How Much is Enough? 8 Things We’ve Learned

When we first found ourselves both unemployed seven years ago, my younger sister posed a very simple yet important question:

How much do you really need?

At first, it calmed our fears.  We had saved up plenty to survive while we decided our next steps.  But more importantly, it started us on a journey to sort of pseudo-minimalism.  We lightened our load, examined our stuff, started conversations about our values, and took a hard look at what is really important to us.  We started designing our lives on this Encore Voyage with much more intention.

Examining ‘Enough’

In the early days, hubs would spend sleepless nights trying to answer the question, “Am I doing the right things?”  “Am I taking the right jobs?”  Am I taking all the steps I need for us to be successful.”  At first, those were questions born of fear and uncertainty.

The same questions are true for anyone entering retirement.  Have we saved enough?  Are we prepared both financially and emotionally?  Do we need to do more? Are we ready to take the leap?

Well, it’s taken us a few years, but we have finally learned to stop and take some very deep breaths.  And we’ve learned some things about “Enough.”

  1. We do not need to fill every hour of every day.  Down time is now cherished! We are mindful about doing “enough.”
  2. We do not need to exist on the 8 to 5 schedule of the working world.  It’s OK for us to skip out in the middle of the afternoon or to work on a weekend. We get to decide what to make of the day, and no longer feel guilty for not doing “enough.”
  3. We don’t need to buy much more “stuff.”  We want the items we own to be useful, meaningful or beautiful.  Generally speaking, we own “enough.”
  4. Taking time in the middle of the afternoon to read a book or pursue a hobby is quite OK.  You can never have “enough” curiosity or interests.
  5. We travel lightly.  I’ve studied up on many travel blogs, and it really is quite possible to go anywhere in a 22 inch carry-on and a backpack. Just “enough” is waaayyyy better when traveling than too much!
  6. Keeping up with the Joneses is stupid.  They are broke!  Our “enough” is not for anyone else to judge.
  7. You can never have “enough” meaningful relationships.  They are far more important than the things you own!
  8. There will NEVER be “enough” time for us to love each other and be together.  We need to take advantage of every moment we’re given in this life.

So how about it…What’s “enough” for you?  Any important things I’ve left off the list?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

~ Lynn

 

 

Photo credit: Patrick Fore ~ Unsplash

21 thoughts on “How Much is Enough? 8 Things We’ve Learned

  1. Laura Lee Carter

    Love your list, especially the last three! “Keeping up with the Joneses is stupid. They are broke!” LOL! We discovered how different we are than all of our city friends. We wanted a home that felt comfortable in nature, where the deer and birds come up to graze right outside our window, and we wanted new friends who also valued these experiences. We finally found our place before we died! And you know what? It’s a much less expensive way to live too.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Encore Voyage Post author

      We’re making small changes to make our place exactly as we like it. We figure we will be spending LOTS of time here in the future. We have a “two-butt kitchen.” But it’s perfect for us!

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  2. patwdoyle11

    I am also learning when things are “good enough”, especially with our downsized house. We bought a smaller home with the intent to not have any mortgage, as well as having less house to maintain. It’s the first time we’ve gone “downwards” in our purchasing – into much more middle-class neighborhood than our previous high-upper-middle class neighborhood. It’s a learning curve to not yearn for the pristine garden, the upscale kitchen, or media room that many of our friends have. I know that our 2 bedroom house will be good enough once we settle in.

    And I’m learning to be OK with spending enough to get the space to our liking as well… like the plumber who is making sure all the outdoor faucets are winterized, or the shelving units to provide storage space we need in the attic office. Being OK with spending enough, not keeping up with those broke Joneses, but to meet our needs.

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  3. Retirementallychallenged.com

    You’ve made lot of excellent points… I especially like the one about the Joneses. When we stop comparing ourselves to others (especially when we don’t know the whole story), we become much happier. I still have too much stuff, but it’s slowly making its way out the door and I’m not bringing more in.

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  4. Terri Webster Schrandt

    I’m married to a “collector” who spent the first half of his life as a single father of three, spending 4 months a year as an unemployed carpenter scraping by, buying old cheap cars he could fix up, old pieces of wood he can re-purpose…all good to some degree but the back yard is filling up! I give him the “stink-eye” on some of this but it does no good. He is finally in a stable job and is starting to give himself permission to spend a little extra $$ on things he can’t fix himself or buying newer things (like a vehicle). We both did without for years in our separate lives, and now we have the means, but those good lessons paid off. We’re in my starter home of almost 30 years and it is the right size now, even with the modest master bedroom addition. Now we’re replacing our ancient 30-yr old travel trailer with something newer but not extravagant. I’d personally like to hire a dumpster and throw most of it all in there and have it hauled away, but the old trailer is sitting in the driveway waiting to be cleaned out and sold!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Encore Voyage Post author

      Oh Terri, just be thrilled with all the skills that guy obviously has! The clean out doesn’t happen by the dumpster, but item by item as you decide if you love it, need it, and use it. One step at a time… and just so you don’t feel alone, my hubs cannot be trusted alone in a store, because he comes home with HOT WHEELS for cryin’ out loud! LOL!

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      Reply
    1. Encore Voyage Post author

      You are so welcome. We are not really minimalists in the hard core sense, but I have gotten rid of lots of stuff because I evaluate it all now with a critical eye – it’s either beautiful, I use is a lot, or I dearly love it…or it’s outta here! 😉

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