How Much Is Enough?

Does envy have you trying to “keep up with the Joneses?” Do you have a closet or segment of your home dedicated to barely-used items that now just take up space? Many Americans do a pretty good job at thinking of wants as needs. For instance, many sources note that while the United States holds less than 5% of the world’s population, we consume around a quarter of energy and other resources.

You’d think that with all the extra stuff and the money we use to buy it we must be happier, right? Not according to the World Economic Forum. According to a measure known as the Happiness Index (six significant factors which contribute to happiness), “although the US ranks highly for per capita income, it is only ranked 18th out of 156 countries, substantially below most comparably wealthy nations.”

Of course, per capita income stats are deceiving. Disparity runs deep in America. Millions of people live in deep poverty, not only lacking in material needs, but also the basics of adequate shelter and healthy food. While necessary, charitable responses can only go so far. Some would argue that structural changes are needed to reduce the suffering of the have-nots (e.g. changes to economic assistance, housing, and tax policy).  In other words, more must be asked of the rest of us.

So, how much is enough? This is not simply an economic question. It’s environmental as well.

Humanity is currently consuming resources at a pace faster than the Earth’s ecological systems can renew them. Collectively, we have significantly passed the planet’s regeneration line.

That brings up a couple of important questions for America and Americans: Should there be limits to how much a person, a community, or our country can have or consume? And, if so, should it be up to the individual, our government, or some independent standard to measure if we’ve reached the point of adequate consumption and/or possession?

How much is enough?

Related questions:  How Can We Appreciate Life More?What Material Possession Means The Most To You?What Makes You The Happiest?What Are Our Responsibilities To Others?

Why Do You Live Where You Live?

Our home and our community can be a major component in the way we define ourselves. It is also an important part of the way we present ourselves to others.

There are many reasons why someone may choose a particular place to live: they may have family nearby, perhaps they moved for a job, it’s where they grew up, they went to college there and stayed after graduating, moved for a romantic partner, it was all they could afford, etc.

So the first part of this week’s question is just that: what are the circumstances that led you to be where you currently live? Do you like it? Why or why not?

There is another aspect to the question, as well. What are the things about the place where you live that you enjoy? Is it the neighbors? The quirky shops nearby? Perhaps it is surrounded by nature, or gives off a modern vibe that energizes you.

Maybe you don’t like where you live, and are hoping to move someday. What is it you don’t like? What will you be looking for? Where would be the ideal place for you?

Ultimately, we conflate who we are and where we live, for better or worse. What does your choice say about you?

Why do you live where you live?

Related questions: Why do we like what we like? Why do we put up with unhappiness? What makes a place feel like home? What makes a community?

 

What Material Possession Means The Most To You?

Of all the things you own, which one can’t you live without?

Share why if you wish.

Lee’s Answer: my bicycle. It’s transportation, recreation, gym club membership, a social network, and a mediation class all in one, and it allows me to feel like I’m doing my part to reduce my carbon footprint!

Michael’s Answer: my laptop.  Writing/Journaling, viewing my garden and travel photos on my amazing laptop screen, and listening to music are very therapeutic for me.