I have a theory that one of the secrets to happiness is precisely defining our "enoughs". We can so quickly and easily get wrapped up in thinking that we need -- or more accurately, want -- more, that it is hard to stop ourselves long enough to ask, what is "enough"?
It can apply to every area of our life. And if we neglect to define our "enoughs", then sometimes, maybe very often in fact, the resulting vagueness can shoot our happiness in the foot.
My husband and I are both pretty good at defining our "enoughs" and also at adjusting them when our circumstances change. We have a fairly good idea of what our "enough" is for housing, transportation, clothing, etc. and over the years, we keep trimming our requirements.
So it caught us both by surprise today, when no matter what I proposed, none of it seemed "enough" to celebrate my husband's birthday. We found a lovely restaurant that offers a FREE prime rib dinner on a certain day each month, for all the people who had their birthday that month. How fabulous! We made reservations, and surely, that would be "enough", right?
Well, no, it was not. So, we found another restaurant that offered a FREE steak dinner for birthdays, but we can't make it there until later this week. Surely, that would be "enough", right?
Well, no, it was not. Neither was all the presents, the shirts, the jeans, the barbeque. No, it was not "enough"!
Exasperated by my always loving and thoughtful husband, who actually makes an outstanding habit of being satisfied with life, I insisted that he define for me what he really wants for his birthday. Is it a card, a cake, a big party? Is it a gift I hadn't thought of? A restaurant he hadn't mentioned?
When it came right down to it, he suddenly realized that he had not defined his "enough" for this birthday, and because of that, everything seemed wrong, nothing seemed to actually satisfy him, and we could have dined out every day, the rest of the year, to celebrate his birthday or bought him a Rolls Royce, but it would have never reached the measure of "enough"!
Then it came to him, in an AHA moment. He actually wanted to have dinner at a little deli, fairly close to home, that has a special carrot cake that he loves. On his birthday day, not any other day, which is nice, but just doesn't have the same zing for him.
For him, that piece of carrot cake would spell BIRTHDAY in capital letters to him. He didn't need prime rib or steak, or shirts, or jeans, or even cards or songs or parties, not even candles on the piece of cake. Not even ice cream, which I would lobby for!
All in all, he is a very cheap date for his birthday. And I have spent a lot of money trying uselessly to make him happy with this birthday. But I think it serves as a reminder to me, and to us all, that it is worthwhile to ask ourselves, not only whether we have what we want, but whether it is "enough"?
When we realize that yes, we do have, or could easily acquire, our "enough" -- or "enough" for those we care about -- is when the door finally cracks open to our house of happiness. And our "enough" may not be anywhere near as extravagant or costly or time consuming as we think it may be!
Do we have "enough" health to be able to make it through this day?
Do we have "enough" food to eat this day?
Smile right now, if you have ENOUGH of the basic essentials to make it through this day, and you will be smiling, right along with me.