5How to Define Enough?

I spent most of my life chasing something elusive and unique. I wanted to be “successful.” I honestly am not ever sure what it is, but with hindsight, I think I started this quest at a very early age. Remember, I was raised in a blue‐collar, middle‐class, Midwestern family. We were taught very early about the value of money and how to save and be frugal. I seem to have been born with a certain taste and aesthetic that always had me searching for “more.” I also am certain I was trying to fill some void in myself and was trying to wrap myself in the comforts of newness and materialism. I sought happiness and validation through acquisitions and external stimuli, which is actually a very hollow and temporary fix.

My parents, especially my father, taught us a very early life lesson about the difference between what you want and what you need. He drilled that into us on many occasions. For me, it usually surfaced around back‐to‐school shopping time. In those days, the ritual of back‐to‐school shopping began about four weeks before the start of the school year, which was always the Tuesday after Labor Day in Ohio. Our family practice began with a review of what still fit or was good enough from last year. My personal process began with a review of teen magazines and catalogs. My parents would discuss and set a budget, and that money had to cover everything … shoes, backpacks, clothes, underwear, socks … everything! Even at a young age, like nine, I would try ...

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