What is enough?

Written by Cole Schafer


In the midst of this goddamn Coronavirus, there’s a regurgitated piece of inspiration that’s been flooding the feeds.

Apparently, during the Black Plague, Sir Isaac Newton came up with the concept of gravity working from his home whilst quarantined.

The nugget is tremendously motivating.

But, it feels at the same time like a bit of a reach for the rest of us who don’t consider ourselves ‘one of the greatest minds to have ever lived’ (and please know I am bunching myself into that generalization).

Anyway, when social distancing hit humanity like a bag of wet bricks, I found myself “gravitating” more towards the Isaac Newton school of thought.

I went into my first week of quarantine, feeling wildly motivated to create genius during what felt like (and still feels like) a massive pause on life as we know it.

But, a day or two into this fucking mess, I found myself struggling with fighting off the urge to overeat, binge Netflix, jerk-off, refresh email for the dozenth time in a fifteen-minute period and ultimately feel like a complete and total failure.

(Albeit in the moments when Newton wasn’t discovering gravity, he was masturbating into a hankie to pass the time, but that’s neither here nor there).

Anyway, through all of this, I’ve found myself coming back to the same fucking question…

What exactly is… “enough”?

Last night, I had this thought in the back of my mind while tearing into a bowl of white rice and watching a truly mesmerizing film, Dunkirk.

(Obviously, skip this section if you haven’t seen it yet and have ever contemplated killing someone over a spoiler).

At the end of the movie, 300,000 of the 400,000 British troops who were stranded on Dunkirk surrounded by the enemy on all sides made it back home without getting bombed to smithereens.

While a good amount of them survived the onslaught, many of them felt like failures.

There was a beautiful scene that takes place just moments before the curtain drops where a blind elderly British gent hands a scratchy looking blanket to a soldier played by Harry Styles and says, “Good job, lads”.

A mind-fucked Styles replies, “All we did was survive”.

To which the elderly British gent says, “That’s enough.”

Now, I know none of us here are standing on a massive barren beachfront in France like a can of sardines as enemy planes are raining machine gun bullets and explosives on us.

But, the movie really put the shit we’re living in right now in perspective for me…

For one, it made me realize that while our situation is as shitty as a gas station bathroom, it could be a hell of a lot worse.

And, two, it took some weight off my shoulders… after all this is said and done, if you nor I don’t discover the second coming of Gravity, simply surviving this terrible fucking trip with our sanity still intact will be enough.

Fuck gravity anyway.

Earlier, I phoned a friend and he made mention that he didn’t feel like he was doing enough right now, during this bizarre time.

He said he was talking with his girlfriend pretty frequently, that he was spending time with his two roommates and best friends, that he was reading more and unwinding with Netflix and working his ass off at his (now remote) job… but that he hadn’t found that “opportunity” he thought he would have with all this downtime.

I told him, in not so many words, that I thought he was spending the time exactly as he should be.

Let’s reframe what success looks like now and perhaps, for forever.

Doing enough during this time is simply getting by and helping those around you get by, too.

It’s making sure your oxygen mask is on and secure first before helping others with theirs –– maybe that’s finding time each day to run, meditate, read and write.

It’s scheduling windows to catch up with your friends and loved ones, making sure they’re feeling that human connection that we’re realizing is as important as food and water.

It’s being wildly present whilst doing the simple, mundane, everyday shit, like washing dishes and sweeping the floor and making the bed.

It’s finding small ways to help those around you who might have lost a job or received a massive pay cut, whether that’s dropping off some groceries for them or finding leads to help them find another gig.

And, once you’ve done these things, then and only then do you start searching for your gravity.

Just don’t let it kill you.

Despite this, I do think it’s worthwhile for us to see the good in this sort of world-wide pause. I think it’s worthwhile to recognize that there may never be another time in history where we have an excuse to sit at home and choose between doing absolutely nothing and doing something.

So, if you feel called to find your gravity during this time, do so.

Learn guitar.

Take on the giant task of reading the Brother’s Karamazov.

Challenge yourself to run a dozen miles a week.

Take the plunge and start a freelance business.

Build that website or blog you’ve been talking about.

Cook a new and challenging meal each day.

Start a lawn care business (but only accept Venmo).

And, remember all the while… that if you never find it, your gravity that is, realize that simply surviving and helping those around you survive this time is truly enough… because I promise humanity will need you in our next battle.

By Cole Schafer.