What defines enough for you?
My ‘enough’ is not what it once was — probably a package of lower expectations than many of my contemporaries in North America or Europe — because the developed world is driven by a ‘things’ economy, with values and valuables intertwined perversely, and I would submit an ‘unhealthy’ way …
The rest of the world, the third world, this heavily populated world, the horribly poor and disadvantaged third world, would find my ‘enough’ to be unfathomable excess.
What brought this into sharp relief for me the other day was a conversation with a clerk in a convenience store — a place I pop into often on my Sunday morning walking route. I’ve always seen this very polite and efficient convenience store/gas bar guy as ‘what we want from that kind of person’ — courtesy, proficiency, hustle when busy with a lineup, friendly/cheerful, and unflappable with disagreeable people. I was the only customer in the store and not in a hurry, so I chatted with him for a while. I expected he was a part-time student, working his way through school. He had dropped out of school, was now past 30, unmarried/no children, has a job, a car, and zero debt. He’s very proud of being debt free, and I applauded him for that.
What is enough for him?
I would like to hope an appetite for a better life, a better job, a better education — and all the lovely things those unlock would be on his mind. Curiously though, they don’t seem to be. I didn’t have to journey around the world to see that, for many people, ‘less is enough.’ I found it within two blocks of my home. I’ll expect I’ll chat with him again because I see him nearly every Sunday. I don’t know if I can be of any help to him in life, but so far, he’s given me a lot more than a receipt for my purchase and my change.
This begs the question, how many nameless people in our routine lives do we never stop to chat with, get to know them, and appreciate their lives?
We get so wrapped up and busy with our own that we miss so many of those opportunities. We probably miss them with our neighbours, colleagues, and staff — because everything is focused on our lives and needs — which never seems enough.
Yet it is, almost always, more than we need.