I am among the luckiest of people, having been born to a mother who might have gotten together for a one-night stand or might have actually cared about the man who helped create me. Because I was adopted at the ripe old age of three days, and I never knew my biological parents, I don’t know the circumstances. But I do know I got a life to live and great genetics. And even better, I was adopted by two really nice people, both of whom adored me (and my younger brother, their only biological child).
But the best part of this was my dad’s attitude, which I now label “We have enough of what we need.” It surrounded me all through my childhood, even though I don’t think he ever actually uttered those words. But he showed us by example how much he loved living the life we all shared, how deeply content he was with what we had.
My family really did have enough. Not too much. Not too little. But enough. We had each other. We lived in a nice enough town. We had our own home. We had heat in the winter and fans for cooling in the summer.
We had a small garden in the back — my dad’s — and we had a small screened-in porch that he helped build. He wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty with honest labor, even though he had a college degree.
We had enough food, enough to wear, and enough money to pay for heat and necessities like that. As far as I know, we were happy. I know absolutely that HE was happy. He showed it every day in myriad ways.
Do you know what an incredible gift it is to have that knowledge, that attitude, that certainty? Do you know how grateful I am to know that I have everything I need and most of what I could ever want?
It really hits home at this time of year, when all the messages we hear and see are
BUY! BUY! BUY MORE! BUY MORE AND MORE! BUY BIGGER AND BIGGER!!!!!
After living in a larger home (with a husband and two kids) I now live in a 525 s.f. cottage — by choice — which is on a small bay in Massachusetts. It was cheap to buy, not so cheap to renovate, and it gives me great joy. It’s about the size of a two-car garage (22’x24′); the entire house might fit into someone’s master bedroom here in America. But with high ceilings and loads of windows, it feels huge!
I look out the windows of the sun porch, and I see the bay. It changes constantly, and that brings me joy. The sunsets are glorious! And I am happy.
I’ve never needed to shop for things to validate my life and self-worth. Yes, I like nice things. Who doesn’t? But I don’t need dozens of the same item to make me happy (except socks — don’t ask) — I’m a retailer’s worst nightmare.
I mean, really: How many sweatshirts / shirts / jackets / pairs of shoes does one human NEED? The answer will be different for everyone, but for me, the number is very low. Except for those socks.
I am surrounded here by love, by comfort, by memories. The items that made the journey to this small cottage have real meaning for me. They give me comfort; they are what I value. Some things are from my childhood home; others are more recently purchased. But each is visible and has a story. They are enough. Actually, they’re more than enough.
I will be forever grateful to my dad who showed me so clearly that being able to find joy in what you have and knowing that you have enough are the most wonderful gifts of all.
I wish for you — my readers, my connections, my friends — the same all year round.
Originally published at medium.com