the world just assumed you were right simply because of who you are?
What if there were social safety nets? Nothing great, but you aren't going to end up in some "sanitarium" or an old folks home or a work house like your grandparents generation.
What if you wanted to take a vacation and there were plenty of safe places to go?
What if you wanted your kids to go to school and there were multiple choices -- including a religious option funded by the government that taught your particular brand of hate and intolerance and non-scientific fantasy-based bullshit and the rest of the country had to regard that "education" as valid? And your kid didn't even have to take the smelly old bus like the public school riff-raff because you had the luxury of driving your precious little snowflake to school every day in your giant gas swilling SUV?
What if you needed an operation? Or a cavity filled? And you could just go get that done?
What if you turned on the tap and clean potable water came out?
What if you breathed the air and it mostly didn't give you cancer because government required the local factories to obey regulations?
What if there were public services, fire, library, schools, police, etc. And you could depend on them always being there when you needed them?
What if that was your life? Or enough of the above anyway? What if you had enough?
What would you do then?
Really, what would you do. That's not a rhetorical question.
What kind of person would you be?
If things were okay, not great but okay. And not only okay, but a good chance that they could be better. That it would be better for your kids and better for their kids and so on?
What would you do?
Would you just live you life?
Would you enjoy it?
Maybe go play ball with your kid? Go for hike and enjoy the outdoors? Read? Watch a movie. Talk to your neighbors? Learn a skill? Go dancing? Putter around in the garden? Visit your family? Grill out? Go to the beach? Have a snowball fight?
What would you do if you had enough?
Would you enjoy your life?
Would you really?
Because that's the reality for a significant number of Americans.
Not all, certainly. No, certainly not all. But many. Most even. We have enough. More than enough. Especially compared to those elsewhere in the world who very much don't have anywhere near enough.
But, that's the funny thing, isn't it?
That's the thing about having enough: it's never enough.
Anyway, say you did have...
Heh heh. Yes I see you. There in the back. Red faced. Yellow eyed. Mad as hell. Fingers reaching for your keyboard in righteous rage. Oh yeah, I see you. You'd be hard to miss.
Who decides what's "enough?"
That's what's pissing you off, isn't it? You've read this far and you're furious, aren't you? You're about to tell me to go fuck myself. Any second now you're going to start shouting accusations: Socialist! Commie! In America we're capitalists and for capitalists it can never be enough, we can't be happy unless we always have more and even to suggest such is downright unamerican! Do you even know who Jeff Bezos is? Elon Musk? Howard fucking Hughes, man? Come on!
That's what you're going to say, isn't it?
Who decides? I'd like to answer: You do.
You decide what's enough for you. That's the answer you want, right?
I decide for me. We each decide for ourselves. Yeah?
But that's not really true, is it?
No it's not.
You see, society decides what's enough.
Entertainment. Hollywood. Social media. Pundits. Politicians. Popular music. Our neighbors.
Most of all, in America, the rich decide for the rest of us and then use their power and influence to convince us it was our idea.
The majority of Americans today have enough. More than enough.
But they for damn sure don't enjoy it. Especially the rich.
I think about this stuff as I'm driving.
And lately I've had opportunity to do a lot of driving.
Due to a family issue, I'm now making the journey between Florida and Michigan twice, three times, a month. A thousand miles each way in the car, 14 hours on the road.
Lot of angry Americans on that road.
Lot of very angry Americans.
There's a sign, on Highway 65, bit north of Indianapolis.
"No Fence. No Jobs. Just crime and drugs."
That's it. That's the whole thing. No fence, no jobs, just crime and drugs. Huge letters. Giant commercial billboard next to the highway.
No Fence. No Jobs. Just crime and drugs.
Somebody was mad enough, unhappy enough, that they paid to rent that billboard and broadcast that message to the angry drivers southbound through Indiana twelve hundred miles from the border in question.
No Fence. No Jobs. Just Crime and Drugs.
No fence, but of course there is a fence. There's a wall. There's an entire branch of government dedicated to patrolling the border. But most ironically, the very people who are the most unhappy about that supposed lack of a fence are the very same people name for name who once cheered a Republican president when he stood in Berlin and demanded oppressive foreign leaders tear down walls instead of building them. I wonder, what the response from America would be if our neighbors built huge walls across our shared borders and told us to keep out and somewhere in the back of my head I can hear the ghost of Ronald Reagan howling in rage.
No jobs, but of course we currently have the lowest unemployment rate in our history. Business is begging for workers. I drove two thousand miles last month and the one thing that was the same from end to end was the help wanted and we're hiring signs. No jobs. What?
Just crime, as if there is no crime committed by those born north of that border. As if there isn't plenty of homegrown crime. As if all the crime in America was committed by brown-skinned illegal immigrants from south of the border. As if the kind of crime that affects most Americans most severely isn't some crackhead breaking into your car, but rather trillions in crimes committed by Wall Street investment bankers. As if the biggest criminals aren't the ones who have repeatedly vaporized your mortgages, jobs, retirements, and college funds. And not only do you not see any signs along the highway bemoaning the lack of accountability for these crooks, but we elect them to run our country.
Just drugs. As if the only drug in America is Chinese fentanyl from Mexico. Right now, certain pundits and politicians and smug angry speakers at the recently concluded CPAC 2023 are advocating for military action against Mexico. Literally, like the previous president, suggesting we bomb Mexico in a massive escalation of the so-called War on Drugs. As if that would somehow get rid of drugs. As if we wouldn't just find something else to shove in to our veins, or up our noses, or down our throats. And if that's not a metaphor I don't know what is, because if Americans didn't want drugs, I mean really want drugs, Mexico wouldn't be supplying them -- same as immigrants and that aforementioned cheap labor.
Not to mention, Opioids? Well, yeah, that scourge was foisted on us by an amoral AMERICAN company run by a billionaire family in a blatant display of absolute naked greed. The Sacklers had more than enough money, gobs more. But it just wasn't enough. And they didn't care how many American lives they destroyed, so long as they made more. They still don't care. But you never see angry signs along the highway holding Purdue Pharma to account.
What would you do if you had enough?
Would you be happy?
Or would you look around for something to be miserable about?
Would you put up a sign next to the highway?
I've got a neighbor here in this backwater little Southern town where I live. If you watch the various podcasts I'm on, you've heard me mention him before. Got to be about 80. Lives in a nice house, middle of town. Nice neighborhood. I don't know, but he looks well fed. Drives a nice SUV. Huge sign out front. XY equals Male! He's so mad about trans people that he's got a sign in front of his house. That's how mad he is. But, in this town, the odds that he's ever even met a trans person (that he knows of) are vanishingly small. I doubt he could count on the fingers of one hand the number of trans folks he's met in his entire life. Yet, he's mad about it. So mad he's got a giant flag in his front yard. He can't be happy so long as those people exist somewhere in the world even though they literally have no impact on his life in any fashion. Goddamn, is he mad about it. Miserable. Angry. Happy people don't put up signs like that.
But then, happy people don't go to church or watch Tucker Carlson either.
What about you?
Instead of enjoying your life, would you go looking for someone to hate? Even if it had nothing to do with you?
Would you listen to some millionaire TV pundit or some billionaire politician telling you how you're really a victim? That it's really drag queens or immigrants or the commies in China making you miserable, and not your own shitty self?
What would you do?
Who would you be?
You ever really think about that?
A bit further down the same highway, just outside Indianapolis, there was another sign:
"Life's Too Short for Shitty Tacos!"
Maybe I've had enough of people telling me to be miserable, but that seems like a pretty good philosophy.
And maybe I've had enough brushes with mortality lately -- which is why I was on that road in the first place.
Life's too short for shitty tacos.
And shitty people.
Life'll kill ya
That's what I said
Life'll kill ya
Then you'll be dead
Life'll find ya
Wherever you go
Requiescat in pace
That's all she wrote
-- Warren Zevon, Life'll Kill Ya
Very well said...We need to stop and look in the mirror every once in awhile.ReplyDelete
It all seems to be a matter of priorities. What is important to each of us. Cars are not important to me except as a reliable means of transportation, therefor I drive a 22 year old Dodge Neon with 140,000 miles on it and I have had it for 21 of those 22 years. Family IS important to me so I keep in touch and see members of my family all the time and arrange gatherings so we can meet often. We are now living in a time with no war on our land, plenty of available jobs and food, and free education from grades k-12, with almost free 2 years of community college. Some people do not like having free education for us, but we are merely training our future workers, so we need that education to have a good economy. Our health care is a for-profit system, which is not good for all Americans nor for health care. That should be fixed, and soon. But generally, the nation is in pretty good shape. It is enough.Delete
Not quite comfortable. Our cabin is 250 square feet. Our stuff is in a handful of decrepit Costco tents. Comfortable? For us? Triple the house size to 700 - 800 ft. Double the greenhouse, better poultry coops. And a shop, maybe 600 sq. ft. A bit at a time as we can afford it on a Chief's retirement and less than $1K a month Social Security. Our "new" car is a '99 Subaru Forester.Delete
What would I do? Build one new boat a year, under 20 feet, oar and sail, mostly plywood; for my own use, or a gift. I just want to experiment with designs. And one boat, bigger, capable of carrying a bit of a crowd. For the day when my friends in the U.U. or the Synagogue tell me they know some people who need to visit Canada. Unobtrusively.
"It is only to Zanzibar, I have been there before and know the way."
--- Anonymous Dhow Captain, in Alan Villiers' "Sons of Sinbad"
I have crossed the straits before. I know the way.
Bingo. We should all aspire to have "just enough"!Delete
I'm with you on this!Delete
I mean, that's my life. That's literally me.Delete
I've been richer, I've been poorer.
But on the whole, I'm OK.
Then again - I'm a Brit
Jim, I fell out of contact evidently due to FB algorithmic changes. Just read this screed reflecting on 'enough'. If you ran for President, I would vote for you. And knock on doors handing this as a printout to whomever answered.Delete
I am SO fucking glad I live in the UK and not the USA!ReplyDelete
You are right, even with brexit problems.Delete
I own my own home (a wee bungalow, no mortgage), I own a Sportscar (no car loan), I have my own business building race cars. Oh and I have my RAF Pension. Things are quite comfortable chez DebsDelete
Brexit problems are way overstated.Delete
'Brexit Problems'? WAY overstated!Delete
Reading your post, I kept thinking… I am content. I am pretty happy… until I turn on the news…They prime us- because unhappiness and want sells. It’s exhaustingDelete
The difference is I don't willy nilly believe what the tabloids publish. I am an Ex-Military Officer. I was TAUGHT to question. Couple that with a PhD and I can make my own decisions and not follow the crowd. So what the Press pushes out I take with a pinch of salt.Delete
I have enough. And I feel blessed.Delete
Deborah, Same, we own our home, two cars and are relatively debt free (except for property taxes). It's enough.Delete
Ok, but you should be aware that the UK just made it legal to enslave undocumented immigrants, so, uh, they're not doing great over there, either.Delete
UTTER DRIVEL. We have the absolute right to close our borders to economic migrants (true asylum seekers is a different thing).Delete
I know right? Lately it's become bizarre. I don't get too upset because, yes I am lucky to have enough.Delete
I live in a tiny Lil house, a sun fort ( uv protection) out back, enough money for bills and groceriesDelete
I went looking for your Mastodon account, and I see you post actively on https://counter.social/@Stonekettle - but I can't subscribe to your feed there. It seems that counter.social runs a version of Mastodon, but they've explicitly chosen to defederate from the rest of the network.
Is there any chance you would move your account to a different server, or post on a different server in addition?
I'm in Australia and I'm happy to say we haven't reached that stage yet but we are giving it a bloody good tryReplyDelete
I grew up poor, I married young to a young man that had a great job working on the General Motors assembly line. When our children were all in school I went to work also and got enough work and life experience to secure a good job with a pension plan. We paid for a home with some acreage included. We both are in our seventies now and have always considered ourselves to have more than we could ever hoped to have.ReplyDelete
The same story, just a few differences. How lucky I am and feel.Delete
Same. Started my 401k at age 26 and socked away as much as I could. Retired at 62, now 69. I live in an apartment and drive an 11-yo car. I am surrounded by friends and loved ones. I have enough. The media, advertisers, and big Corp. Want me discontented-- Nope, I have enough.Delete
Brilliant - thank you from the bottom of my heart.ReplyDelete
Excellent as usual, Jim.ReplyDelete
Brilliant as usual !!ReplyDelete
I do have enough, and I'm grateful. I wish everyone had enough, and I try to vote to ensure that happens. I know the terrible, gnawing fear of being sick, and not having health insurance, and, while I don't have that terrible worry right now, I want to try to ensure that nobody else feels like that. I have enough. I want everyone to have enough.ReplyDelete
brilliant. Thank you.ReplyDelete
I think about this all of the time. I'm retired, fairly low income but happy and grateful that I have a condo I can afford, food to eat, a town that is safe for me to walk around and family that I'm close to. I consider myself so lucky but I look at other people who have so much more that are very unhappy and I don't know why. I almost died once (stopped breathing) and when I came out of the coma and out of the ICU, I was so intensely happy to be alive and to sort of be able to walk. I remember stumbling down the hospital corridor holding on to my children with a huge grin on my face and wondering if there was something wrong with me. The lady in the next bed had a stroke with apparently no lasting damage, yet all she could do was cry and ask why this had happened to her. I wish I knew why people react so differently because it would be great to share the happiness and contentment.ReplyDelete
I, too, have wondered at the different reactions of people to differing circumstances. Some of us live thru hard circumstances and come out glad to be alive, loving our families and happy to be here. Others continue to bewail and moan and only offer revenge and victimhood. It is perhaps based upon how we are reared? Or perhaps the kind of personality we are born with? Back to 'nature' or 'nurture', eh? A never-ending conundrum.Delete
A stroke that doesn't leave lasting physical symptoms may still kill cells in parts of the brain related to emotional regulation. It is VERY common for depression to be a lasting impact of a stroke.Delete
They have found that two types of personality are genetically inherited. They are "risk takers" and "conservatives". The risk takers are the ones who jump out of planes but also they accept the new and different; the conservatives do not want any type of change, it makes them very uncomfortable if new or different things happen. This is why either side cannot understand or tolerate the other. How to "fix" this? I have no idea. You can modify genetically imprinted behaviour, but you can't erase it.Delete
Excellent, as usual. Long drives are good for thinking and observing. But frankly, you could have written crap and, bracketed by Zevon, I would have considered it brilliant.ReplyDelete
I am lucky enough to be in that exact situation; I am retired, and I have enough. I find it's helping me become kinder. If I have been radicalized it's toward the leftReplyDelete
Yes, and with any extra funds, I make sure that my kids and grandkids get part of them merely as a little lagnaippe to make their lives easier.Delete
Excellent piece, left the bird, miss your posts. Saw on Post.ReplyDelete
Very well said. Having been on both sides of “having enough” I truly appreciate the side I am on at this point in my life.ReplyDelete
It is such a shame so many angry folks can’t see past the BS getting fed to them by people who couldn’t care less about their welfare. People whose only concern is their own betterment and maintaining the status quo at all costs.
I feel all I can do is be the kind of person I wish I knew when I was on the other side of having enough.
Thanks for doing what you do, Jim, and I truly hope you come out the other side of your current reality in good shape.
I'm lucky; I have enough, and I'm basically happy. Living on SS but my son lives with me paying rent and buying most of our food. We're in a small one level condo which is great for my bum knee. I meet old friends for lunch once a month, and have friends of all ages, genders, and races on social media. I have 2 cats who are very good at being cats. Sure, there are repairs I'd like to make, but oh, well -- it doesn't ruin my life.ReplyDelete
Enough is good.
Thank you for this. It is somehow what I needed today.ReplyDelete
Americans are Puritans, and there is an old joke about how a Puritan is someone who lies awake at night stewing in their own juices because somebody, somewhere is HAVING FUN! Enjoy your lives, Americans, you're doing better than most of the rest of the world.ReplyDelete
I've known people like your definition of Puritans. They are miserable to be around and are real downers. Alternatively, there are other people who make ones life happier, more fun and much brighter. You just gotta learn how to sift the wheat from the chaff.Delete
Brilliant. This should be required reading for us all.ReplyDelete
I'm terrible at financial management. Don't enjoy it the way some people seem to. I always said that I want to have enough money that I don't need to worry about money. I think I have pretty much achieved that goal. I'm content.ReplyDelete
As always you have hit the nail on the head. I have enough.ReplyDelete
Too true, Chief. Too true.ReplyDelete
Scares me sometimes, Jim, how well you understand humans.ReplyDelete
Thank you, well said!ReplyDelete
I’ve certainly pondered it off and on all my like. Finally, in the past year, for the first time in my life, I have enough. I have plenty, and so far, mostly, what I’m doing with it is trying to help folks who are struggling. That’s my personal measure of enough - I can feel safe, maybe travel a bit, help folks I love when times are hard for them, and support organizations that try to empower the unempowered.
I know a guy. Union heavy equipment operator. Good paying job. Excellent pension & bennies. His hat says “We the people are PISSED OFF!” About what exactly? He’ll wave his hands around and complain about taking his guns, taking his “freedom”, f’ing Biden ya da yada yada. Nonsense.ReplyDelete
Apparently your acquaintance is one of the MAGA crowd, most of whom spend their time angry; they never have enough; they are all victims; and they all promise revenge for what they think they are missing or what has been taken from them. These are the kinds of people you want to avoid as much as possible.Delete
I've suspected that the underlying condition for most (not all) the angry people is that they're simply bored, and so they make up problems to have to give their lives some meaning.ReplyDelete
With all of the basic needs met, the wealth of human knowledge at their disposal, and what do they do besides stir up shit?
As always, thank you!ReplyDelete
I have more than enough, so I help others - it is the right thing to do.ReplyDelete
As someone said - Life is not a zero sum game.
Well said, Jim. Most of us clearly are suffering an embarrassment of riches and yet a solid 30-40% of us are miserable if someone that doesn't look or believe like us gets something. I've had enough.ReplyDelete
This is a decent piece. Thanks.ReplyDelete
Excellent, as ever. True, as ever. Thought provoking, as ever. How the hell do you do it over and over again?ReplyDelete
My husband and I are retired. We are in the 20% income tax bracket, and own our own little ranch style house and second-hand car in a semi-suburban area in Washington State. We have enough. Before Covid, we had enough to live very modestly and take trips twice a year to far off places. Since Covid, we have stayed at home. We have enough. We hope to travel again in the fall.
I do not recognize the country we are living in nowadays.
I spend a lot of my free time doing grass roots political work. I’m a PCO, the vice-chair of my legislative district, I walk my precinct and talk to people. My hackles rise when I hear someone say that Trump would take care of X in a heartbeat if he were still in power. That person’s hackles rise when I say I’m a democrat. Nonetheless, there is a predatory company trying to build a concrete batch plant in our neighborhood and I point out to that person that this issue is something we can 100% agree on: we don’t want it. I’m nearly 76 and knocking on neighbors’ doors, regardless of their political persuasion, because I think this plant will destroy our neighborhood and the wetlands it sits on the end of. The polarization of normal people took me by surprise. Perhaps it is a good thing because it shows us all the rot underneath the floorboards we had not seen before. The hard part is finding ways to talk to each other again, to work with each other again on truly common issues, and finding our way back together in some shape or form.
I’m looking for suggestions…….
I have food in my belly, a roof over my head, and clothes on my back. I am content. I have a wonder family whom I love and who loves me. I am content.ReplyDelete
P.S. If it’s not illegal and doesn’t hurt someone that doesn’t want to be hurt.
Well done and something to consider before whining about unimportant stuff and stuff that can't hurt you.ReplyDelete
In other words as 'someone' once said
'...enjoy every sandwich.'
I'm well along in years, working and living comfortably, and I have to consciously remind myself of how damn fortunate I am, and to quit bitching about stupid stuff. I can gripe about politics, social issues and other stuff. I have an income, a home, and freedom. *A vast majority of people in this world can't say that.*ReplyDelete
Here, where some people want to take away others' freedoms, to me that's a sign they're eventually going to come after mine, and I won't have it.
Thank you for your accurate about the human condition in the USA. Like you I often wonder why so many people in our nation are never satisfied with their seemingly abundant material life. Some will go out of their way to find another to hate no matter their situation. You have a healthy view of our short act of life and I thank you 👍ReplyDelete
I don't remember where I heard it, but I'm convinced it's true. You are responsible for your own happiness; I can't force you to be happy, I can't make you be happy. There's nothing wrong with acknowledging the wrongs with this world and working to make it a better place but if you are doing your part to make it better then it should not stop you from being happy.ReplyDelete
A little lengthy, could use editing down, but the end message is well worth the time spent. Thank you for saying it.ReplyDelete
Well said Jim. There are just so many people who have to HATE people who are different from them. Just getting along isn't an option.ReplyDelete
Being grateful is one of life's most important attributes. Great for mental AND physical health.ReplyDelete
Thanks Jim...I get to listen to the local brain trust talk once or twice a week. Exclusively middle aged white guys...like myself, spewing their bitterness and outrage about the unfairness of it all...the blacks want equality...women don't just expect everything I say as gospel...kids these days...and oh lord the LGBTQ+ (they use a different term). These guys with enough money to drive a jacked-up truck covered in their shitty, ill-informed opinions dropping a $100 at the bar multiple times a week and they live on a diet of outrage and hate. And even if they have enough they're pissed off because someone who doesn't look, feel andReplyDelete
"think" like them wants a seat at the table.
Great Lenten meditation!❤️ReplyDelete
I am so glad you have had safe travels. I sure missed you. And I count myself as one who has enough.ReplyDelete
thank you for this. My parents applaud you. My dad is retired Army, 100% disabled, yet he retired and went on to have a complete other career and to retire again. He and my mom are in their 80's, fairly good health, and every single month they donate money to a worthy organization that helps the common people. Because they can, and because they are happy as they are. Enough to eat, and to pay the bills, and insurance for health. They give in different ways all the time. Because they are good people that care. Oh, and my parents were Republicans for years, until Trump. They always voted their conscience however, and while my dad is disgusted by Trump and his minions, my mom hates him with a passion. Thank goodness it doesn't rule her life, or change her innate sweetness and naivety. Good thoughts to you and your family. As I posted recently on another of your posts, I will do anything my parents need me to. I love them and they've definitely earned it. It's my turn to give them what THEY need. And I'm happy to do that.ReplyDelete
Thank you for once again for so eloquently expressing another mystery of life in the 21st century USA. Just what ARE they so angry about? THEIR rights have never been up for a vote by 9/100/435 of our most elite citizens.ReplyDelete
Everyone should read this.ReplyDelete
There's a great story about a conversation between Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller at some swank party after they'd met a famous Wall Street gazillionaire. Vonnegut told Heller something about how incredibly much money the Wall Street guy had, and Heller said something to the effect that "I've got something he'll never have: enough." Great idea, wonderful piece. Thank you!ReplyDelete
Having gobs of money and stirring folks into outrage to get even more is the basis of America's sickness. We are a sick country. And shame on those who allow themselves to be so obviously manipulated.ReplyDelete
In Bill Mauldin's "Up Front," he points out that the shittiest characters in the Army in WWII were generally the ones who had never been on the combat front lines, but wished they had laid claim to that bit of mythological manhood, and were always trying to prove themselves by purchasing shirts with gen-you-wine bullet holes or trashing villages during the third wave after liberation by the first wave. I suspectReplyDelete
Excellent. Spot on. Bravo. What if we just didn’t buy the bullshit anymore? What a concept!ReplyDelete
Nice, and very true.ReplyDelete
Jim, you surely do have a skill at asking damn good questions like this one. If only we could get the people who need to answer it to even see it...ReplyDelete
I think most of your readers would come back and say ""Yeah, I'm pretty satisfied with my 'enough' and things are ok for me." True for me at least.
This brought me to tears. Thank you, Jim. (From Denise in the Midwest. Limited online presence, hence the Anonymous comment.)ReplyDelete
I'm really not sure how to react to this. I'm 76 years old driving 15 year old Prius and I still have to work to make ends meet but I guess I have enough. Interesting that you bring up transgender. I have a daughter who used to ski, snowboard, iceskate, skateboard, ride and jump horses, was a brown belt in karate and played saxophone. But she thinks she's a man. She has destroyed her health with testosterone and will never recover from that and will never do the things she used to do and she certainly doesn't seem to be any happier.ReplyDelete
Maybe it’s because you are still calling him, a she? I cannot imagine, as a parent myself, not addressing my child as thay wanted to be.Delete
You have a son, not a daughter. Your lack of acceptance of who he is is why he's miserable.Delete
Excellent read. Thank you.
I have enough, but I won’t fully enjoy it till my neighbors have enough, too.ReplyDelete
I think, with the enough I've got, I'd give a bit to the ones who don't have enough. I'd stay in my own lane and enjoy the ride and let others enjoy their own. I'd limit how much time I spent reading or listening to news outlets and remember that their attitude is "good news doesn't sell". I'd look at coworkers and neighbors in diners sharing lunch together, in a rush to get back to work, or enjoying their leisure, rattling on in English, Kiowa, Spanish or Korean about kids and work and sports. I'd look at the old lady with carefully done nails and hair and compliment her on her choice of polish and style. I'd ask the dad with the twin girls in soccer uniforms how their game went that morning. I'd be a good citizen and a decent neighbor, and mostly, I'd find I get that in return.ReplyDelete
Congratulations, you write like a Canadian looking south and thinking, really thinking, about fences. And guess what? I have enough.ReplyDelete
Years ago as i was trying to raise my children in an affluent area while qualifying for food stamps, enough became my mantra. Do we have enough? A wilderness canoe trip helped answer that. Many years later a divorce helped. My children are still trying to understand enough. This is an important essay. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Yes, this is what it's about. How lost we are. This was excellent, thank you.ReplyDelete
I miss the You are my God option we used to have. Brilliant essay as usual.ReplyDelete
Beautiful 👏🏻 …and by the way, I’m very satisfied and have enough.😊ReplyDelete
Powerful and dead-on.ReplyDelete
I don’t think I’ve ever commented on one of your pieces but damn you wrote everything that I think without my having realized it. Unlike those Americans I don’t own a house or a car. I live on the first floor of a three- story converted row house in South Philly. And I’m perfectly content with my situation. There are similar houses on the block that contain 6 apartments housing more than 6 Mexican immigrants who work in some of the restaurants that Philadelphia is famous for. The front steps are their living rooms and it’s impossible to not know them. Good people all. They look out for each other and watch the block. I can definitely say I have much better neighbors than you do.ReplyDelete
Good stuff! Wife and I have enough. Everything is paid for. No mortgage, no car payments, no credit cards or credit for that matter. I'm 72 years old and I honestly have enough and I'm grateful.ReplyDelete
OH, my name is Ed Wynn. I posted about having enough and being grateful. Thanks. Sorry for the "anonymous".ReplyDelete
Brilliant commentary on life. Thought provoking. Reading through the first two thirds, I thought, “That’s my life here in Australia.” I’m not rich but most of the time I don’t worry about the bills. Four years ago, we moved to a smaller house and bought a small, fuel efficient car. Our health system mean I get what I need, when I need it so even though I’ve got metastatic cancer I’m ok. We don’t have to sell our car to pay for treatments. We’re not commies. Our electoral system ensures everyone can vote … in fact, they must! What do I do with my enoughness? I try to help those who don’t have it. I try to be kind. I choose kindness and joy, instead of hatred and impatience. I cannot comprehend the fury that seems to consume some people. I enjoy watching the birds, discovering the weird world of insects and cuddles with my little old dog. Oh, and reading your posts. You’re a good man.ReplyDelete
I have been fortunate enough in life, partially through my own actions but primarily through luck, to finally be in a position where we have not only "enough", but "more than enough". My wife's background is less privileged than mine, so to her we have "far more than she ever thought". It hasn't always been this way, but for quite awhile we've had "enough" and were happy with that, too.ReplyDelete
For decades, really, I've thought about "if I had $X [whatever $X qualified as 'more than enough'], what would I DO?" I'm now in a position where I can answer that question.
And...well, here we are. We're likely downsizing a lot (from our current "fancy House in Upscale Neighborhood") in the near future, not because we have to but because we *want* to and would've done so sooner if not for some other family stuff. I don't need fancy cars. I drive a boring common midsize sedan purchased two years ago (to replace a 20 year old common compact sedan) and hopefully will keep driving it for another 15+ years. We cook at home, and most of what we cook is better than going to restaurants, because we enjoy cooking and have been doing it for years. We have more than enough "stuff" so we don't really buy more "stuff", and we certainly don't feel a need to impress people with our stuff.
Because we have "more than enough", we tend to just do spontaneous acts of kindness for people around us. Sometimes it's money, sometimes it's actions. There's no expectation of thanks or reciprocity, it's just "here's a thing that you've indicated will help you". If they ask what we expect for that, we tell them that the best thanks they can give us is to be that person for someone else when they're situation changes and they're in a position to do so (and we hope that happens soon for them).
Interestingly enough, many of those people do exactly that, and really, it's not like they're doing it because we suggested it, they'd just do it anyway. Some don't. Whatever, we just do what we do and hope that brightens the world a little bit.
We look forward to traveling more because we have friends scattered around the US and around the world that we want to see and who want to see us, and we will soon have more time, and my wife's job means we can fly at steep discounts. Again, we know we are very fortunate. We would MUCH rather stay with friends (if not a burden to them) or just someplace close by where it's easy to visit them than at some fancy hotel.
But, as always, Jim is correct. Way too many people around us (and here I'm talking people nearby who are even better off than us), spend most of their time angry, about taxes or imagined slights, and most of them want MORE of everything, because as Jim says, "enough" is never enough.
My life isn't perfect, because nobody's is, but most of the time I look around and I'm very grateful for where we are overall, accepting the usual annoyances, and try to share some of that with others, because what's the point if you can't.
Other people...they'll find things, no matter what, and are convinced that they need to make others worse off, because apparently happiness is a zero sum game.
It's troubling to watch and I don't have an answer; just kinda saying "yup, Jim, as usual, you're correct, and you're saying it better than I can".
Another brilliant post!ReplyDelete
Our family has enough. And my kids weren't raised on a bowl of hate for breakfast each morning, eitherReplyDelete
In fact, we have more than enough that I feel guilty about it. I better go find a food bank to donate to.
Thanks for your words. It's hard to love your neighbors as yourself when they hate you back. But I figure the loving part is not necessarily for the deserving. It's to show if you are deserving
Having a pretty good day, thanks. And that's enough.ReplyDelete
I wish I could share this everyone I know..ReplyDelete
Ironically I have been thinking along the same lines as I balance a full time job with care giving for an elderly relative. Why to folks hoard so much and continue push for more and more. I just want to retire and putter around for a while. Yet I keep hearing why do you want to give up such a good job. Because we can’t take any of this shit with us and I’d like to just exist in the moment for a change.ReplyDelete
My God, when will you ever NOT write something that makes me nod my head in agreement?ReplyDelete
I too take road trips alone and you're right about the fact that it is the perfect time to do some serious thinking. (Fortunately, I take them because I can, not because I must.) I'm a 74 year old widowed white woman and I am aware that I have tons of privilege and am grateful for it. I also try very hard not to lord that over anyone else. I live with my divorced daughter and I have remarked to her on more than one occasion that we are fortunate. We have a decent, albeit rented, roof over our heads, good food in our stomachs, can afford relatively nice clothing and the ability to have some of the toys we want (internet, cable tv, a small camper, smart phones, etc.)
It is true that she would not be as well off if we did not pool our incomes, and my grown grandchildren struggle more than I wish they did, but that's mostly because they don't make wise decisions about how to spend their paychecks. (Well, then there's the computer/math whiz one who works for the DOD: he's doing quite well.) But still, they too have lodging and food and clothes. I help where I can and if I feel I should, which isn't always a given.
The thing is, I was thinking just yesterday about how much better off I am than my parents were and frankly, I grew up poor. Really poor. Bad nutrition poor. That was in the '50s and early '60s. No social safety nets. No health insurance or workers compensation, which caused my parents to lose their house.
So, yes. I have enough. Not enough for that European river cruise I'd like to take, but enough to be comfortable. I hate no one. I refuse to be dragged into stupid conspiracy theories or echo the hatred that I see plastered across the internet daily. (One local-ish man told me recently that I am a pedophile because I am a Democrat. That one did raise my hackles a bit, but his ignorance does not define me.)
So, yeah. I have enough and I am as happy as I can be, given all my circumstances. Thanks for pointing it out.
I live in a lovely little town in Oregon, near a beautiful ski mountain, on a river, in the midst of towering Ponderosa pines. Clean air, decent standard of living. But like everywhere else in this country, we have a homeless problem. To hear an unfortunately large percentage of people who post on our Nextdoor listserv tell it, it’s a hellhole full of shambling zombie homeless, high on drugs, rummaging through our garbage, accosting people in the streets. I’ve never seen any of this — but damn are these fine citizens angry. They’ll be breaking out the torches and pitchforks soon. No appeal to reason or their basic humanity will move them. It’s a damn shame they’re so worried about losing Paradise that they’re just throwing it away themselves.ReplyDelete
My sister used to be incredibly afraid of The Homeless, until someone handed her a book about it. She read it, she learned from it. She's way better about homeless persons now. Now if I can just get her to understand the value of educating our nation without enormous student loan debt, safe family planning, etc. She SWORE that our high school was over half Black. When I actually produced the statistics for her (about 1/3 Black), she wouldn't talk to me for a month. Oh -- and she never has enough. Extremely jealous of anyone with more than her. Oh, well, she shouldn't be jealous of me. And I'm very, very happy.Delete
Excellent Jim, gratitude is an important piece of our lives. Glad you're home safe and sound.ReplyDelete
Actually I go by Paul Eastern Shankland due to confusion with and respect for the other Paul Shankland who ran the Naval Observatory at Flagstaff and has since succumbed to Cancer. We figured we were relatives of some sort.ReplyDelete
Thank you for this piece. I have railed about "How much is enough?" for some years. The failure to understand and decide an actual personal limit on how much is enough causes untold grief and destruction.
I have asked "How much is enough" and received the response from a person who did not understand irony "More".
Great work, Jim. Framing your observations with some words from Warren Zevon was certainly appropriate. After all, if you're going to "enjoy every sandwich," you best make sure that you're likewise not wasting any precious eating shitty tacos.ReplyDelete
I have often pondered this concept of "enough" thanks to _Your Money or Your Life_ by Vicki Robin, et. al. We are very near to retiring early because of that book and the concept of enough. I wouldn't do much different - the concept of enough has pushed me to start doing those things I've always wanted to do sooner rather than later. I'm not sorry.ReplyDelete
When you're right, you're right!ReplyDelete
I took a job that pays less than I can make, and drive a used car. Because I have enough. Enough to maybe see myself live long enough to see my kids off on their own. Enough so I'm not ruined by the next tire blowout, broken bone, or flu episode. I have enough.ReplyDelete
If the VA had maybe done something, anything, if I had any safety net other than friends and family perhaps I could have saved my back, and my hands, and not hurt every day. But I make enough. I can do my little hobbies, and not sweat the oven dying on me as a major financial crisis. I have enough to not be afraid all the time. And for me, that's enough.
The reason Smedley Butler was so misunderstood by the people who tried to buy him is, he knew he had enough. What would that wealth have bought him, other than guilt and the knowledge that he sold his honor.
As Zevon said, enjoy every sandwich.
I am so very lucky to have enough and I want everyone to have enough--enough justice, enough food, adequate health care, clean water, a viable planet. None of us is free until all are free. Keep up the good work, Jim. You are an inspiration.ReplyDelete
Great stuff Jim. I've spent the last 30 years driving from Ohio to Panama City to visit my Aunt and Uncle every summer. And boy are you right--- there's a lot of angry folks out there. It's really escalated the last decade I feel. It seems to me that politically, we've turned politics into a sport. It doesn't matter that we do something to better our country if it means that "our team" get owned. It's sickening. I've made that trip up I-65 myself since moving to Kentucky, and those Billboards are hilarious.....ReplyDelete
A maximum wage should be implemented, tied to the minimum wage. If the maximum wage goes up, so must the minimum. Once you hit the maximum wage, congratulations! You made it! A 100% tax rate goes into effect on any overages.ReplyDelete
The 1% have hoarded so much of the country's wealth, and not only refuse to contribute to the social good, they actively try to destroy public health and welfare because it might interfere with them capturing what little remaining wealth they don't own. Surely we can all agree on some finite definition of what "enough" is?
I have almost enough, not complaining as I know there are so many who are suffering and struggling through no fault of their own. My long-term future isn't certain and subject to future election results. I don't think about it. I have a job I love. Could pay more, but I wake in the morning and think, Good, I'm going to work. Very few people can say that. I have a good home, roof doesn't leak, plumbing works, all of that. I have good neighbors. I have good friends I'm grateful to have. If I had more than almost enough, if I had enough so that I'd have a secure future, I'd be sure not to live in a way that hurts others. I'd try to live in a way that, when I'm gone, the world is a little bit of a better place for at least some people in my orbit, in a way that it might be easier for them to have enough. I do that now, but I'd be able to do more of it if I had enough--break a chain, free a human soul. Life isn't all about me. -- Patty . Quinn .ReplyDelete
Do you have a list of podcasts you are on? I have read the blog(supporter) and followed you on twitter for years, the podcast thing is new at least to me.ReplyDelete
Great essay as always.
I have pretty much always had "enough" .. more than enough .. with plenty of happiness & joy. I think I am undiagnosed autistic .. the only times I remember being miserable were when I put my ability to be happy in other people's hands and they never had any for them let alone for me - most ppl are not nice ppl in my experience .. they never have enuf and obviously I was never enuf for them.ReplyDelete
At 71, I still am not enough for anyone but Little Doggie. My goal in life as a kid who lived in an abused nightmare was to be happy .. 24/7. I carried that goal with me everywhere all my life .. I either refused to part with it or it was just part of my soul. Most ppl find me very weird :) But I always have enough .. for me and to share with them :) whether they want any or not!
Excellent and powerful essay. I have enough. As far back as I can remember, I've always felt comfortable with what I have. I've always felt comfortable walking away from things I have too.ReplyDelete
Third-party cookies do not make me happy.ReplyDelete
But I am happy. Happy enough to not be provoked to anger by those who depend on sales of various unnecessary crap.
Anyway, thanks for the refreshing blog, Mr. Wright.
- The Taxciter
People have lost perspective. You've hit the nail on the head why. And yet I think the XY guy has noting else in his life to give it meaning, so clings so desperately to that there is nothing else.ReplyDelete
At least that's what I've experienced, the people who need something to cling to so that they are enough, that their life has value. That is also a matter of perspective . . . .
I have enough. And am in fear that one day I’ll have nothing.ReplyDelete
Warren also said "Enjoy Every Sandwich" - a deep and meaningful life philosophy, for sure, and one not espoused by many, sad to say. It can mean so many different things.ReplyDelete
I'd coach U-10 girls softball. I coached for a year and did a pretty shitty job of it. I had a great group of girls. They wanted to learn the game. They wanted to be at practice. They wanted to have fun. For the most part they did. But I could have made it better for them. If I get to retire, I will make it better for them. And the kids at the bowling alley. I'm gonna try and give them my A game because the coaches at the bowling alley have given my daughter their A game and that just might be what gets her a scholarship into college.ReplyDelete
So the lowest I can do is give a random kid the chance.
This is a silly question, but did you stop and try the tacos? If so, were they really good or just not shitty? If not, hope you do sometime! :)ReplyDelete
I'm one of the people who has enough and overall I'm happy about that because I have lived in places where I saw people who didn't have enough almost every day and I wouldn't trade places wirh them because that sucks. But I'm mad about the people who have way more than they will ever need but still want to take what I have away to give to other people who have more than they can ever use or need. I am retired from the railroad abd get a decent pension through the Railroad retirement system. I get Medicare but of course I still have to purchase a Part D drug plan and pay a few hindred a month for hospitalization. Yet the GOP in Congress want to take my lesion and healthcare away to cut the budget THEY bloated in the first place and give another unneeded tax cut to the oligarchs and corporate hog trough feeders. So yes. I have enough and would just like to live my life and let others live thiers and enjoy the time I have left. But it is hard to be happy abd enjoy things when you feel you have to watch your back because a bunch of greedy power hungry theocracy pushing people in gov't at most levels want to take away things until you DON'T have enough.ReplyDelete
Excellent article, thank you for your hard work!ReplyDelete
When much younger I thought that $$ was important. Worked for a national electronics chain and was really pumped up about how much I could make, and I did pretty good and thought I was happy. Until the original President and CEO who was infact a really decent guy died and his "good friends" took over. Then I was really UNHAPPY, so I did the "Who, What, When, Where, and Why" self assessment, went to school, learned a truly productive skill, have made a reasonable living (not rich by any measure) but have been immensely happier. Now that I'm retired and even though on a limited income I can still hold out enough to help with the homeless, the hungry, the animals, the immigrants, the Vets, the sick and helpless. And THAT makes me happy. I have enough and I DON'T need MORE.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Jim, for being on point, as usual!ReplyDelete
Great essay, Chief. Sadly, there is enough anger, hatred, and bigotry to ruin any concept of "enough" for most people.ReplyDelete
As a Hoosier, I feel I must apologize for our state. It’s Republican supermajority state gov (plotted out in the 1990s) and ignorance makes us the Mississippi of the North 😢ReplyDelete
I don’t know, I’m some ways I feel my family has enough, enough money for some creature comforts; we don’t have to eat everything generic and canned from the cheapest grocery store ( like I had to as a kid) , but also worse in some ways. We have to have both adults work, we have a house (due to family assistance of a sort) but making any improvements, even needed ones, is a major pain. One of us works a “Union” job but the representation is so constrained it’s basically worthless. We have family help and an unexpected financial gain, but we still feel so behind. It’s a similar situation for another small family we know. They get some family help but are still far behind on affording the basics like plentiful food and health care coverage. Not to mention many others we know, who are in a worse position with no family assistance at all. It was an eye opener to find out a lot of my peers, starting around 2013-2015, had to work 2 jobs to survive even as single people renting apartments or houses with multiple roommates. The only people making the “American Dream” are white privileged people who had parents who made enough in a union job or commuting to a big city office job and give their kids a full boost into having nice careers or new houses in subdivisions.
Great post. There is a multi-billion industry bent on keeping people enraged and eroding civility. I hope many people read the essay and really pay attention. However, have you considered that you may be put on notice by Scalzi on account of the expression "shitty tacos". Who is to decide what a shitty taco is??ReplyDelete
This right here makes me rich in many ways. Comprehending your written prose, more than you can imagine. Our lives are full of “if I only had”… more money, a nicer house, bigger car, better career, more time with family, better neighborhood. All the material things don’t make us better, just makes us yearn for more. I am now entering my early 60’s and I have found I yearn for simple, family, love, companionship, less stress and more time for grandchildren. Growing in years has put me in a better place. Thanks for the reminder!ReplyDelete
Every day, (well, most days) I wake up and have to pinch myself at my good fortune having been born in the USA. Life has been good to me here. I’ve come across extraordinary people in my 62 years, people who give back. It’s contagious. The people is what makes the country so great.ReplyDelete
Once again, a most excellent essay. I've been following you since you lived in Alaska, have purchased some of your shop items, and also miss the "You are my God" button.ReplyDelete
In reading this essay the thing that makes me sad is remembering when my husband and I drove from Michigan to Cape Cod to get married. This was a week after 9/11/2001 and what we saw EVERYWHERE were American flags. On overpasses, on the sides of highways, buildings, cars, just absolutely everywhere. And we've replaced those with hate signs? That makes me sad. But I too have enough.
My dad (who survived the Holocaust as a partisan in the mountains) would tell me “You have nothing to complain about. You have plenty of food, a warm place to sleep, and nobody is shooting at you.”ReplyDelete
Folks who whine that wearing masks or other people’s having equal rights is Oppression are showing that they’ve been lucky enough to not know what real oppression is.
I am quite content. I await the arrival of my first grandchild. As a former Michigander, back living in Canada where I belong, I have enough, and have had enough, "beneath the vast indifference of heaven."ReplyDelete
Yes, I am 76, wife is 79. We live in a red state among Mormons but none of that really affects us. They are nice people and I avoid talking politics or religion. This is my first year without income from a job. Our Social Security, depressed house prices and reasonable cost of living allow us to live comfortably and safely. A personal low interest loan from a good friend allows me to afford a simple home in the country. The social media keeps me pretty upset at how our country is being destroyed by the ignorant and selfish people but it doesn’t impact anything but my blood pressure (yet). And it’s my choice to participate in social media. There are solutions to our country’s problems but there is a lack of really good leadership to bring the people together and figure it out.ReplyDelete
Maybe my age is partly responsible for feeling that I have enough. In any case, thanks for the thoughtful treatise. I enjoy your rants and raves mainly because I feel the same way and you have the guts to say it out loud.
A good one, Jim. Thanks for that.ReplyDelete
I am blessed to have "enough". I don't, and won't, go hungry. I don't have a great deal of extra money to help my grown kids. But I have stocked freezers and a pantry and they'll never go hungry. I have a decent union job that doesn't make me want to gouge my eyes out. I have days I don't feel like being there, but no days when my sentiment is "I hate my job!" I have a small mortgage, no car payments and in 20 years, there will be pensions for me and my husband both. Sure, there are things I want. But if life never gets better than it is right now, it will be enough.ReplyDelete
Great insight, as usual. I have thought about what would make me happy- and what it would take for others I've seen to be happy/content/whatever.ReplyDelete
I'm most of the way. Short a couple of things. I'd like to be able to get the house insured. Challenging in FL. When I retire, I'd like to take a couple of cheaper international trips a year. I'd like to teach at the local community college. Those seem doable.
A stretch goal is some small place in Maine to spend summers. If our son decides to keep our house in FL and lets us keep dibs on the mother-in-law suite, it could work.
But without deciding on it, what it takes and what we want, we'd never get there.
But then there is the part where injustice infuriates me and I don't know how content I could be without continuing trying to make the world a little bit of a better place. Probably why the teaching idea. But there's other ways.
Like every one else, thanks good oneReplyDelete
I do have enough. And I am happy with enough. Thanks for reminding me.ReplyDelete
“I got plenty and then some, what do I do? I go out and help somebody get plenty and then some, too.” Help Somebody, by Susan Werner https://youtu.be/2Jy5R-3sDA4?t=18ReplyDelete
"Life's too short for shitty tacos.ReplyDelete
And shitty people."
When is the bumper sticker going to be available? Once I have that, I'll have enough.
-Paul Cooper, former QM3(SS)
Wasn't the US founded by people filled with hate and fear? Hate for the monarchy(s), hate for not-my religion, fear of both? Sure, call it looking-for-a-better-life if you want but that's just the first of the lies and propaganda told on this rock.ReplyDelete
Well said. “Too much is not enough” thinking destroys perspective and undermines gratitude.ReplyDelete
Signed, has a lot, much of it given to me by friends, whose example I emulate.
I have a shop full of power tools that arrived as people knew I’d use them; some were people I’d helped, others were given by people possessed of simple generosity, others were memorials to people who had passed bc I’d keep the tool and the work alive. The material stack is the same; a lot of it comes from locals who took down a tree or a shed or remodeled an old house and don’t want the material to go to waste,
I pass stuff along in the same spirit - tools and homemade objects - thankful and grateful for what I have. Objects potlatching their way into the future might be what saves us and helps knit our communities together.
I have food. Clean water comes out when I turn on the tap. A warm place to sleep. And an older car that still gets me around. I have enough.ReplyDelete
We live half the year in Mexico and we're surrounded by people who think they have enough. Our neighbor across the street lives in a shack - no actual walls. Next door to them is a 2 story new house with a pool being built. There are many versions of "enough" here. No zoning so it is full spectrum. We put our cans out on the curb for people to collect and recycle for money. We volunteer and donate. We do the same in the US. We don't own a home, have a 10 year old car, currently live on savings, a small pension, and my SS. I love this simple life and we'll return to the states to unburden ourselves of most of the possessions we haven't gotten to yet. Not sure yet where we'll end up or if we'll return to the US any time soon. If we do, it'll be a blue state, not TX, where I'm surrounded by those who are as you described. I would request that you reduce this essay to one that will fit into FB page so it can be shared. Muchos Gracias and bienvenido de nuevo!ReplyDelete
So very on point, Jim. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
Thank you for this.ReplyDelete
Thank you. You are right. I have a roof over my head, food in my mouth, and people who love me. It's enough, and I am happy.ReplyDelete
I have enough. I can feed my family, support my adult kids who are barely sqeaking by, and even consider retiring in another 5-10 years. What I don't have enough for is enough to help my hurting friends. Each month I have to sort through who gets a boost to their GoFundMe or such.ReplyDelete
This addresses exactly the question I've been asking for ages. I can't even fathom the levels of wealth that some people consider to be not enough. It's obscene. How many houses, cars, businesse , etc. does anyone need? I wonder if any of these people grew up in real want. And the self-awareness of the ultra-moneyed is virtually nil. To them greed is a good thing and the hell with anyone else. David Letterman used to always ask why businesses ALWAYS have to have a record profit boost every year? What's wrong with doing a bit better than last year? It's all about return for the stockholders, damn the actual customers. The utilities have their hands out every year, taxes keep going up and they expect regular people to survive to make their stockholders & CEO richer?? I'm planning to retire this year but nowadays you can't just retire. You have to work part-time to keep up with this bullshit. I don't need to be rich but I would like to be able to pay my bills, go to the doctor or dentist, feed my pets & myself and not have to worry about living out of my car, FFS. Meanwhile, these money-mongers acquire cash that they couldn't spend if they lived 10 lifetimes. It's just beyond insane.ReplyDelete
Thanks Jim. It's been awhile since I've seen something written by you. I've been following your amazing photography. It's nice to be reminded what is like to read something posted by an intelligent human being. I live on Social Security with a very small pension, in a wonderful and affordable rental in a small diverse economic, ethnic and generational community. I don't have to worry about food or clothing on my back, and I have family and friends that I love dearly, live locally. Those that don't are easily accessed via the internet. I am grateful every day for all the riches I have. As an over 80 woman, who came through really pretty stressful years financially and emotionally as a single parent of 3 children. We made it through those difficult times, as so many others have, and with careful spending and prioritizing the important things in life, the last 15 or so years have truly been the best years of my life. I know some people my age who are so very angry and do nothing but complain. It's a pretty lousy way to spend your last years.ReplyDelete
I have enough, mostly. There are weeks we have to scrape a little to manage gas. But I drive a newish car, live in my own house and the utilities are paid.ReplyDelete
What do I do? I make beautiful things. Shawls and vests, hats and necklaces. I perform drag. I write books. I am active in my coven. Chemically speaking, I cannot be happy, so I strive for contentment and the knowledge that I am making the world better,
And all these things bring me a little more money over the "enough" because I have dreams I am pursuing.
Is that these people's problem? A lack of dreams and goals so that they have to worry about what's in my pin-striped trousers?
Oddly, the theme of this essay is also the theme of my sermon for this Sunday, on "Give us this day our daily bread" and referencing the manna and the quail from Exodus.ReplyDelete
As a high school senior, a group of us were interviewed by a local radio station. The interviewer asked what I wanted to do with my life. I answered, "I guess I'd like to be happy." My peers shrugged and laughed. Teachers and families were bemused. I thought then and now, that happiness is not a frivolous concept. Happiness doesn't come from indulgence or domination. True happiness comes with making the effort to treat others as you wish to be treated. True happiness is maintained by realizing when you have enough and staying grateful for your blessings. Thank you for putting that simple philosophy into such a poetic post!ReplyDelete
A spark of hope. A few million more like you would be most welcome.Delete
Well chief, as long as the coffee ain't shitty. Okay, too shitty. For all the rest, notch filters. Back in the SSES we never had enough notch filters to attenuate our own god damn noise. I have enough. Thanks for the reminder.ReplyDelete
!?!?! You've been on podcasts and never thought to mention that here??? GIMME!!! Also, that roadsign about tacos -- quick google just looped back to this post. Next time you see it, a pic, please?ReplyDelete
Two fun signs I've seen: Plumbing fixtures store had big neon sign "Don't get mad, get Madsen!" -- but the "sen" had burnt out. I kinda agree with that new, unintended sentiment -- don't waste energy on something only worth getting a little mad over.
Other sign was more of a war between Delaware and Pennsylvania. Some idiot(s?) in PA decided that the greeting sign on the PA side of the border should read "Welcome to Pennsylvania. America starts here!" Delaware, properly irked by that diss, responded with "Welcome to Delaware, land of tax-free shopping!"
Yup! I have had enough. Enough of listening to people telling me who to hate and how they are going to stop those they hate. I don't know what the solution is? I don't have a microphone or megaphone. I don't tweet. I like to post snarky memes, but that's about it. But I've had enough. I guess, IMHO, what I do not see is enough love. There are too many people who refuse to love. Just hate. And they get all the oxygen in the room.ReplyDelete
SO well done. I have been asking how much is enough for years. You eloquently expressed my intent nd experience. Thank You.ReplyDelete