Enough is Enough

I have a prob­lem.

All my friends are awe­some.

Now, on the list of prob­lems to have, this one is so minor that it bare­ly rates being list­ed as a prob­lem. How­ev­er, it both­ers me, so I’m count­ing it as a prob­lem. I’m blessed that I’m expend­ing brain pow­er on this, and not some oth­er press­ing issue like feed­ing myself or wor­ry­ing about where I’m going to sleep tonight.

There’s a say­ing out there that says you are the sum of your top 5 friends or some oth­er inspi­ra­tional bologna like that.

Oh look I found the inspi­ra­tional quote in a cheesy pic­ture:

Appar­ent­ly it was the inspi­ra­tional speak­er Jim Rohn who said that quote orig­i­nal­ly. Now we’ve both learned some­thing!

Any­ways… back to the point.

My friends are awe­some­ly amaz­ing peo­ple. They’re pas­sion­ate, freak­ish­ly intel­li­gent, dri­ven, hard-work­ing, hilar­i­ous peo­ple. They’re start­ing busi­ness­es, stay­ing in touch with our respec­tive local leg­is­la­tors, rais­ing fam­i­lies, pro­duc­ing amaz­ing con­tent, hus­tling to earn extra mon­ey, pay­ing off debts like crazy, buy­ing a new rental prop­er­ty.… the list goes on and on.

Usu­al­ly I get inspired by my friends. But some­times it’s hard to not get jeal­ous or feel like a bum. Even though I know our sit­u­a­tions are dif­fer­ent, it’s hard not to com­pare myself to them.

I know this is ridicu­lous. Here I am killing it, and I still feel like it’s not enough. But you know what? It is.

I am doing enough.

It’s been one month since I closed on my first rental prop­er­ty. Not only did I buy my first prop­er­ty at age 26, I did it all by myself as a sin­gle lady. No one helped me. [unless you count the indi­rect help of get­ting a nice bonus at work, a mov­ing allowance, and liv­ing cheap­ly in my friend’s base­ment. But I count those more as savvy mon­ey moves than help. Call it what you want though.]

My mom point­ed out that she’s nev­er had her name on a mort­gage. She’s done lots of oth­er things in her life (like rais­ing 3 great kids haha) but buy­ing a house is not one of them.

I have oth­er friends who can’t even move out of their parent’s house or rent a place with­out hav­ing a room­mate due to crush­ing stu­dent loans. I have friends who strug­gle to come up with the mon­ey to go see a movie at the the­ater once a month.

So why don’t I com­pare myself to them? Doing so would cer­tain­ly make me feel a lot bet­ter about myself. I don’t com­pare myself to them because I don’t often see their strug­gles. No one brags on social media how they are wor­ried their pow­er is going to get cut off or that they’re scram­bling that month to come up with the rent check.

Unless you’re Pit­bull & NeYo, then you write a whole damn song about how you can’t pay your rent and the asso­ci­at­ed poor choic­es that go along with that.

But suc­cess­es? They’re every­where. Some­one added a sweet rental prop­er­ty to their port­fo­lio. Some­one got a bonus the size of your entire year­ly pay and put it in their tax­able invest­ment account. Some­one got a high­er pay­ing job. Some­one just got done bik­ing to work and post­ed a self­ie of them after­wards glow­ing from the exer­cise with their all-organ­ic healthy smooth­ie they blend­ed before they rode to work. Peo­ple love to cel­e­brate the good (and they should!).

What I’m doing is enough, and I’m not going to let peo­ple make me feel bad.

I dri­ve my car to work and back every day. I don’t feel like wak­ing up 3 hours ear­ly just to go com­plete­ly out of my way to ride my bike. Not to men­tion my main route to work is not only unsuit­able for rid­ers on the best day, but most­ly under con­struc­tion and there­fore com­plete­ly unsafe now. It’s enough I ride my bike to the gro­cery store and farmer’s mar­ket on the week­end.

I work out spar­ing­ly. I have friends that spend hours at the gym every day and they’re in amaz­ing shape. Do I wish I could see my ab mus­cles? Yes. Am I will­ing to put forth the effort right now? No. It’s enough I do body weight exer­cis­es at home and eat a healthy diet.

I post when I can. My main time for writ­ing used to be at work when I had noth­ing to do. Now I have tons to do at work and am busy all day (like I should be). This means I’ve had to find oth­er times to write and I haven’t been the best at it. But I am doing enough to get posts out when I can and make sure they’re the best qual­i­ty they can be before I hit that pub­lish but­ton.

Am I sav­ing enough? Am I being fru­gal enough? Are my invest­ments opti­mized to the best options in the mar­ket? All three of those could be answered No. But you know what? It’s enough that I max out my HSA, Roth IRA, and 401(k). It’s enough I have those invest­ed in VTSAX or some oth­er low fee index fund. I could spend less on trav­el and food. But it’s enough I trav­el hack and bring my food into work most days. Sure, I might not be eat­ing crock pot oat­meal at $.10 a serv­ing.….… but at least I’m bring­ing in pack­ets of oat­meal from home and not get­ting break­fast and lunch down­stairs from the cafe­te­ria every day.

I might not have a whole port­fo­lio of rental hous­es yet, but it’s enough that I got start­ed and bought the first one. That’s more than most peo­ple can say. Sure, this prop­er­ty might need more TLC than I orig­i­nal­ly antic­i­pat­ed, which means I prob­a­bly won’t have a decent down pay­ment saved up by the fall and won’t be able to buy anoth­er rental prop­er­ty until at least next spring. But that’s ok. Because one is enough for now.

I might not have the per­fect fam­i­ly unit or even a boyfriend. But that’s ok. Because I’m hap­py and tak­ing care of myself now. I’m not so des­per­ate that I take the first guy that shows inter­est in me and try to make it work. It’s enough to wait (most­ly patient­ly) for the right guy to come along.

So, my dear read­er, take these lessons to heart. Do your best, and don’t wor­ry about what every­one else is doing. The fact you wor­ry about this means you’re already ahead of the pack.

You are enough.


**fun fact:  Seman­tic sati­a­tion (also seman­tic sat­u­ra­tion) is a psy­cho­log­i­cal phe­nom­e­non in which rep­e­ti­tion caus­es a word or phrase to tem­porar­i­ly lose mean­ing for the lis­ten­er, who then per­ceives the speech as repeat­ed mean­ing­less sounds. If you’re any­thing like me, that’s why “enough” looks weird right now.

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43 thoughts on “Enough is Enough

  1. Enough” is one of those things that, for me, varies every­day. Some­times it’s enough that I got off the couch, oth­er times it’s enough when I slay the drag­on. FB, ins­ta, Twit­ter are often full of moments when peo­ple have slayed the drag­on. I get it…no need to show the oth­er 22 hours in the day that noth­ing extra­or­di­nary hap­pened. But we all know that is life — the ebb and flow, highs and lows. We cel­e­brate the highs and try to move on from the lows in the least pub­lic ways pos­si­ble. Fil­ters weren’t invent­ed for pic­tures, they were invent­ed for feel­ings as well.

    Believe me, your friends are look­ing at you the same way you are look­ing at them. You bought a frick­ing invest­ment prop­er­ty!!! That’s HUGE!! You don’t live on your par­ents couch. You can buy your own food, you can stand on your own two feet. You have done more than most will ever do. Take solace in that, take time to relax, and then get up and slay the next drag­on. Believe me, there is always anoth­er one wait­ing to swoop in and make you your own hero!
    Miss Mazu­ma recent­ly post­ed…That Says a Lot About You.My Profile

    • YES! This week­end when I pulled my back it was enough to make it out­side once or twice dur­ing the day. This week it’s enough to get all my box­es moved into the attic. I love that the def­i­n­i­tion is flu­id depend­ing on the day.

  2. I hear you Gwen. It’s tough not to com­pare your­self to oth­ers. I’ve made a con­scious effort to do it less late­ly and it has actu­al­ly been work­ing for the most part. But then I was just help­ing a friend with his FIRE plan and real­ized he’s pulling in 50% more than me this year. Wait a minute — I thought I make as much or more than all my friends. Appar­ent­ly not. But oh wait — it doesn’t mat­ter. Just have to remind that to myself. Instead I should think “good for him!”
    Fer­vent Finance recent­ly post­ed…To Buy or Not to BuyMy Profile

    • Good on you for rec­og­niz­ing the emo­tions as they come up! It can be super hard to be left behind.… like when your friend is get­ting NYC $$$ to live in the Mid­west 😛

  3. I can see where you are com­ing from. We are sur­round­ed in this com­mu­ni­ty with sto­ries of suc­cess every­where, but we rarely hear when things take a bad turn. There’s noth­ing wrong with try­ing to bet­ter one­self fur­ther, but we should all take a pause, look in the mir­ror and see where we are.

    Where you are is fan­tas­tic! You’re kick­ing butt and tak­ing names Gwen! Your fire (pun unin­tend­ed) and pas­sion inspire many, with your ener­gy being a cat­a­lyst for oth­ers.

    This made me think if where I am as well, I often won­der if I have done enough, and have a hard time inter­nal­iz­ing com­ple­ments and accom­plish­ments. I have grown in my career and have slow­ly start­ed a side busi­ness, get­ting great clients (like you!). I must be doing some­thing right 😀

    • Aw shucks Kevin thanks for the kind words. As for your side hus­tle, def­i­nite­ly doing some­thing right! Lots of things actu­al­ly!

  4. So much yes to this! My sis­ter has a sign above her door­way that says “Just Do Your Best” and it’s so true. It’s eas­i­er to judge then it is to understand–and that goes for how we treat our­selves, too. Nobody wants to talk about the bad things that are hap­pen­ing in their lives. We all talk about how great things are going, and that projects an unre­al­is­tic image of how our lives are. We’re all mud­dling through and try­ing to look like we know what we’re doing. 😉
    Mrs. Picky Pinch­er recent­ly post­ed…What A Fru­gal Week­end! April 23My Profile

    • I love this. “Just do your best” I might have to do a nee­dle point of this and hang it up in my casa!

  5. We con­stant­ly have to keep remind­ing our­selves that it’s a race with our­selves. If you com­pare to oth­ers, it’s a dan­ger­ous game.

    It’s tough but just got­ta be hap­py that you’re mak­ing progress toward your goals.

    Plus, when you com­pare to watch you see pub­lished in face­book etc, it’s only the very best fil­tered life. You said it your­self. No one posts about drown­ing in cred­it card debt, it’s all vaca­tions in Bar­ba­dos.

    • Yeah Face­book is the high­light reel of your life. Here on the blog I’m all about keepin it real!

  6. Thank you…I loved this post. In gen­er­al, I appre­ci­ate how you let us peek into the frus­tra­tions and strug­gles of your life, rather than being all shiny all the time.

    I’m doing way bet­ter at FIRE and fru­gal­i­ty than I was a cou­ple years ago, or even one year ago. I’m still fail­ing dra­mat­i­cal­ly on sev­er­al fronts, and that is OK!
    I’m a crea­ture of habit, and I’m build­ing new fru­gal habits in a slow and steady way that is sus­tain­able for me.

  7. I hate that quote. Espe­cial­ly when peo­ple relate it to net worth or pro­duc­tiv­i­ty because I’m all: “Hmmm. 3 of my 5 are under the age of 10. This does not bode well for me…” And being a PF blog­ger that isn’t suc­cess­ful­ly max­ing out Roth IRAs… I feel this. And real estate stress­es me out… so I’m still try­ing to fig­ure out how my “enough” fits in. But thank you. This is an impor­tant voice in the sea. We are all enough. (Also, I’m singing Hamil­ton again… “it would be enough…”)

  8. Enough is all rel­a­tive and some­thing (most) all of us strug­gle with.… at least, if we are being hon­est with our­selves.

    Some­one will always be in bet­ter shape, have a bet­ter finan­cial sit­u­a­tion, a larg­er port­fo­lio of rental prop­er­ties or make more than us.

    True hap­pi­ness occurs when we learn to be con­tent with what we have today. How­ev­er, we should still look for­ward and plan so that we can get to where we want to be in the future

    Keep your chin up and doing what you are doing.

  9. I’m pret­ty much the worst at this. Instead of look­ing at how far I’ve come in terms of becom­ing debt-free and sig­nif­i­cant­ly accel­er­at­ing my retire­ment sav­ings, I dwell on the fact that I’m not in a very high-pay­ing job or that I don’t trav­el enough or that I need to be more civi­cal­ly active. I am doing a lot, and life is long, so I just need to remem­ber that. I think liv­ing on the com­pressed scale of FIRE makes every­thing seem much more immi­nent.

    • Right!?! Me:“Just imag­ine what I could do if I earned $120k a year! I’d save so much!” Also me: eh, sav­ing $145k in 3 years is no big deal… WHAT is wrong with us!?!

  10. In the end the race is only with your­self.

    Put anoth­er way, if you tell me all my friends are bet­ter off than me but still I am finan­cial­ly independent/early retiree, I take that straight away.

    • Yes! Who cares if my friend just got anoth­er new car.… I’m going to be retired long before him!

  11. Amen! Appar­ent­ly, there is research out there link­ing social media to depres­sion. Makes sense, when all you see is the amaz­ing, pos­i­tive, life chang­ing moments, it starts to make you feel like you aren’t doing any­thing with your life. I con­stant­ly remind myself to embrace it all: the feel­ings and emo­tions, as well as the strengths and the flaws, because that is what makes you unique. Keep on doing what you are doing Gwen, you are killing it!
    Mrs.Wow recent­ly post­ed…The Crazi­ness of Real Estate in LAMy Profile

  12. I hear you Gwen I espe­cial­ly do this when it comes to blog­ging. I should ( could?) Be writ­ing more often , my writ­ing could be bet­ter, why don’t I have as many read­ers I live the same way as x.…. But then I remem­ber that we didn’t all start at the same place or even have the same cur­rent sit­u­a­tion.

    I have kids and am try­ing to reach FI that on it’s own means my jour­ney and time will be much dif­fer­ent then you, or MMM or any oth­er suc­cess­ful blog­ger.

    I might not be sav­ing every last pen­ny for FIRE but we are still mak­ing great progress for a one income house­hold.

    I want to push myself to do my best but I can’t com­pare my start to some­one who is way fur­ther down the fin­ish line.
    The Roamer recent­ly post­ed…Cap­sule 5: Sum­mer, No pur­chase nec­es­saryMy Profile

  13. I love the way you fin­ished the post with this quote: “do your best and don’t wor­ry what every­one else is doing”

    Also, the indi­rect help you men­tioned, get­ting a nice bonus at work, a mov­ing allowance, and liv­ing cheap­ly in my friend’s base­ment, are things you worked for or sought out to help you in your sit­u­a­tion — kudos to you!

    I strug­gled with com­par­ing myself to my friends when I first got out of school and I still do once in awhile today. I want­ed to make the most mon­ey and have the nicest/coolest things. I’m blessed that my wife, back then my girl­friend, wasn’t focused on what oth­ers thought. Also, the per­son­al finance com­mu­ni­ty has widened my view on top­ics like fru­gal­i­ty and only spend­ing mon­ey on things that make you hap­py.

    Now, I focus on my fam­i­ly and my sit­u­a­tion and I don’t wor­ry about try­ing to stay ahead of my friends. I spend time with my friends hang­ing out and being friends — not get­ting into a piss­ing con­test for who has the nicer or bet­ter things. The friends that care about that are friends that I don’t talk to as much any­more — now, I sur­round myself with the friends that care more about us as peo­ple and not the things we have.

    Sor­ry for the long com­ment, but your post real­ly made me think and reflect on my sit­u­a­tion!

    • I’m glad I could help you stop and think! I have just me, so some­times I let myself get in my head and freak out over some­thing that’s pret­ty triv­ial. See you this week­end!

  14. I recall read­ing a quote awhile ago, “Don’t com­pare your chap­ter 1 to some­one else’s chap­ter 20” on a some­what well know FI blogger’s web­site. 🙂 I copied that quote to my list of many quotes I try to remem­ber in life. I find it espe­cial­ly rel­e­vant when it comes to where peo­ple are in their FI jour­ney.

    Think about if you were 3 or 4 years younger and look­ing at where you are now. Would you be jeal­ous of your cur­rent accom­plish­ments? Would you believe what you are doing now would even be pos­si­ble? What will it look like a few years from now? The more you push through life’s doors, the more pos­si­bil­i­ties will open up to you. Just keep mov­ing for­ward, and remem­ber the obsta­cles are the way.

    • Must not be that well known… haven’t seen it! Haha­ha! At age 22 I would be pret­ty damn impressed with myself, so thanks for the inspir­ing words Ryan!

  15. Great read. Made me think of some­thing I saw a few days ago, name­ly the thank you speech Math­ew McConaugh­ey (great actor btw) made for win­ning an oscar. Hey talked about hav­ing 3 things in his life that he needs, of which one of them is some­body to chase after. Many are chas­ing suc­cess­ful friends or famous per­sons who have made it all to the top. But his hero? Him­self in 10 years, so he could make his own path and con­tin­ue to grow ever along. Fits here per­fect­ly 🙂

    Link to speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD2cVhC-63I

  16. Hi Gwen,
    I can com­plete­ly relate to the feel­ing. Many years ago after I’d got­ten quite fit I strode into the gym after a long absence feel­ing total­ly awe­some about how much I’d pro­gressed. I took one look around realised the place was full of women stronger, fit­ter, lean­er and just total­ly more awe­some than me and I left feel­ing depressed.

    At that point I learned that in any group of peo­ple, I will nev­er be the fittest, wealth­i­est, most suc­cess­ful, most hap­pi­ly mar­ried or best par­ent. And that’s okay. The main thing is that I’m mak­ing progress in my life on what’s impor­tant to me.

    When­ev­er I start com­par­ing now, I try to remind myself of how far I’ve come in the last year and be proud of that.

  17. Good for you. Learn­ing to be con­tent real­ly helps you enjoy your great sit­u­a­tion. I’m 26 but won’t be get­ting a house, but I see that you did and am hap­py for you and will like­ly learn a lot from you. Keep it up and enjoy the ride.

  18. I don’t have much more to add than what has already been said, but I appre­ci­ate you writ­ing about this. This is one of my favorite post of yours!

  19. Fun post that reminds us all of how impor­tant OUR INDIVIDUAL lives are. Life is not about every­one else. Life is about You, and the way to find YOU is to try, and take risks, and be will­ing to learn when you suc­ceed and fail. Fail­ing is great because you learn how tough you real­ly are in the process. If you’re will­ing to get up off the couch and actu­al­ly TRY to do some­thing with your life, you are more suc­cess­ful than any­one else one the plan­et, because no one can ulti­mate­ly be bet­ter at reach­ing your dream life and pur­pose than you. Thanks for the reminder, that find­ing peace in life, is real­ly about find­ing your­self by just try­ing to be the best pos­si­ble you with­out wor­ry­ing what any­one else thinks. Peace sis­ter.

    • @Bill, I’m gonna print this you said and read it every time life makes me choose between my true nature and a peo­ple pleas­er who does what he is sup­posed to. I nor­mal­ly end up tak­ing the for­mer, not with­out strug­gle and pain for hav­ing to leave things or peo­ple behind. So your com­ment is real­ly valu­able.

      This involves finan­cial inde­pen­dence too, of course. Con­vinc­ing your com­fort-lov­ing girl­friend that you want to be able one day not to have to go to work so you are sav­ing up as much as pos­si­ble in the present might become one of those cru­cial life choic­es I meant above.

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