It was over 30 years ago, in what now seems like someone else’s life. I was at my former sister-in-law’s home at a traditional Italian family dinner when her tenant from the upstairs apartment barged in urgently as if escaping a fire.
He grabbed my hand and looked at it intently. “You’ll never be rich, but you’ll always have enough.”
He was likely younger than he looked, prematurely wrinkled, thin and balding. His features were all a bit crooked. He stared at me strangely, as if he knew secrets about me I didn’t even know I had. I was told he was a vagabond and had worked in the circus for most of his life as a psychic. But before you assume my reading was just vague enough that it could apply to anyone, there’s more to the story.
“Read me!” my ex asked.
“Broken window,” the odd character said with a thin grin, just before we heard the loud crash of a brick being thrown through our car window. At which point he closed my ex’s hand and pushed it back towards him as if to say, ‘you asked for it’.
The whole exchange happened in about the time it took you to read about it, but it has stuck with me my entire life. Fueled by the creepy confirmation of the ‘broken window’ event, I often reflect on the mean of having ‘enough’ in my life.
There is something strangely beautiful about the word when used as a describer.
It has a Goldilocks and the Three Bears ring to it. Not too little, not too much, just enough.
It assumes contentment. A lack of greediness. An abundance of thankfulness.
It also carries the undertone of knowing that while things could be better, they could also be much worse.
Enough heartache to know true love. Enough sadness to appreciate joy. Enough illness to be thankful for good health. Enough difficulty to balance my blessings.
In May of this year, I made the decision to end my newspaper career after 35 years in print media.
In short, I had had enough.
Enough time wasted sitting in traffic. Enough 12-hour days. Enough stressing about budgets. Enough Sunday nights spent dreading Monday mornings. Enough leaving in the dark, and coming home in the dark.
It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my life, but in the end, it came down to this.
I don’t need a corporate life.
I don’t need a big income.
I don’t need a big title.
Because along with those things comes a big price tag.
What I really need is, quite simply, enough.