The concept of “enough”
As we often do in the Frugasaurus household, we were sending a couple of house ads back and forth in equal parts amusement and figuring out what we want, and don’t want.
Far over on the joking side of things, Mr. E. sent me an ad for a house where the asking price was 10 million NOK, or well over $1 million. We looked at it, laughed at it, and generally agreed that if we were to spend over $1 million on a home, it would not be for such a luxurious house.
I then sent it to a good friend who has recently bought a home of their own for only a piece of the asking price for this luxury villa.
Se looked at it, as she is wont to do, and then simply replied “that’s all well and good, but it doesn’t give me anything my current house does not already give me.”
So what is “enough”
And how do we cultivate it?
I find that the concept of having enough starts to rise and manifest in line with a growing gratitude for things in general. In my experience, when we are grateful for the things we have, it is easier to stay content with them as well.
I am very grateful for the couch we got for free. It is comfortable, doubles as a guest bed and accommodates some good snuggle positions. Why would I want to exchange that for shelling out hundreds if not thousands of hard earned dollars for a new couch?
No, thank you. I’d much rather that money stay put to accumulate interest or be there if a truly rainy day was to come to pass.
Function over form
When I sent that ad to my friend, I suppose she could’ve played the comparison game and felt sad that the kitchen was much larger, the porch was tiled and walled in, there was lots of ceiling lights, open spaces and large, luxurious bathrooms.
If we were playing the comparison game, which the majority of society seems to be engaged in, I suppose she should’ve felt sad and unaccomplished for only having quite an ordinary house.
Instead, she looked at the pictures and went “It has a kitchen, I have a kitchen. It has a porch, I have a porch. It has a bathroom, I have a bathroom. All of these are functional and satisfies my needs.”. One of the two might have more of a polished catalogue look, but as long as the kitchen serves you and has no leaky pipes or faulty appliances, why change it?
In short, when you appreciate something for its function rather than how well it matches the rest of your interior (whatever “it” is), you will spend your time better, and cultivate that sense of gratitude and enough at the same time.
I really started cultivating and appreciating that feeling of enough towards the end of my student life. This baffled and exasperated some of my relatives, being constantly fed with the “starving student” narrative as they were by pretty much any media outlet with fair regularity.
And there I was, daring to say I couldn’t really think of anything I wanted for the holidays??
It can take some time to get used to this notion. Both for yourself, if you’ve not practised it before, but also for those around you. In many ways, it is a personal little paradigm shift. Where you go from constantly reaching for that next thing, to looking around you and realising that what you have is not so bad, after all.
Does this attitude ever come back to bite you?
Yes, I suppose I’d have to admit that it might have done so, once or twice. My current refusal to buy new trousers due to weight loss is one, I suppose. Sewing in trousers is quite an ordeal, and I don’t like looking for clothes, even in thrift shops. So I end up just cinching the belt up instead. It’s a good thing I favour loose garments in general.
Or I might get so used to working around and with whatever kitchen equipment we currently have, that I sometimes forget to optimise.
Perhaps it would be worth it to look for a larger pot for all those soups, stews and summer canning? Perhaps it really would be nice with a standing freezer in the pantry, to give us more space.
I find this balance can sometimes be difficult to find, as I just grow content with what I have most of the time. Good thing I have Mr. E. to give me the occasional nudge in the right direction.
Does the feeling of “enough” come naturally to you?
If it does, you are lucky in many ways. But if not, do not despair! Like most things in life, it is a skill that can be practised and which gets stronger with time.
Do you have any good tips and tricks for cultivating that feeling of having enough in your life and growing contentment and gratitude? Please let us know in the comments below!