For a few months now, nearly everything I’ve done has been mediocre. I’m just barely getting all my work done, and it’s not as creative as I know my work can be. I’m making Bs in graduate school. I skip many of my weekly volunteer days. My house looks clean, as long as you don’t look under, behind, or inside anything. Exercise is walking to meetings all day and 15 minutes of stretching at night, if I don’t fall asleep first. Gmail has stopped counting the emails in my inbox; now they just say I have “many.” This post was due yesterday.

It’s not that I’m busy, because it’s about energy more than time. We all have limited amounts of energy. When we choose to spend it in one place, we’re pulling it from somewhere else. We can do a little of a lot, or a lot of a little, or try to find a balance in between. I have so many friends who do so many things, they feel like they can’t come up for air. Other friends feel like they’re not productive enough because all their energy goes to their family or their job or the book they’re writing. They’re mostly women—in my experience, we tend to put more pressure on ourselves this way. We’re all trying to find the balance, but we all need to swing a little far to the left or right sometimes. We don’t expect other people to be excellent at everything all the time. Why do we demand it of ourselves?

So this is where I am right now. Mediocre strong. Adding shame to the mix won’t help, so good enough will have to be good enough until I can do something about it. Projects will close. The semester will end. There will be new opportunities to say yes and no, and I’ll reallocate. For now? It’s all getting done, and that’s something to be proud of.

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