So, What Is Enough?

What is the full definition of enough? Occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations. For example, enough food for everyone.

The Peer Connections Project Team of Poverty Talks! are planning and implementing a project for The International Day to Eradicate Poverty on Oct. 17, 2016.  We have decided to label this Project ‘Enough’.

This powerful word started me thinking about what is enough to me.  Enough has many implications and realizations for many people.  When reviewing my thoughts and lifetime experience, I came to the realization that enough was in my past, present and future.

While I was a teenager growing up in England, my sister and her family and my brother and his family, immigrated to Canada.  Canada is the homeland of our late mother.  My mother wanted to spend the remainder of her days back home in the land of her birth.  So how was I going to do that?  After I finished school at 16, I went to work full-time Monday through Friday. On Friday nights, I babysat for a colleague and on Saturdays I worked all day in a small hardware store.  I had to earn enough money to help my hardworking Mom and myself get to Canada to re-unite with our family.  We were successful and I never will forget that day on March 26, 1977 when we were greeted by our family at the old Calgary airport to start our new life in this great country. Mom and I worked hard and earned enough to start again.

But, when I lived as a homeless person, I felt like I never had enough.

Food, money, friends, family, space, transit – there was never enough of all five of those basic needs to allow me to heal. When I lived in Edmonton and was couch surfing, I changed accommodations 13 times in eight months. I did not have enough. I also was scared; wondering how to get over all the emotional abuse I suffered at the hands of my ex-wife, wondering how I was going to get back to the City I loved – Calgary.

Alberta Works was not enough to sustain me fully and I was always stressed to capacity.  I held down three jobs while I was in Edmonton that I did not maintain for various reasons, the last being a very abusive environment.  My sister Karon made numerous phone calls on my behalf to get me into a shelter back home in Calgary and start over because Edmonton did not work for me.  I got on a Greyhound, left that job and came home.

After living in the Shelter for 16 months, my life slowly turned around for the better and I finally found enough willpower and strength to find a home.  I was fortunate enough to fall in love while homeless with a great woman, who after six months of courting invited me to fulfil my dream and to come and share her home with her and her daughter.

Now do I have enough?

As I said earlier it depends on your perception.  But I feel I do.  Not with money, as I am still financially below LICO but in many other ways I have enough.

I eat as much as I want, I have heat and electricity and I can take a shower or a bath everyday.  Coffee, tea, milk and pop are always available. Lots of space, a big snuggly bed to sleep in, clean towels and good clothes.  I have a private space in the basement to do my work and just chill.  I have a front yard that I am re-building.  All this is just stuff, but when you have not had enough of anything for a long time, you appreciate these things that others take for granted.

I have a lot of friends and communicate with family members on a regular basis.  My professional network is large and I feel fulfilled in what I do to make a difference in my community everyday.  My home has enough love to sustain me with a beautiful fiancée, a sweet puppy, a lovely cat and a weekly visit from my step-daughter

So what is enough for me?  This is.  The joy of having coffee everyday in quiet peace and reflection, saying hi to my neighbours, listening to the birds sing and kissing my sweetheart goodnight.  I am thankful and I am safe.

– Hilary Chapple

Hilary is an active community volunteer, poverty reduction and homelessness advocate.

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