Do I Have Enough Money?

Illustration: OWN Digital

1 of 20
Do I Have Enough Money?
That word—enough—mystifies me. I have a knack for discontent: I declared four different majors in college, moved ten times in my 20s, always wish I'd ordered the same dish as the person next to me at a restaurant. I've spent decades chasing the right thing, the best fit, enough. I once spent six years growing my hair, and when it reached my waist I cut it to my chin.

I've never found the perfect middle ground with money. I had too little when I wanted to buy a car, so I settled for a motorized scooter. When my partner and I wanted to move in together, we found we couldn't afford it alone, so we moved in with another couple in the same situation, unwisely packing two homes into one. But I've also sometimes felt I had too much—when splurging on a $6 macchiato, or ordering a margarita on the beach in Baja next to a group of children begging for coins.

Is the realm of enough numerical, gauged by the figure in my bank account? Is it physical, measured by what I can touch, the things I own? Is it a state of mind, a spiritual plane I'm supposed to be reaching? I'm not sure.

But in the past few years I've decided that my enough is having a few dollars to invest in myself. I've started a sort of life education fund, for my "Self-Actualization List," which contains items ranging in cost from $30 to $10,000, all of which are designed to reacquaint me with my curiosity, to serve as a jumper cable for when life seems to stall: a mushroom foraging trek through the forest in Mendocino, California, a motorcycle-riding lesson, an overnight stay at a Buddhist temple, a trip to France's perfume capital to study the seductive power of scent, a geology class at the local college.

I can't afford everything on that list, but if I'm able to cross off one thing each month, I'm thankful. I may not secure a retirement pad in San Miguel de Allende with this "savings model," but I will have accumulated experiences and things that will make me better, happier, more whole—and that's enough for me.

—Jenna Scatena, Editor-at-Large of San Francisco magazine