“More” versus “Enough”

“More” is a lure. It’s the tantalizing bait always catching the eye. For me, it’s not so much about stuff as it is about all the things I want to do. There’s just so much great experience to be gained, in so many different flavors. Creative. Athletic. Musical. Social. Natural. Service-oriented. Friendship-based. Family-centered. If each event or activity is like a scoop of ice cream, then sign me up for the triple banana split! Not only is it sure to be yummy, but by opting for ALL of it, I don’t have to go through the painful process of choosing.

Never mind that I really can’t eat a triple banana split. Never mind that even trying is sure to lead to other forms of discomfort.

One of several books I’m reading right now (see, I can’t even limit my reading selection to a single scoop) is The Book of Joy by Douglas Abrams. In it, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu share their thoughts on how to lead a joyful existence. Unsurprisingly, both mention gratitude for what we have as being a key factor in lasting joy. Recognizing when we have “enough” is the trick here. Abrams writes,

 “Yet scientists have found that the more we experience any pleasure, the more we become numb to its effects and take its pleasures for granted. The first bowl of ice cream is sublime, the second bowl tasty, and the third causes indigestion.”

I’ve got life experience to back up Abrams’ metaphor. My first job back in high school was at the local ice cream shop. The owner, bless her, allowed us to liberally sample the products free of charge. I can therefore attest, there is a point where “more” – even just one bite – tips over into “too much.” (Sorry, Lorna – and thank you for this and many more valuable life lessons!)

Sometimes the effect of this indulgence is as temporary as indigestion, but sometimes too much can turn you off of something completely. I rarely eat ice cream to this day – and it’s got to be a pretty special flavor to pique my interest.

For me, the sweet hook of “more” has always been the potential missed opportunity. My brain paints visions of the joy an activity could bring in the nanoseconds it takes to contemplate whether to take my child to visit Eggbert the talking Christmas Egg, or if I should set my alarm to get up early to meditate. The thought of my child smiling with the surprise of holiday magic, or of myself, calm and centered at the start of the day – how could I possibly miss these opportunities to better our lives?

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Staying Connected When Life Is Busy

Thea and I had planned for this week’s blog post to be about friends. It turns out nothing could be more appropriate this week as I’ve had to rely on friends for help in various emergencies! We’re good now, but I’m even happier to write about keeping in touch with friends.

There have been many studies on the importance of friends. Friends contribute to your physical and emotional well-being. Friends are good for you!

As we move through jobs and life stages, it can be a challenge to find time for to connect.  Schedules, demands from small people, and basic adulting can make friendships take a backseat. TTYL (talk to you later) seemed much more immediate when we were pre-kids.

I’m in no way pro at this, but I have a few tricks I use to keep in touch with bffs from kindergarten, people who knew me when I “did” my bangs , and friends from old careers.

1.  Send a Note

Everyone loves mail when it isn’t requesting money. It doesn’t have to be a long note. “Hi. I was thinking of you because you’re awesome. Hope today is great!” That’s all it takes! You don’t have to promise to get together soon because we all know how many planets have to align for that to happen. Now, if you’re an overachiever, you could always write an old-fashioned letter. My friend surprised me the other day with a letter that looked suspiciously like the subversive notes we used to pass during class in high school. (You didn’t think I paid attention in Geometry, did you? Numbers make me cry.) She sent a multiple choice quiz. This time, instead of all boy-related questions, there were fun mom questions. Best. Mail. Ever!

2.  Five Things

This is just what it says. I text five things to a friend and she texts back five things. These are usually cries for help and totally random. Which makes them that much more fun.

Sample text:

Five Things

  1. I may be raising sociopaths.
  2. The washing machine is making a strange sound. So I’m not using it.
  3. My sugar-free diet lasted ten minutes. It’s not natural.
  4. I binged Stranger Things Season 2 instead of sleeping.
  5. I can’t help with math homework anymore. It’s too hard.

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