Can You Let It Be Enough?

For the past few weeks, we’ve been bundling little Obi up into the car and driving out to the forest near our house for a big romp in amongst the pines and eucalypts.

It’s too hot and busy for walks around our house right now, and going into the woods is serenity on tap at the end of each busy day.

Last night though, all I could think about was grocery shopping, and how I hadn’t done it, and so we had nothing to eat, and so we would have to order again, and why hadn’t I done it…

And then Obi was snout-deep in something suspicious, so I nearly missed it when Jack reached out and said:

“We’re busy. It’s okay to optimise for other things right now.”


, I don’t know about you, but it came as a fairly profound reminder to me in that moment that you do not always have to be pushing every single thing in your life forward at 100% of your capacity.

I have been thinking about this all day.

Can I let 80% great nutrition be enough, if that means that all the other important things in my life are getting the attention I want to give them right now?

Can I extend myself a little grace in that single area, given that there’s nothing else I’m willing to sacrifice right now?

What might it look like for everything else if I stopped pushing so hard?

Now, I know these essays are supposed to be about writing, not my grocery situation.

But we do this with our creativity too.

We hold it to the same crazy-high standards that we do for our work, our relationships, our health — we push and push and push ourselves to perform at our utmost in everything, and SO HELP ME if one little thing isn’t world-class.

Often that one little thing is our creative outlet, and we flay ourselves because our stories aren’t stronger, our paintings more lively, or our movements more fluid, but here’s the rub: self-flagellation makes you less creative, not more.

The well of time, energy and willingness you have for any given activity is finite.

If you want to give more focus to one thing, you have to take it from something else, especially when you’re in that season of life known as ‘hanging on for dear life’.

It is OKAY if something — creativity, fitness, career — is pootling along at 80% because you need to direct that little extra oomph elsewhere.

Nearly everything in life will bounce back when you start bringing your full attention back to it. It won’t be like this forever. What is 80% will be 100% again, and in the meantime, you might a whole new spring of energy to draw from.