How often you do say “enough already”? Mostly, when you’re sick of something, and really don’t want anything more, or anything more to do with it. These past few months I’ve been applying the “enough already” to my life, though with different connotations.
What are our needs, as human beings? Food, shelter, clothing and something of a sense of security go a long way to making our lives happy. Social interaction, music and literature also go a long way to making our lives better. Yet in our culture, we just can’t seem to get “enough”. Our economy, if it isn’t growing, is in recession – if our GDP isn’t constantly on the up, then we’re seen as failing. We need more news, faster, and through all kinds of media. We need bigger houses for all our possessions, multiple cars and swimming pools. This is the measure of success in our culture, not happiness.
I would pose that we need to relearn just what enough is. We’ve got things galore, but do they make us happy? Looking up the word galore, I came across with an interesting little find – galore also means enough. Irish go leor enough, plenty ( Scots Gaelic gu leòr, leòir ). To have enough is plenty.
Some 20th century modcons make our lives much easier – the telephone, for example. We can talk to people and distance is no longer a factor, though money still is – you must be able to afford that phone call (though I would say that even this is a stretch, for I know people with mobile phones who manage to pay their mobile phone bills but not their rent). However, do we really need phones that do everything, with all the latest apps? I have a mobile phone that I have for emergencies, ie. if my car breaks down on a lonely country road, I can call for help. This phone is 10 years old. If people want to reach me, they have my landline. If I’m not home, they can leave a message. It’s not life or death if I can’t be reached 24/7. It rarely is for most people. (I often wonder if this 24/7 reachability gives people a sense of self-importance – and if so, that’s something that saddens me terribly).
I don’t need to wait in line outside a store for hours for the latest IPhone release. Why on earth would I want to do that? I have a life to live, in all honesty, that does not revolve around bowing down to the gods of consumerism. My phone is enough for my needs, which are pretty basic when it comes to phones.
A computer is also a necessity in my line of work. For writing, for my other jobs, I just couldn’t do without one. Social media is also a necessity for me, to share ideas and get feedback, to promote events and subjects that I feel are important, to keep in touch with my family who are thousands of miles away. But I don’t have a Twitter account, or pininterest, or the host of other things that create an online presence – I have what I need in my line of work – a blog, a website, a Youtube account (for my dance company, visual is the most important form of media) and a Facebook account. This already seems like a lot to me, and I don’t want to expand this any further – so much time is already spent on all of these, and there are, after all, other things I need to be doing for my work, like writing and choreographing to say the least!
When is enough plenty? When we can find something to wear that doesn’t take more than a few seconds to think about. When we eat until we are 80% full, knowing that we will feel full in a few minutes. When our grooming habits take less than 20 minutes for a usual day. When we don’t feel the need for the latest “thing”.
A good exercise – take a look around your house, maybe just one room, and note all the things you absolutely need. Write them down. Now make another list of everything that isn’t essential, and then compare the two. A few items, such as a gift from someone that you love and want to display on your mantelpiece, for instance, shouldn’t really count against you. But all the things that you don’t love, that don’t have meaning, that you could just as easily do without – these are the things we need to think about.
Before each purchase, I always ask myself – do I need this? If the answer is no, then I won’t buy it. It’s that simple. I made a vow last year (the second time I’ve done this) to not buy any new clothes for a year. I still have license to buy whatever I would like from charity shops, but even then I always ask myself – do I need this? If the answer is still no, even if it is only £2, then I won’t buy it. I have enough. I have plenty.
Bang on. My wife jokes that if I moved out all my personal belongings would fit in 3 boxes and 4 guitar cases. Not quite true because I would have to have my drawing desks. LOL
BTW – I really don’t get why a cell phone has to be something more than a thing you phone people on.
It’s gone a little bit insane with phones, hasn’t it? Everyone is afraid to be alone…
I am in total accord with this… it is a shame that we are such a tiny minority in the Western World.
Ah well, every penny I do not spend on these things is a vote against them – we may be a minority, but we can still stand strong against the tide! x
This is just so true! Anyone would think we could not survive without all the mod cons. Also, when in social company, it does get a little monotonous listening to the endless lists of what people have rather than just chatting about life in general.
Och – tell me about it. Or the other annoying thing when in social company – people talking endlessly about television shows. I don’t watch much television, and have no idea what they’re on about – I want to hear about their real lives, not the lives of television characters, even “real-life” television shows – just not for me! x
Thanks hun! x
I have a couple of techniques I use to reduce my own senseless consumerism.
Unless it is for repair or replacement (in which case I go out only and specifically to get what I need), I never buy something when I first see it – I always go away for at least a week and think about why I really want to buy it. If it still seems worthwhile after that I may consider it. I also recognise that much of what I would like is designed, in my mind, to make me a different (better?) person. (e.g. That new guitar would make me play better or even that book on the shelf would make me a better druid !!!!!) So I always ask myself if that’s really the case and how my world and life would really be different if I had the new object. Usually I come to my senses and realise that change doesn’t often come from the outside or the things you posses.
My wife, of course, just thinks I’m mean – perhaps she’s right: she often is.
LOL! Brilliant! x
On phones – me and my boyfriend went to a nice restaurant a month or so ago. It was quite a pricey place, and I had been saving up special because I wanted to treat my partner. We didn’t even have to agree that phones were kept in our bags, except to check the time so that we wouldn’t miss our train (none of us wear wrist watches); it was clear that we had gone out to really spend time together and not worry about dishes or dustbunnies. At the next table was a couple about our age, mid-twenties, absentmindedly looking at their phones throughout most of their dinner. You could tell they were just browsing their apps, with the tell-tale swiping their thumbs up and down news feeds. We were both appalled that you would spend money on going out and then barely speak or enjoy each other’s company. I like checking my apps, especially my Goodreads app, but I usually do it while I have breakfast by myself in the morning. I start fuming if my friends are browsing their feeds while we are together – if I wanted an update on my other friends or family, I’d do it when I was at home, or call them, or invite them over, instead of checking up on their lives while in the company of other friends. I just find it rude.
Good exercise about making the lists. I’m something of a hoarder, but not much of a shopper. I hold onto all sorts of things for nostalgic or “it might be useful someday” reasons. Perhaps next weekend I should finally sort out “that room” upstairs…
Thanks for a thought-provoking post!
You’re very welcome! I wholeheartedly agree with you on the phones – if someone I’m with starts ignoring me and checking their phones, I’ll simply leave. Makes a statement about spending real time with real people… x