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Enough

I was raised to think that any problem can be solved and anything can be achieved.

If I could not do something, it just meant I was not good enough - yet. But, of course, I could be, if I just learned, and fought, and tried harder. If something happened, that I did not want to happen, it meant I did not plan enough, did not think hard enough. Next time I was to think harder and plan better.

Coming to the US, and subscribing to the American dream was such a natural extension of this philosophy that "everything can be done, the question is how". I suspect that many of you, my immigrant friends, are the same species – strivers and survivors, no matter what.

And yet no matter how hard we try, plan and fight, some things just happen. Children get sick, friends become strangers, loved ones die. Societies change, businesses fail, economies collapse. And thinking that it would all be perfect, if only I tried harder, if only I was enough, runs into its limit. Eventually. For some smarter ones, hopefully, faster than it did for me.

In many cultures families teach their children to accept the inevitable first, and only then strive for what can be influenced. Mine was clearly not one of them. In the end all of us learn to both strive and accept, but some have to live half the century first and come to utter emotional bankruptcy by trying to control the uncontrollable, by trying to be enough. And even then, accepting something intellectually is not quite the same as accepting it emotionally.

Well, I’ll never be enough. Never will be good enough, smart enough, resilient enough. Will never have enough energy for some things, enough courage for others. Will never be good enough for some people – my mom, for one. And I have to accept this not just intellectually, but emotionally. To be fine with it. To be happy as I am. To feel good enough as I am – warts and all.

And I just do not know how. Yet. But if I try hard enough, I can surely figure it out, right?

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( 66 comments — Leave a comment )
starshoi
Aug. 27th, 2018 12:50 am (UTC)
I want to agree with you completely, not sure I can but I will definitely try :-)

Seriously - but of course. True to the last word. I still have time to compensate and correct myself, do I?
_mak_
Aug. 27th, 2018 12:56 am (UTC)
I observe that you are much farther than I am (and I am crazy jealous).
Let's try together. Harder :)

Edited at 2018-08-27 12:56 am (UTC)
(no subject) - starshoi - Aug. 27th, 2018 01:00 am (UTC) - Expand
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(Deleted comment)
_mak_
Aug. 27th, 2018 12:17 pm (UTC)
Это не про то. Рациональные аргументы можно найти в любую сторону. Вопрос о том в какую сторону ищешь.
tandem_bike
Aug. 27th, 2018 11:55 am (UTC)
so you got hit from the left corner.

boxing with mirozdanie.

atheism is a problem ( i am one of those, too).

meditation - is overrated.

life is beatiful sucks.

sorry. i thought of something cheerful to say but it did not hatch.
_mak_
Aug. 27th, 2018 12:22 pm (UTC)
No, Molik, I did not get hit. Or, said another way, I got hit many times, nothing special now.

I am just very tired, and I want another way. I do not want to feel guilty and not enough all the time. For things that I could not change, and for things that I could change but not at the time, or not with the other things in the balance.

I am just old and it's time for me to accept who I am and what I can and cannot do - just the way I am, but I am struggling with it.
(no subject) - tandem_bike - Aug. 27th, 2018 01:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
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nat_sd
Aug. 27th, 2018 03:28 pm (UTC)
очень как то в точку пост этот. Я тут постою и почитаю умные мысли всех ваших собеседников. И тоже присоединяюсь к поздравлениям по поводу предстоящих событий.
_mak_
Aug. 27th, 2018 04:01 pm (UTC)
Спасибо
И пишите, что Вы думаете.
Надо как-то всем колхозом придумать как жить, потому что в одиночку не выходит.
oxfv
Aug. 27th, 2018 04:49 pm (UTC)
The way I look at it today is this: at some point in your life you notice a growing gap between life and your mental model of it, the latter including your plans, aspirations, abilities, outcomes. The gap seems unbearable (hence the noticing) and unbreachable (hence the associated pain). The best way to fix this was to have corrected your mental model along with the life twists or, better yet, in anticipation of the life twists. It is entirely possible that general wisdom and/or skillful meditation helps with this anticipation but I, for one, have no way of knowing or confirming that. The second best way is to acknowledge the gap and work on closing it little by little (changing habits and adjusting expectations), or maybe with one giant leap (e.g. becoming a kindergarten teacher in rural Alaska, overnight). The important part is always knowing that the gap was there all the time, even when it didn't look like it, and that it is not going anywhere. It just may get a bit more tolerable, and what more is there to hope for.

I wonder how I'm going to look at it tomorrow.
_mak_
Aug. 27th, 2018 05:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Valera, it's a helpful image.

I am so far trying to adjust little by little (and, predictably, with little success). I am not ready for drastic changes - my risk tolerance gets high only when there is clear and real payoff in sight. While here I do not even know what kind of payoff I want.

And it's not even about work. Kids, family, responsibility all around, it's just all gets too much. I am just more and more tired and at the same time guilty about things I could have, should have done for everybody. But could not and did not.

Life is great when we are young, the energy is boundless and if something is not done today - there is always tomorrow. And then eventually there is no energy, and more responsibility that fits into 3 lives. And this constant guilt when the energy runs out before all the things that need to be done are done.
(no subject) - _mak_ - Aug. 30th, 2018 11:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oxfv - Aug. 30th, 2018 03:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
yanka_j
Aug. 27th, 2018 05:25 pm (UTC)
Я как раз недавно стала думать что I can achieve anything - наверное сказались 5 лет living American dream и life coaches getting into my head. А вот оно оказывается как;-(
_mak_
Aug. 27th, 2018 05:38 pm (UTC)
You can definitely achieve anything - while you want it, and while you have energy for it.

Then eventually energy drops, but responsibilities and needs of those who depend on you only continue to grow. And you start dropping not only things that can be dropped, but also things that should not be. And then somehow need to find peace with it.

It's not about professional at all. Professionally it's completely fine - please go and achieve everything you want :)
girit
Aug. 27th, 2018 10:18 pm (UTC)

What about trying to do it, fake it till you make it? Not books about meditation, but meditation; or just strolling or exercising the first thing in the morning before others bite into your day? And things you enjoy, how about scheduling them first? I might be on a different process from you, because I live more and more with the outlook of limited lifespan. And for health of it, I am cutting my estimates these days. Like I want to live, knowing I have ten year left. And then, all going well, I will expand that time horizon. All these achievements, they have so little value when you know to count how many days you left to live.

girit
Aug. 27th, 2018 10:58 pm (UTC)

ps apologies in advance if it looks like advice or comparison! all i meant to say, it it’s an outlook from a different window

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m_elle
Aug. 31st, 2018 09:57 am (UTC)
это очень серьезный такой загон. anything can be achieved - это конечно, но "а оно тебе надо?" Даже не так - ты, конечно, можешь чего угодно добиться, и чего угодно достичь, вопрос в том, а ты вот этого самого действительно хочешь? Тебе оно самой-то правда нужно? Или оно тебя привлекает просто тем, что вот оно есть, и еще не достигнуто, а в детстве учили, что это непорядок?
_mak_
Aug. 31st, 2018 11:52 am (UTC)
Иногда оно мне надо.

Но чаще это не о том что мне надо, а о том что надо другим, и что я должна. Не в смысле что они мне говорят "вот ты должна", а в том, что, например, в обязанности хорошей матери (и хорошей дочери, и хороших всех прочих) очень много всего входит. И если чего-то из этого не сделать, то нет возможности сказать (или даже подумать) "не смогла". Потому что если "anything can be done", то нет такого варианта "не смогла". Есть только вариант "не стала делать, хотя понимала насколько это важно". Guilt.
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