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The Joy of Having Enough

I was going to call this post The Right Tools. Then I was going to call it The Right Stuff. But really it’s about having the right tools and enough stuff and I just couldn’t come up with a catchy title for that so we’re going with Having Enough. And feeling joyful about it.

Let me explain.

In the photo above there is a random collection of things. Steel wool and oven cleaner to hopefully restore an old cast iron fry pan that belonged to my father-in-law. A pack of batteries to go in a drawer where there are already several other packages of batteries of various sizes. A container of salon quality shampoo because I’m running low. And a new pair of trimming snips for dividing my dahlia tubers. All of these things were on my kitchen table the other day and none of them are expensive. And yet it struck me, as I looked at them, that my life is . . . comfortable. Abundant, even.

These may seem strange things to evoke that feeling in me but I grew up in a household where things were . . . tight. We weren’t poor and we lived in a nice house, but there were financial struggles. We ran out of oil for the furnace sometimes. The electricity was turned off for non-payment more than once. We had food stamps for a while. My parents owed back property taxes and their names were in the paper. I suppose it says a lot about my childhood that I was even aware of these things happening, but that was the reality of my life and I didn’t know that other kids didn’t have to worry about whether there was enough money.

Things were replaced when they had to be and not in advance. Shampoo was cheap and we all used the same kind. Cleaning supplies were store brand and served multiple purposes. We never had extra batteries and they were generally considered an extravagance. And a specialty garden tool would have been unheard of.

And yet here I am with all of those things and they came at no hardship. I never want to take that for granted. I always want to remember that what’s a given for some is a privilege for others. And the simplicity of it all can bring you joy.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Bravo and well said, Carole. It is a gift to be able to have what we need when we need it. As a child, my family was far from well-off, and I grew up learning to . . . wait . . . for things. My life looks different now, but I try to appreciate what I have. Thanks for the most excellent reminder. XO

  2. This post brought tears to my eyes, Carole. I grew up in a similar fashion… the uncertainty was so stressful. I am glad that you can take moments like this when you can be aware of what *was* and thankful for what *is*. Sending you all the love today, my friend! XOXO

  3. I think the joy of enough is easy to overlook. Advertising does a good job of playing to human nature and convincing us others have more, we need more. I grew up with just enough, sometimes barely enough. How far my life has changed when we cleaned out in our move before our remodel last year. I’ve been trying to remember that when I think about buying anything that won’t get used up within a month.

  4. I’m lucky enough to have enough and it is something I’m thankful for. Not having enough is awful and uncomfortable, and having too much is also not good in its own way. Enough is comfortable and just right and something to be grateful for.

  5. By the time my parents adopted me, they had enough. But I know that I was fortunate, my brothers certainly did not receive the abundance that was lavished upon the ‘baby’ of the family. I think it is definitely easy to lose sight of the fact that everyone has their struggles, and that others don’t always have more (sometimes they don’t even have enough), and we don’t need to keep up with them if they do. I love your eclectic grouping of items, and I love that they represent the Joy of Enough for you.

  6. What a beautiful post Carole. I am fortunate to have enough as well. It’s good to take pause and appreciate it.

  7. It is easy to forget I have enough and to appreciate it. I remember window shopping only and wishing as a kid. I have hoarder tendencies now. Saving, for my bank account, is good though. I struggle w paying someone what they’re worth and looking ‘for free’ or the best deal. I’m glad I’m satisfied for the most part rather than comparing! I was horrible that way as a kid, esp at Christmas! The ‘I wants’ reared its ugly head! Now, I sometimes feel guilty being comfortable.

  8. Amen!!

    This triggered a funny (now) memory! We definitely went through a “poor” period when my parents divorced, my dad wasn’t contributing support as he should have (in multiple ways and for years & years), and my mom was trying to raise 5 kids while also getting her nursing degree. We had food stamps, made powdered milk as a rule & also collected “commodities” — the food with the black & white labels that just said CHEESE, HAM, PEAS, PASTA, or whatever. Anyway, the memory is that I was once tasked with making a PASTA salad with HAM (I’m sure I also used PEAS). I was probably 12 and new in the role of “cook,” and I used the ENTIRE HAM in that salad. Oh boy, my mum was not happy! haha.

  9. Such a good post Carole and a very good reminder. Having enough is a wonderful feeling. Not having enough can hurt. I also think having too much can hurt (in different ways). I love that you are going to use one of your FIL’s cast iron pans!

  10. This is such a wonderful post, Carole. It’s good for all of us to be aware of our privilege, if we have it, and to be thankful for what we have.

  11. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Last month I had a “state of the union” meeting with my financial advisor team to discuss my retirement and long-range goals. They at one point mentioned that I live “frugally.” That threw me for a loop because I don’t think I live particularly frugally. I use expensive shampoo, I buy organic produce, and I use good quality materials for my craft projects. But on the other hand, I live in my paid-off condo that I bought in 1994 and drive a car I bought in 2011. So it is all relative, I guess!

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