When is enough enough?
The human hunger for MORE and BETTER has been visible for all to see this week at the Olympics. These young men and women have been training hard most of their lives in pursuit of a moment of glory. Their skill and perseverance is remarkable, but every year the performance bar is raised— faster, higher, farther, more spins, more twists, more complexity—and with it the potential for a life of disability or worse.
Skater Jason Brown bucked the trend and didn’t even try for a quadruple whatever/spin, instead focusing on artistry. At some point the Olympic committee is going to have to come to grips with the body’s limits and come up with other ways to measure greatness.
Humans are insatiable. We accumulate so much stuff we have to rent storage units to stow it, where it may languish untouched for years. Rich people get richer and richer. (How much money does a person need to be happy? Is a billionaire any happier than a millionaire? I doubt it.) In our greed we’re wrecking the planet, which is reaching its limits.
My small closet has also reached its limits, and I’m on a purge kick again. In truth, if I bought nothing new except fresh underwear every now and then, what I have would last the rest of my life. (OK, I’m old, so that may be a hollow boast…) I bet I could let go of half of my clothes and no one would notice. It helps that everything is in my color palette, so I can mix and match to create many flattering combinations. The limits make me more creative and appreciative of the pieces I do have. Still, I do feel the attraction when I see a cool new top or pair of boots in a shop window.
I am not immune to wanting MORE. However, I got over wanting more food by becoming more discriminating, present to, and appreciative of what I choose to eat, and I recognize my stomach’s limits. These days, my fiercest cravings are for more TIME to squeeze in experience. Since I can only fit a certain number of experiences in an hour, day, week, year, my current practice is to treat my time like I do food—be more discriminating, present to, and appreciative of how I spend my limited time. It’s a work in progress.
What about you? What MORE do you want to be, do or have? When is enough? Would BETTER be a more fruitful quest?