What’s Enough?

By Alex Cohen

Ever get the feeling that something is missing in your life, but you’re not sure what that “thing” might be? It’s like packing to go on a trip and feeling as if you forgot something but just can’t put your finger on what it is. My kids are all happy and healthy and on their way to becoming successful in their own right, I have an amazing husband and what I consider a dream marriage, a great home and the job of my dreams – giving money to those less fortunate. What more can I ask for?


But at 53 I still wonder if I have done enough with my life, and feel as if I can be doing so much more, just not sure what “that” is. I know that I don’t workout enough, I know that I don’t eat healthily enough, I know that I don’t read enough, and I know that I don’t take care of myself enough…but those are not it.

It’s something deeper. It’s almost an absence of meaning; what is it that I need to DO or do more of, that will give more meaning to my life. I know it’s crazy, but I often wonder what will be said at my eulogy when I am gone, will it be enough if I have not found that “thing”, will something be missing from that speech as well?

Sometimes when I am in New York City I pop into St. Patrick’s Cathedral to sit through a mass. (No, it does not grow cold and dark when I walk in!) Every time I do this I am filled with such emotion, not really for the words that are being spoken but for the feeling of complete peace and spiritual fulfillment.

I want to feel that all the time, I want to feel as if my life and all I do has a higher meaning, is this too much to ask? Am I dreaming the impossible dream? Maybe it’s that as I age I feel the urgency to do more as I see my time slipping away, or the fact that I have lost friends unexpectedly and feel as if only today is a given and there may not be a tomorrow, not sure.

I spent the first part of my life in school trying to get good grades and pleasing others. I spent the next part of my life working my ass off to care for myself and my son. And the most recent part, raising great kids and being the best partner I could be while reinventing my career and devoting my time to helping others, all great things that have made me happy. Now it’s time to work on me, on my spirit and on my soul. What is out there that will fulfil me spiritually like I feel when at St. Patrick’s? It’s not religion, it’s not yoga or meditation; it’s just something I cannot put my finger on.

Most times I get angry with myself, I have all I ever wanted and how dare I ask for more. This is true, but I can’t help having that feeling of needing more meaning in my life. Do I have to go to Tibet and climb to the monks to find it? Do I need to go to a shaman and do peyote to take my subconscious to the next level? Do I have to take on a new hobby? What is it?

That brings me to the question of “what’s enough?” Could I be happy if I never find what that “thing” is? Of course I could, but don’t we want to give it our all, make sure that we don’t become complacent?

My husband strives to be the best at all he does, his drive and determination inspire me. He is always trying to be a better golfer, and even though I think he’s a great golfer, he always wants to be better. Is that what I need to strive for, perfection in all I do? Mastering everything I can possibly master? Or am I looking for something that does not exist, this “thing” I think will complete me and my journey?

Please don’t get me wrong, I am so completely grateful for all that I have in my life and for all those I love in my life, without them I would be lost. This is more than that, this is like the missing puzzle piece, the piece that makes all else come together. It’s the piece that makes you say “ah-HA, I get it now, this is another reason why I am here,” and the piece that makes you feel like if today was your last day on this earth, it would “be enough.”

So where do I go from here? I think it’s time for me to take that trip, eat that meal, make that new friend, join that club, take that risk, learn how to swim, dance like no one is watching, sing out loud, speak in public, take that class, but most of all be kind and patient to myself and maybe somewhere along the way, it may come to me…