Last night, I walked.
I walked in the glare of taxi cab lights and city lights and tall buildings and on concrete sidewalks that had been pushed down upon by the soles of hundreds of thousands, millions even, day after day and hour after hour. A late night stroll through the Upper East Side, a neighborhood that I had spent the prime part of my 20s wanting to live in, but was also afraid to live in and to embrace.
I had spend my 20s wanting to be enough, but that posits a question: at what point are you enough?
Is it after your (former) friend, best friend, ostensibly, tells you that you can’t afford to live in her neighborhood? (Though, you can. It is not a numbers thing. You can afford it, and then some, enough to offer her an all-expenses escape to Italy trip that she declines out of propriety to her marriage, not out of want. One ought ask her how she affords it.)
Are you enough then?
Or, is it after a person you loves tells you that you are everything and yet they still desire something both more and less, more traditional and less you? (Though you are the type people bring home to their parents: excellent job, good education, upstanding family, and table manners. One ought ask: what else?)
Are you enough then?
Is it the day you earn $100,000? $150? $200? $300? Or, is it the moment you buy an luxury automobile, or two? Subsidize an orphanage in a war-ravaged foreign country? Endow a university chair? Visit every continent, including the “new” one?
At what specific point are you enough? At what dollar value, at what level of potential, at what socioeconomic class, at what skin color, at what collection of experiences, at what measure are you deemed enough?
As I walked last night and I saw how much had changed (the Second Avenue subway line, almost 100 years in the making!) and how much had not (restaurants that I had been eating at since the mid-2000s, still there, still going concerns), it finally clicked for me, this fact:
I am enough. I have always been enough.
And that is the point. We are all enough, as we are, just by being. All of those other measures are useless. They speak to fears, they speak to competition, they speak to a fundamental sense of status envy and they are valueless in the long run. Setting yourself up in chase towards those things or setting yourself up opposition to then both give those things, give this city, this inhumane and unfeeling thing, power over you.
I had spent years giving this place power over me and, well, I’m quite done with it.
We are all enough, just by being, and the acceptance of that fact is the place from which so many roads and opportunities open up. Hope, freedom, a real sense of self and self-control, all of these become possible and within your grasp.
Finally, you are free. Finally, you are enough.