The Year of Enough

I love that my birthday comes around Easter time, every year. It gives me a chance to reflect on new life: what is coming alive in me, after another revolution around the sun? I turned 31 on Saturday, and it’s a pretty blah number. After the triumphant horn blast of 30, “I survived my 20’s!!”, 31 just feels like, well, getting older. So, I decided to create a theme for my year, to center myself and change the narrative from “one step closer to the grave” to “what do I want for this new year?”

I decided on: The Year of Enough. Am I talking about the J-lo domestic-violence-revenge movie?  Nope.  So, what the heck does it mean?  First of all, it means feeling like I am enough, just as I am. Stretch marks, wrinkles, grays, all the signs of age, I don’t need to change them or try to turn the clock backward. My body is enough. I am enough in my career, even though it is in flux right now and I often don’t know where I am heading in my work life. It is enough to be raising my small daughter and making the steps I am towards creating a life of meaningful work and financial sustainability. I don’t need to be there yet. I am enough, even when I don’t really know “what” I am anymore. I know who I am, and that is infinitely more important.

The Year of Enough also means finding balance, knowing when I’ve had enough of a particular thing, and putting it down before I go overboard. Recently I got food poisoning for the second time since January, and all because I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was eating, just shoveling everything in as fast as I could, enjoying it plenty but not thinking at all about the effects on my body. It is an embarrassing and irritating habit, as this time it meant I had to miss Easter Sunday!

Finally, the Year of Enough means doing some relational work, identifying when I’ve given too much and need to regroup. It also means letting people in and letting them love me in the ways that they can, letting that be enough as well. Part of what is hard about having a birthday is letting people celebrate you. Everyone has a myriad of feelings about themselves, and it’s hard to allow your birthday just be a great big exclamation point, “I exist!”, when you feel a lot of ellipses… and commas after great big buts, BUT, it is a time to let yourself feel loved, even when it seems like a debt you can never repay. Because you can’t. Proper love is not earned, deserved, or justified — it is unconditional, irrational, and, at times, uncomfortably stretching, like a back-cracking hug.

Some days, I just feel like Ezra Pound:

And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
Not shaking the grass

I think the only way for me to accomplish feeling enough is through my spirituality. After I wrote my blogiversary post, even though it was really positive, all I could see was the things I HAVEN’T accomplished this year. I have thoughts about not being enough about 30 times a day, at least. The only thing that brings me back is the fullness of feeling at one with Spirit, an ever-flowing Love that, though I may feel it ebb at times, never runs out.

I believe that the best way to interact with that Spirit is through meaningful relationships with others, complicated as it may be to try to love another contradictory ball of beauty-mortality-ideas-flesh.  I had two dreams about my father right around my birthday, and in the second one, I found a mass of papers in his old, huge wooden desk, and, scrolled in his looping handwriting was, “The Five Secrets of Life”, only one of which I got the chance to read before the evil nuns (!) found me.  But I think it was enough.  The gem I got was a quote from Yoko Ono (my dad was not an Ono fan, this was my own subconscious’ creation) about interdependence.  I think the connection is that the only way I will gain this feeling of enough is through depending on others and letting them rely on me as well.

My husband Joel and I, leaning on each other at our joint birthday party picnic.

I’m sure the Year of Enough will reveal its lessons to me, and they will be myriad. How about you? What are you saying “enough” to, and what are you coming alive to this year?

5 thoughts on “The Year of Enough

  1. I love what you said about proper love Rhea, I’m holding that in my heart!! I’m going to remind myself that the teacher I am is enough for my students (with my great moments, and my moments of being a “mean” teacher.) I’m so glad you included a picture of you and Joel from your party. When we were singing happy birthday, and I saw you hugging each other, you guys looked so right together!! Here’s to your year of Enough!!!!

  2. I feel like I’ve said “enough” to a lot of fears/insecurities that I’ve carried around forever. Telling myself to quit telling myself that men would simply know better than me about tools and fixing things, and that I should give myself the chance to learn, taught me that I could actually be a handywoman. I try to stop myself now whenever I have that knee-jerk “I can’t do this” response to something . . . enough! And I’ve made strides with knowing that my job right now, rather than inner-city-teacher-crusader, is Enough, and very important and valuable. You’ve helped me with that so much, and I’m now coming alive to embracing and enjoying the work that I do in a more world-facing sense.

  3. Well said, well said! I love to hear stories of re-writing cultural narratives. May you find that you are enough, enough to love and be loved.

  4. I love this whole post… and what a gift to dream about your dad. It’s 7am and my brain isn’t thinking enough to answer your question, but I still love this post, and you!

  5. Pingback: Oh, Yoko! « thirty threadbare mercies

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