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Submitted by Bonnie Sludikoff on September 27, 2010 – 11:37 pmComments

There was a year or so of my teenage life when my mom was working a full time job that required my less-than-chatty father to pick me up from school or play rehearsals. Often we’d sit in a quiet restaurant and eat dinner in complete silence. When it seemed that sufficient time to chew and digest had passed, dad would ask me, “Did you get enough to eat?” I always hated that question, and that word. I heard it often during my childhood.

“I think we’ve heard enough about this,” and  “This is only happening because you didn’t do enough to stop it.


Enough is a disappointment: A belief that what we need and desire is not available to us in plenty, and a statement, demanding that we be satisfied without ever challenging the status quo and asking for more.

“Yes, I have enough” is what we say so that no one accuses us of greed or gluttony. It’s a guilt trip that goes against our human nature to always push and explore the boundaries set in place around us- real and imagined.

I’ve just begun a new part-time nanny job, where I’m looking after the most difficult child I’ve ever met in the 16 years I’ve been looking after children. The mother of this child watched her behavior with bewilderment the other day. Finally she looked at her with a stern expression and said simply, “Enough” as both of us hoped that word would, indeed, be enough.

Enough is an exclamation used to indicate a lack of enjoyment of a situation or behavior. We say “Enough” but we really mean, “that’s too much- I can’t possibly handle any more of this.”  Enough is just reaching a passing mark, and giving up. Enough is the amount of water needed to quench our thirst through the required mile, but not a sufficient amount of keep us from becoming parched if we feel the pull to challenge ourselves to go just a bit further than intended.

I have a good friend whose spirit has been worn thin by a friend who seems to show little, if any, regard for her feelings. After taking several opinions into consideration, she has finally begun to agree with the masses that she has endured enough of this treatment and now it falls upon her to see that said friend understands this message. Of course it would be easier to sit by and say nothing, but it takes courage and grace to pull through when the other person in the broken down car doesn’t seem to be getting out to help you push it to the side of the road. There comes a point when you have to say enough.

Enough is what we tell someone who has pushed us past the point where we’re willing to continue to hear them out. Enough is a contradiction- when we’re so spent that the word describes the opposite of our situation. Enough is what will get us through, so long as we do not dare to use our dreams as a guide, as long as we forego the urge to play harder than we have before or choose to grow as human beings and spirits of this majestic earth we live on.

I’m turning 28 on Friday.  As I entered my 27th year, I tried to say “enough” to appease a challenge I’d been trying to free myself from for several years. As soon as I took on this mentality I felt all of my defenses shutting down, though I was told to just stay strong and that I’d find that I had “Enough” strength to get myself through. And I did. Just enough that I spent a whole year treading water with just enough breath to keep from making a scene calling for help.

Just enough will never be good enough.  Enough is a mistake we make, not expecting God or the universe to provide. Not thinking people will come through. Not thinking that we can thrive instead of merely get through.  If all we want is to have enough, then we have already given up.

As I say goodbye to my mid-20s and hello to the late ones where society has expectations of me almost as high as the ones I have for myself, I believe that there is more than enough of what I need. The things I want are plentiful and above anything I can imagine. We can’t possibly be here to ration off just enough happiness to keep us from jumping off that precipice right before things get good.

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