I am Enough from Lindsey Mead

I am Enough from Lindsey Mead


For thirty years I thought it was my accomplishments, my resume, my brass rings that made me enough.  My father said a thousand times that my greatest skill was “doing just well enough to get to the next thing,” and I took that to heart.  I was enough, but it wasn’t really about ME.  The enough was in my performance, in my achievement, in my leaping over the hurdles that I saw in front of me.

What made me enough was what I did.  And what I did was what I thought the world was asking of me.  And so for years I did that, to feel like I was enough.  I went to boarding school, to an Ivy League college, and then to another Ivy League graduate school.  I was not unhappy through these various phases, because I was so tuned into the world’s approval.  The clamorous applause of the world at large drowned out any whispers of concern that I might have heard from my own internal voice.  In retrospect, I am aware of those whispers, though I did not recognize them at the time.  There was the leave of absence I took from my first job because I did not feel I had the space to process the deaths of two close family members while I kept working.  There was the time in the crypt of the cathedral at Assisi that I burst into tears, unbidden and un-understood, and was unable to stop.  There was the panic attack the week before I started business school, where I could not breathe at night and wanted desperately to pull out of my class.   

All of these, I recognize now, presaged the knot of feeling in my chest that grew more and more intractable in my early 30s.   In my early 30s, I began to realize that a life strategy built on accomplishing the next most impressive thing collapsed entirely when there was no next thing.  My smooth, speedy reaching of milestones that I’d considered an asset my whole life, dissolved into a frantic restlessness.  I began to feel a vague but persistent unease in my own life.  I knew this life looked charmed on the outside, but it echoed emptily on the inside.  My life, which had gone exactly as I had planned, was nothing like I expected.  I did not, in the ways that really mattered, feel like I was enough at all.

It took years of work to realize that truly being enough wasn’t about what I DID, but about who I WAS.  It feels odd to call it “work,” since the work was mostly sitting still, breathing, reading, being calm, and feeling my feelings.  But, perhaps sadly, all of those things were work for me – and often remain so.  Still, I’m about to turn 36 and I am finally aware of the fact that my real life is actually in this very real, imperfect, beautiful moment.  There is no point of focusing on that next glittering goal, because first of all, there aren’t any more to aim for, and second of all, that takes my attention away from the true riches, which are right in front of me.   And it is in this dwelling, this quiet, this actually opening to the notion that life’s real meaning is right here, that I’ve finally realized that just by being me I am enough.


About Lindsey Mead


Lindsey Mead writes at A Design So Vast.  She is a woman, daughter, mother, sister, wife, friend, and writer. She is also a runner, a sometime yogi, a disillusioned MBA, a reformed nailbiter, and a proud natural redhead. She struggles mightily to find a coherent sense of self in all of these splintered identities.  She writes and works in the business world and tries to spend time with her children, her husband, her friends, and occasionally run as well.

She is troubled by her inability to live more presently, which makes her keenly sad about the passage of time. The way that her children mark the inexorable movement of time is sometimes so bittersweet that it is almost unbearable.  Her blog, A Design So Vast is about both that and the moments of incandescent peace or laughter that she doesn’t want to forget.  She writes about the challenge of truly inhabiting the moments of her life, the work of being a mindful person, and about her efforts to find something to believe in, as she gropes around the edges of her faith.

  • Renae C
    Posted at 12:26h, 03 August Reply

    Enough – with plenty left over to share with all of us.

  • Meghan
    Posted at 14:30h, 03 August Reply

    Gorgeous post, Lindsey–just like your heartfelt blog. I’m a big fan of you and am thrilled to see you here today.

  • denise (musingsdemommy)
    Posted at 15:18h, 03 August Reply

    How fabulous to see one of my favorites here in this space, one of my favorites. Insightful, real, so paralleling my own struggle–that in this rich moment, all is well, and yes, we are all enough. Thank you, friend.

    And thank you Tracey for this wonderful collaborative.

  • Corinne
    Posted at 17:44h, 03 August Reply

    As always, exquisite.
    Thank you for sending me here, Lindsey 🙂 Can’t wait to poke around a bit…

  • cynthia newberry martin
    Posted at 18:40h, 03 August Reply

    Heart felt.

  • Christine LaRocque
    Posted at 20:39h, 03 August Reply

    Lindsey, as usual you have brought me to tear. Brought me to tears with your eloquence, but more importantly in your articulation of something I know so very, very well. It’s impossible for me to say just how much I know this. But I do. Deeply.

    Delighted to have discovered you through Lindsey Tracey. Looking forward to exploring a bit more.

  • mindy
    Posted at 03:21h, 04 August Reply

    wonderful post.

    i too am striving to enjoy each moment as it happens instead of wishing for past moments or anticipating the next ones.

    i am also really trying to show my two boys the joys of right now, instead of what they wish it was.

    both are full time jobs. but i am enjoying myself! and learning through it all that "i am enough".

  • Rebecca
    Posted at 19:46h, 05 August Reply

    I so, so get this. Thanks for sharing, Lindsey.

  • Nina
    Posted at 00:08h, 07 August Reply

    Thank you so much for this post and the idea of being enough.
    Just finished Susannah Conway’s course and this was my last post about this very topic.


  • red or gray
    Posted at 14:00h, 07 August Reply

    thank you for sharing your thoughts … i know many of us can relate to parts of this .

    I enjoyed the ‘goodnight whit" link/post as well.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted at 13:51h, 09 August Reply

    Thank you for your post, for a moment I thought I was reading about myself…..minus the Ivy League education. I still struggle with understanding that who I am matters more than what I do. Currently I’m trying to figure out how to teach my daughter the one life lesson I have yet to master.

  • o~girl
    Posted at 04:53h, 10 August Reply

    I’m enjoying this ‘I am enough’ series. I hope it continues. It’s very heart-filling.

  • linda
    Posted at 07:01h, 01 November Reply

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