Do I Have a Category for Enough?
“Today, there is no category for enough.” ~ Tom Albin, Dean of the Upper Room
I have been thinking about that. Yes, in our culture, it seems that more is always better. There’s always room for one more, something more. Don’t settle for less. You can have it all.
What, exactly, is “enough”? How do we know it when we see it, hear it, feel it, consume it? It does seem to be relative, or at least individual. I can’t tell you what your enough is. But for me, what are my categories?…
- falling short, hungry, underdone
- too much, stuffed, over did it
- just right, satisfied, stopping
It’s the last, I guess. The tipping point between food that still tastes delicious and the next bite – the one I eat because it’s there, not because I am hungry for it. Because there is still food on my plate and I don’t want to waste it. Did I know the ‘enough’ category when I served myself all that food?
I wonder if we modify our “enough” category when we over-do. If we desensitize ourselves to what is enough, expanding it a bit more each time, as a self-defense mechanism against the too much. Our physical selves do this. Stomachs expand (physically stretch) to accommodate more and more food negating the stretch-sensors designed to tell us when we are full.
But this sort of compensation is programmed in. Our sensory mechanisms are designed to become accommodated to prolonged sensation. Otherwise we would be bombarded by all the random input coming in from all the way stations. Every strand of hair tugged in the ponytail elastic. Every inch of skin being brushed by our clothing. Every compressed sensor in my butt as I sit in my chair. If I attended to it all, I could not attend to what’s next or even what’s now.
Nope, we are designed to sense “change.” When input changes, we attend to it. When something moves, we see it (even if it was there all along). When something is crawling up our arm, we feel it (even if we didn’t feel it sitting still on us). Even when the sound of happy chatter from children in the next room stops, we notice – because we know sudden silence means trouble.
So how do we sense “enough?” Perhaps that’s why we have no category for it. It almost seems subconscious. Like it’s absence is part of our wiring. To know satisfied when we get to it but only when we get there. If we choose to move beyond it, the moment is gone.
I have a feeling, and this may just be me, but in that moment I need to stop looking around. I have an internal sensor that won’t lie to me. But once I start measuring my enough against everyone else’s enough, I’m not. The should-be’s start in on me. And then the, why stop there when you can…
Today, what if I thought ahead about what would be enough and then stopped when I got there? Then I could be free to start on the next thing. The one I was holding off on until I finished this one. I do seem to be the type who needs to be about doing, but stopping at enough so I can start the next ‘not done yet’ seems right.
Okay, procrastination, I am so finished.
of course, there is the problem of sitting in satisfaction. Especially self-satisfaction.