Enough Already

I rarely, almost never, splurge on the cost of a new book. However, a biography, or better yet, an autobiography, of someone ‘well known’ will make me open my wallet faster than any other book. Such is the case of a book I recently finished, called Enough Already and written by Valerie Bertinelli.

Valerie Bertinelli shares an inspiring blueprint that offers women in midlife support and hope, especially as she turns 60, and admits to her life-long futility in believing she’d find happiness in numbers on a scale. She shares personal stories that many women will relate to from her past decade: hitting her fifties, taking care of her dying mother, the evolving relationship with her husband, a career change, her relationship with food, and the battle to believe in herself as she is.

Despite her success receiving Emmys for her Food Network show and critical praise for her books and cookbook, Bertinelli still judged herself harshly if she gained a pound or showed too many wrinkles. But after her mother died, she found an old recipe box with notes of the strong women that came before her, reminding her that she has to find out who she is and take care of herself. Saying, “enough already!” Bertinelli set out on a journey to love herself and see that perfection is not the goal; it’s the joy we can find every day in our lives, our loved ones, and the food we share. Recipes and advice are also sprinkled throughout the book. 

I easily remember Valerie on the TV show “One Day at a Time” and thought of her as the “girl next door” type. I was honestly quite surprised when the “girl next door” married the mega-popular rock star (which proved I was making judgements!). It was interesting to read that Van Halen was the love of her life, the person she considered her soulmate.

I could tell you so much more, because it’s obvious that she allowed herself to be authentic, humble and vulnerable in this book. If you grew up with watching her on TV, or even now as she hosts her own cooking show and co-hosts the “Kid’s Baking Championship” and want to know more about who she is as a real person, I suggest you read this book.

I’m sharing this makeshift review for my fellow readers, but there was one line – just one sentence – in this book that popped out at me and became a lightbulb moment. The sentence reads: “I was hesitant about overstepping boundaries even if I was the only one who saw them.” She puts that in her book about, when Eddie was fighting one of his battles with cancer and she wanted to give him a hug but wasn’t sure he would welcome it.

I have always been ultra-sensitive about encroaching on people’s personal space. I’m also at times ultra-sensitive about people encroaching on mine, but always about others’ space. I think this stems from the fact that there was no sense of privacy or personal space when I was growing up, and I overcompensate with others because I know what it means to me (and therefore, assume means to them). I mean, when I think about it, I’d personally rather have too much personal space than not enough. Wouldn’t you?

For example, when I meet someone and get to know them well, I will always ask, “Is it okay if I give you a hug?” rather than just stepping in to give one without considering that person’s idea of personal space.

But now, I can’t help but wonder how many times I’ve missed out on a wonderful moment by not overstepping boundaries that only I saw. A hug may not be something that shouldn’t be worried about, but a pat on the back or forearm probably wouldn’t seem inappropriate to most people, and I don’t feel it’s inappropriate when done to me, but unless I know this person well enough that we’ve hugged or cried on each other’s shoulders, I don’t feel comfortable with touching someone without knowing it’s okay. And certainly, that comes from a time in my childhood, over several years, when I was touched by someone who touched me in inappropriate ways and never cared if it was okay with me or not.

Nonetheless, since my circle of true friends is now pretty small (see my recent blog entitled “When the Circle Becomes a Dot”), I do need to be more conscious about whether I am letting my own sense of their boundaries prevent me from having a closer relationship to them.

Ugh! Apparently self-growth doesn’t end with senior citizen status!