Day 507: What is Enough?

Do we ever feel like we get enough

  • appreciation,
  • freedom,
  • security,
  • improvements,
  • vitamins,
  • belief in our self-worth,
  • order,
  • spontaneity,
  • support,
  • entertainment,
  • recognition,
  • good weather,
  • reassurance,
  • time,
  • exercise,
  • fairness,
  • sweets,
  • control,
  • lists,
  • validation,
  • whatever it is we hope for,
  • help,
  • speed,
  • rest,
  • respect,
  • excitement,
  • time with others,
  • time to ourselves,
  • satisfaction,
  • justice,
  • love, or (these days)


  •  coconut products?

Speaking for myself, when a need of mine gets met — whatever it is —  I, very quickly, can be wishing for more.  Which makes me wonder:

What is enough?

I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that question.

My son has pointed out that I can get cranky when somebody asks me a question I can’t answer.  I sometimes respond:

I have NO idea

with an annoyed tone and expression.

I wonder why not knowing the answer to a question bothers me? I certainly don’t expect other people to know everything.  Indeed, I like to pose questions I don’t expect other people to easily answer, like

What is enough?

because I believe that’s helpful.

Maybe my negative reaction to not knowing the answer to a question means that I can’t get enough … what?  Credibility? Trust in my ability to know enough?

I can’t figure this all out, this morning.

Before I end this post, I’m wondering if I’ve given my readers enough. Specifically, I wonder if I’ve shown you enough visuals, for some previous posts.

Just in case you need more, here are some photos I took yesterday:


for the dozens of posts I’ve written during springtime (although I don’t think there’s enough focus in that photo);



for all the posts I’ve written about signs;




for yesterday’s post, Random thoughts about art;



for Day 493: Dogged Determinationand, finally, these two photos:



for all my particularly silly and/or sweet posts.

I hope that’s enough.  Even if it’s not, I need to stop now.

Thanks to (for the coconut water image), to all those with needs, to people who don’t have all the answers, and to you — of course! — for reading today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 41 Comments

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41 thoughts on “Day 507: What is Enough?

  1. Lol 🙂 Witty post and a great question! Hmmmm… not enough for about 80% of your list haha

  2. You know, I’m a pretty content person, right now I can’t think of anything that I don’t get enough of… ❤
    Diana xo

    • I am very glad to read this, Diana. Now I know this reply — even if I don’t include a emoji (if that’s what that heart is) — will be enough for you. xo

  3. i have enough because I’ve learned I don’t have to desire more! and having to answer “I don’t know” doesn’t bother me, but I usually follow it up with “But I can find out”, or “let’s research that together”. Those were big learning tools for me! “I don’t know” isn’t near as scary as it used to be!

    • Yay, Kate! I would like to celebrate your wisdom this morning, but I’m not sure if I have enough time.

      Wait! I have all the time I need (as long as I don’t desire more).

      Thanks for all of this.

  4. I think “enough” is hard for us. Part of it I think it is a good thing, because it does drive us forward to try and understand the world and make life better, but it can also have negative ramifications in other areas and of course can go too far. Balance is a lifelong struggle for most people.

    If I were to guess where such things might stem from I imagine we would have to go back to our evolutionary routes. For much of our evolution we were in the wild. Droughts and other natural disasters happened, and daily survival was a struggle in which most days we were fortunate to have just enough of anything. Civilization is not a goal of evolution and on the evolutionary (genetic) timescale has only been around for a short time and so we still have this drive for more because somewhere in our brain is this idea that we need to acquire more of everything in case it is in short supply. If you’ve known anybody who has suffered through the great depression you know how much worse those people often in terms of things like hoarding and saving every resource in case it becomes no longer available. So several hundred thousand years of surviving in the wild I think leads us to behaviors that leave us never completely satisfied and for most of our evolution that was a good way to be. But now, we find many people who live to excess, and usually to their own detriment or societies detriment.

    • …society’s detriment. Caught that mistake too late! I’m sure there are many others! lol

      • I think there is a wonderful balance between wisdom and (im)perfection in all your comments. I cannot thank you enough!

  5. I think for most people, the only time enough is enough is when they experience something negative as a result.

  6. People who don’t have all the answers are a lot more fun to be around than people who think they do, I’ve noticed. Have a great one, Ann.

    • I’ve noticed that too, T.D. I shall try to remember that the next time I am thinking I don’t know enough. Thanks for this satisfying comment.

  7. Hopefully, you’ll get enough likes for this post because we can’t get enough of your wonderful musings and beautiful pictures.

  8. It’s true – we are always wondering if our efforts are adequate. Always measuring. Your blog is a gift to your readers – you are doing more than enough!

  9. I felt very content today until I read your bullet point list of things that I might wonder if I get enough of, Ann.

    I fare pretty well, but the sheer weight of consideration was unsettling. And I have been very neglectful in providing myself with coconut products.

    I feel better, though, knowing that somebody else gets a tad sharp in tone when asked a question for which they don’t know the answer. I find myself switching between ‘I should know that!’ and ‘Why should I know that?’ In either case, here comes the tone.

    Thank you for the photos. What is a Fenway Tan?

    • I’m very glad for all the parts of this comment, Mark, especially your last question, since I was wondering the same thing. And even though neither you nor I know the answer to “What is a Fenway tan?” perhaps we can make something up.

      I’m envisioning a Fenway Tan as a face that has untanned streaks under the eyes and untanned socks on the feet. Do you have another answer, or are you going to take a tone?

      I hope this reply is enough, considering the depth of the comment.

      • I would take the tone, save the license of imagination you granted us both, Ann. Nice work, there!

        I will ditto your untanned grease marks under the eyes and sock-whites on the ankles and raise with pale cheeks and chin under the thick beards that remain from 2013 and add a fire-red, BoSox-red glow to the rest of the unprotected arms and legs of the burned fan who would not leave the noon game that went into extra innings.

      • That is wonderfully enough, Mark. Thanks!

  10. I am intrigued by the irritation you feel when someone asks you a question and you don’t know the answer. Do you feel irritated when you wonder about something and don’t know the answer? Or only when you can’t help someone who has asked you for an answer?

    Could it be that people ask you for help all day long, and you do help them, and then when someone asks you about something that they could just as easily Google or figure out for themselves, you feel frazzled? Is it possible that it is not only human but perfectly natural to feel frazzled sometimes and that maybe it’s even a good thing to encourage people to answer their own questions? Have you noticed that your question about questions has elicited a string of questions from me? (And not even on purpose!)

    At this point, I feel compelled to ask you about the jar of dehydrated peanut butter that appeared in one of your posts recently. I have been thinking about that peanut butter and thinking about it. It could be such a great metaphor for something, too, if only anyone had ever heard of dessicated peanut butter, or knew where to find it and what it looked like, other than the readers of your blog. I have many questions about this powdered spread that I would like to ask you. Including how they achieve that interesting dried-out effect and what happens to all the oil? But I won’t. Why? Because — Dayenu. (It’s enough.)

    • It has belatedly occurred to me that my string of questions in response to your blogged angst about questions could be seen as mean. I didn’t mean to be mean!

      I think it’s sometimes best to let people find their own answers and I hope you never feel bad about that again.

    • If you had only expressed your intrigue about this post and done nothing more, that would have been sufficient.

      If you had only been empathic about my irritated reactions and done nothing more, that would have been sufficient.

      If you had only written declarative sentences and not posed so many wonderful questions, that would have been sufficient.

      And yet, you did all of these, and more.

      I think I get irritated regarding questions (1) that I think I should know the answer to and (2) that I couldn’t possibly know the answer to, and yet I do feel some sort of obligation to answer. These days, I’m doing pretty well letting go of that initial sense of obligation.

      I will say that I am not irritated, at all, by your questions about the dehydrated peanut butter, probably because I find that product unquestionably, sufficiently imponderable. And because your questions are the opposite of mean. (I just read your second comment.)

  11. Your response made me laugh out loud and then fall silent in awe. You have answers (when they are really needed), you have imponderable questions, AND you have style. I think there is a book in you.

    • I don’t know if there’s a book in me. There’s definitely a blog in me. I wonder if that will be enough? Time will tell.

  12. I don’t think anything is enough– I don’t think “enough” exists. I think we’re programmed to want more and that this isn’t necessarily a BAD thing… it’s what motivates us to continuously strive for more, to build bigger, better, smarter things. But like many morally neutral things (like wine maybe) it can become something much more sinister (like being a drunky wino maybe). I think that the only way to battle “enough” is to take all that effort and energy and switch it over to cultivating appreciation for what already is.

    I’ll start practicing what I preach tomorrow 😉

  13. Since this post is about questions, can I ask a question that is not at all related to your blog? Do you think that a depressed person must also be unhappy? Or, is it possible to be depressed but happy enough?

    • You can always ask a question. And I think any question about feelings IS related to this blog.

      Do I know how to answer your questions? Let me think.

      I think everybody has their own personal experience of depression, unhappiness,and happiness, so that makes a “yes” or “no” answer difficult.

      I will tell you that I have witnessed people with diagnoses of severe depression who still show moments of happiness, including laughter.

      Also, I’m not sure what “happy enough” means to you — or to anybody else. Perhaps, as people have suggested here and elsewhere, we human beings might find it difficult to gauge whether we are enough of anything, including happy.

      These are obviously excellent questions, because they are inspiring new thoughts, including this one:

      Maybe it would be helpful to expand our usual conversations with depressed people, to allow room for them to talk about their personal experience of happiness, along with the sadness.

  14. I have all the time in the world, and it is never enough…

  15. Instead of counting and measuring what is enough for me I compare it what I am doing in return ,is that enough ? Mostly the answer is “No” .It is sort of a reality check about what I am doing for the people around me , what is my contribution to this world ? I think its a good exercise it prevents me from the greed to get more and more …

  16. Definitely, you have given us enough. Your posts gives me something to think about. Thank you.

  17. Pingback: Day 521: Timing | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  18. Pingback: Day 538: Shorter | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  19. Pingback: Day 540: I Spy | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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