253: What if you have enough?

253: What if you have enough?

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When I have my morning coffee, I do a lot of thinking about various things. Lately I’ve been thinking about how expensive heavy whipping cream is. And how I really like it in my coffee, but I just can’t bring myself to spend that much on something I don’t actually need.

And I was thinking back to when my husband and I were first married 23 years ago and didn’t have a ton of money and how we stretched everything.

And I was thinking about how it’s so “easy” to do things when we have to, and near impossible to do them when we don’t have to. When it’s what gets you by, you do it. When it takes “discipline” you tend to fall out of habit.

And I was thinking about how so many of us want more when we have enough. And I was thinking about how this is such a human thing, to get sucked into the need for more (money, followers, acreage, more animals, more stuff, etc.) when we have enough.

And that’s a loaded word. Enough. It’s different for everyone. But ask yourself what is enough food on your plate? What is enough money in your bank account? What is enough recognition for the things you do?

And once you have that figured out, ask yourself what do you trade when you want more than your enough?

It’s hard to talk about enough in a prepping community because many people never feel they are prepared enough. They just keep stocking stuff away and until it becomes a competition about who has more or who is more prepared. It’s hard to talk about enough in the side hustle/solopreneur/content creator community because the chase for success and the next dollar can almost turn into a sickness.

I’m absolutely not saying prepping or side hustling or lots of amazing food or a plump bank account is bad.

I’m saying what do you need that you don’t already have right now, and do the things you’ve added to your life fit with where you actually want to be?

Do the things you’ve crammed in to you life fit with where you actually want to end up?

Ask yourself those questions in the dark while you’re alone when no one else can give their two cents, and see what comes back to you. 

I’ve recently asked myself those questions in the dark—and then talked with my husband and some good friends—and then asked myself more questions in the dark. From all of that, I decided last week that it was time to give notice at my job. A couple months ago, I had decided to switch from full time to part time, but that was really just a Band-Aid over what I needed to do. 

So last Thursday, I gave notice to my employers. I have some bigger projects for them I’m going to finish up over the next month or so and then I am back home, full time at the farm, continuing to work on the life and things we’ve built here as well as my books, etc. I will go back to being self employed. Farm employed. Family employed. Life employed. So that is exciting! I feel like I can breathe again.

I gave notice last Thursday and then spent the weekend working in the barn, cleaning it up, apologizing for my absence, making plans, and dreaming a little. 

When I was cleaning the barn, I went through piles of stuff we haven’t looked at in years. You know those piles—the ones made because you don’t have time to deal with the thing in your hand, so you throw it on a pile of similar stuff, and then the pile just grows bigger?

It’s not that the barn was chaos; I knew where my gardening pile was—but I hadn’t gone through it in years. I knew where the horse stuff pile was, but we haven’t had horses since 2015. I knew where the pile of various extra animal feeders was, but also knew there were more feeders strewn around the farm in various places. So I organized and move things to where they should be and got everything back in order.

When I started going through stuff, I realized how much seed starting stuff I have—trays and pots and tools and so much stuff—and yet several years I’ve bought more stuff in the spring to start seeds, when the whole time I’d had enough sitting right out in the barn.

On the surface, this is a reminder that disorganized preps are wasteful preps. But I also think not realizing what you already have is very symbolic of a lot of things in our lives.

Consider that maybe you have enough in a lot of places you’re still trying to fill up or reach for.

And is reaching bad? Not necessarily. It’s good to have goals. It’s good to improve. It’s good to have a plan. But I think there’s something about human beings where we work ourselves into mental and physical exhaustion or despair by thinking the thing we really need is out there, just beyond our reach, we just have to work a little harder or be a little more and then we will have it! We will have enough.

The problem is that we always move the goalpost.

There’s a radio in the barn that hasn’t turned on for about a year and a half. While I was cleaning and organizing, I asked my husband if he could take a look at it. He mounted the radio to a different spot in the barn and moved some speakers around (ta-da, it works!) Then he did one better, hooked up the antenna, and got me the local AM classic country station. Now I get everything from Hank Williams (SR!) to Alabama.

And you guys, I am such a nerd that I almost got teary when that music started playing. It’s like things are getting right in the barn again after an extended period of things being “off”. 

I told my husband that it’s magical he can fix things and make them better. He always responds that I’m silly and easily amused. 

But maybe that’s the key to a happy life — to stop making everything so damn complicated. Maybe we all need to be just a little more easily amused.

Be brave enough to ask yourself two big questions today:

What if you have enough?

What if you are enough?

— Amy Dingmann, 10-24-23


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