On New Year’s Eve I was a little freaked out because I wasn’t ready yet for 2017. I didn’t have my latest strategy for becoming a better person in place — that is, I hadn’t set my resolutions, therefore, I hadn’t created the schedule for making those resolutions happen. I hadn’t sketched out my new semester schedule. I hadn’t figured out what books I should be reading to self-help my leaf-turning process. Basically, I was only prepared to move into 2017 in much the same way that I was living the end of 2016. This upset me; however, I did have this one little thing in place: I had picked out my word for 2017! Enough.
For the past two years (Levi turns two tomorrow!), I have ended nearly every day surveying my house, my efforts, my work, and uttering the phrase “it’s never enough. No matter how hard I work, no matter how much I accomplish, it’s never enough.” I would look around at my environment with a scowl. I was never satisfied. I uttered this statement to Dawn almost daily in Levi’s first year of life. I would come out in nearly a whisper because I was so exhausted by the days efforts, but still feeling like I was getting nowhere. I didn’t care about all the damn mothering articles that told me it was “enough” to just sit and cuddle (or play with) my baby all day. I just assumed those women didn’t care as much as I did about striving to have it all. They just didn’t understand my journey, I told myself, and I stubbornly moved forward in my quest. The quest that started this blog.
Toward the end of 2016 I started to give in. I gave in to the fact that I am never going to have “it all.” Or, more accurately, I came to the realization that “it all” is simply a matter of perspective, as opposed to a quantifiable, reached goal. (I’m still not quite sure that I believe this, but I figure if I keep telling myself long enough…). I started to reconsider my nose-turning-up attitude toward all those gurus, writers, and thinkers who were peddling the idea of “imperfection.” I went back to my bookshelf and dusted off my copy of The Gifts of Imperfection, which I had previously stashed way unfinished because I thought “it wasn’t for me.” I thought I didn’t need it. I was on a different journey, aiming for perfection. I didn’t care what anyone else said (including the amazing Brené Brown). I read sections of Present Over Perfect and A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough (from which I attained my word for 2017).
“Enough is enough,” we often say. We say it aggressively, when we are fed up with something. We say it to put an end to something we are bothered by, something that’s a nuisance or driving us up a wall, something that simply should not go on any longer. That is the way that I am saying it to myself: Enough is enough with this negative thought process, this constant dissatisfaction, this endless striving with no end in sight. Enough is enough with it all never being enough. And yet, I will also use it in a more positive and gentle way too. When I sit down at night and look back at the day, I will tell myself, “enough is enough” in a kind way — as in, yes, you’ve done enough. It’s time to hang your hat on this day. It’s time to stop (become a “human being, not a human doing, as my former massage therapist used to always say to me). It’s time to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished today.
And so with this word in place on New Year’s Eve, I was able to try to convince myself that it was enough to only have the word to kick off 2017 with. It is enough even if I don’t have a plan for 2017 all figured out and color-coded in my journal and calendar (yet). It is enough even though I don’t even have my resolutions set. I am enough with or without a plan in place to get a step closer to perfection in 2017.