Thursday, January 16, 2014

when enough is enough

When I was a kid, I really believed that anything could happen. I thought that I could be an astronaut or a lawyer, or marry Prince Harry and have tea with the Queen, or host a talk show like Rosie O'Donnell (hey, these were the days before Ellen and back when Rosie was still super nice). I dreamed of driving a Jeep like Cher in Clueless and living in a house like the Tanners' on Full House. It seems so weird now - the days when I had no idea what I would be when I grew up and anything seemed possible.

As I grew up, those dreams continued. I went to college to get a degree so I could get a "good" job - doing what, I never knew. With the good job would come a dream car (though my tastes changed, naturally) and an amazing house. I had no idea what the future held.

But somewhere along the way, I grew up. I finished college and got a job that wasn't my dream (and later, one I really liked - with a nonprofit). I fell in love with and married a man who lived in a house that was, well, just a house. Having a dream car became less important and having a practical, affordable car took over. I realized that I was never going to be discovered so my talk show dreams would just have to be lived out via social media. And it's all okay. But I've been thinking - when was the moment when everything stopped being possible and enough became enough?

I love the idea of being a dreamer. Yes, I still dream about a better house and maybe a nicer car one day. But I know I'll never own a mansion with more rooms than I can count, unless there's a lottery win in the future. I'm not traveling to outer space and Kanye and I won't ever frequent the same car dealership. And I'm fine with it (but Harry, you can still call me - Andrew would understand, I'm sure). I'm proud of what I've accomplished, what we have, and what I'm able to do.

I am enough and I have enough. Growing up, I lived in a very paycheck-to-paycheck home. Dinner out was the Wendy's Dollar Menu. I grew up living in an apartment in the suburbs of Houston and my parents both drove cars without working ACs in the summer heat. My parents did the best they could, and it wasn't until I was older that I realized how tough it must have been for them. Now, as an adult with my own money, I appreciate not living that way. I love that a $5 Starbucks is a little luxury, not a cause for bouncing a check, and that I can grab a new nail polish at the store without a second thought. It isn't a lot, but for a little girl who never grew up being allowed to grab M&Ms in the checkout line, it's big. It's a sign of achieving a dream I never really knew I had.

I have work that lets me be creative and gives me the attention that my only-childness craves without being in the spotlight, which makes me turn red. I have a husband, who, while not a Prince, is pretty darn great. We have a fun home life that would make almost anyone jealous in the best way - not an "I hate you" way, but in an "I want to have that much fun, too" kind of way. We laugh all the time and we have a lot of the same dreams about making our enough into just a little bit more.

So I guess my point is this: anything might still be possible, but settling for just enough shouldn't feel like settling at all. It's okay to dream, but it's more important to just be content.

All of that, and maybe, one day, I'll go buy myself a Jeep.


23 comments:

  1. LOVE everything about this post! I grew up similar to you, pay check to pay check household. It really does make me appreciate everything that we have today. I used to want to be Cher too! "A ditz with a credit card" and a really cool Jeep! You are right, it is far more important to have a FUN household than a big fancy one!!!

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  2. I need to remember to be content more often. I always am expecting something bigger and better, and like you said, it's okay to dream but we also need to be happy where we are.

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  3. This was such a great post and a great reminder! I spent a lot of college and post-grad life working for "the next step," and now that I'm here, I keep thinking to myself, "What's next?" It's okay to just be content with being where I am because I worked hard to get here!

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  4. Absolutely FANTASTIC post and so well written!! I love this in so many ways. While right now it is very important for me to be "dreaming big" BC otherwise what I want won't ever come to flourish, I am SO WITH YOU on the enough is enough thing!!!

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  5. i love all of this because it's 100% true.

    my dad has always tried to teach us to be happy with what we have; that we have enough and it's ok to be satisfied and content with it.

    in my opinion, when you're always looking for more, you will never be happy!!

    -kathy
    Vodka and Soda

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  6. Love, love, love this post. I grew up with a single Dad and everything was broken in the house and the car. Seeing how hard he work and the struggles he had makes me appreciate what I have and to not want for more than I have right now.

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  7. This post resonates with me a lot because I've had to learn that I am enough. It's very easy to get caught up in Houston with wanting shiny new things and pushing for more. I never had those sorts of feelings in Kansas. Maybe its age that has brought on this wisdom?

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  8. Great post, I too grew up in a pay check to pay check home. My mother was a single parent with two little girls and no child support. We had fun but I know now it was either free or really cheap fun.

    I became an adult, I got a big girl job and I bought little things without worrying about money. I even took 7 unpaid weeks off after I had a baby.

    I realized I hated that big girl job and I had a dream of moving to the beach. So I quit the big girl job and went back to living pay check to pay check for a while to follow a dream.

    Someday's I long for the days when I didn't budget juggle constantly but I'm so much happier. I probably won't know until I'm old and gray if it was the right choice but for now it feels right.

    I think enough became enough when I moved into my first place with my own bills and no help. That's when I realized I probably was not going to own a mansion but my dream all along was really just to be independent.

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  9. Yes yes yes.

    I hate when people don't realize that they have enough and are enough, and that while they are free to dream and improve, they should be really happy with what they have and where they are.

    Good post!

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  10. I love this so very much. This is a great perspective & challenges me! ENOUGH is ENOUGH. I'm happy with what I have in this moment and I'd like to get better with being content and expressing that happiness. I grew up similarly to what you shared & I'm grateful that that isn't where I am anymore. Sure- anything is possible (hey, that's my word of the year for 2014) and it's great to dream BUT it's also great to embrace what we have and live in this moment, too. Great post :)

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  11. Kind of needed to read this today! :) January has not been very nice to us this year and I need to remind myself that despite that we are very lucky!!

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  12. You should be proud of your parents, they clearly worked hard and it paid off for you. That's awesome. And I love this post :)

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  13. So by that logic... I should definitely move to Oregon and not just settle for where I am? I like that.

    I dunno, I don't seem to think I'm a big dreamer but maybe Oregon is a big dream. And lately I'm big on follow your dreams if you can. Yes I'd like to go fill my closet with all the trendy clothes and shoes, and live like I have a million dollars - that's not a good dream. But the little dreams are important.

    Also, everything everyone writes ties back to that I need to move to Oregon. I'm a bit too into my dream. :p

    Sorry, rambling.

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  14. Love this post! Maybe you did get your dream even it's not the one you pictured as a child.

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  15. LOVE this post. Good for you for realizing that what you have is 'enough' and while it may not be what your kid self dreamed of, it's still pretty darn amazing :)

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  16. This was an incredible post! It was all so true. I just graduated college and this was kind of a reality check that I needed! Thanks for sharing lady!

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  17. This is a beautiful post, Lauren. It made me think of the quote "The things that you take for granted someone else is praying for." What we have is more than enough - thank you for the reminder :) xo

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  18. AW I think this is so good. I was thinking while reading this that it's funny how we all become so much more practical as we get older. I still have some dreams, but I also don't even want half the things I used to think I wanted. They wouldn't make sense! I feel bad though because I think a lot of people have a hard time letting go of the irrational dreams they had as a kid and for them settling into something less is a huge bummer. If only they could realize how good they have it!

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  19. big fan of this. it's funny how our needs and wants change as we grow up

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  20. I agree... contentment is where it's at. :) It's okay to want better things, but your idea of what those things are changes as you grow up. It's a good thing. :)

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  21. Okay, I was just thinking about this literally this week! It's so weird how we're told that we can do anything as kids, but as adults, we seem to lose that and "settle" for "normal" lives. You're totally right though, "just enough" can be amazing too. Love this!

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  22. Love this post! I think part of growing up is realizing happiness is accepting and being grateful for all the blessings in your life. But, dreaming should never ever leave our system. As children, dreams push us, to give us something to look forward to. Why stop that? As I'm learning, life only gets better.

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  23. This is such a sweet post, Lauren! I love it. It's so nice to take the time to really be grateful for what you have. I had a revelation about my job this weekend where I realized I needed to just get over myself and be happy that I have a steady and secure job that pays my bills. Sometimes you just need a reality check, ya know? But yes, dreams definitely become more practical the older we get, but it's good to still dream!

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