I seem to have a lot of defining moments while sitting in my car.
The one that comes to mind right now is a conversation with an editor, back when I was interning in Dubuque. I was freaked out about a story, wanting it to be more than I had time to make it be, putting way too much pressure on myself to make everything perfect and complaining about how much I had to do and how little time I had to do it.
I don’t remember exactly how the conversation went, but I remember sighing into the phone and admitting:
“I’m just trying to do the best I can with what I have.”
In July, I was reading blog posts on my phone during my lunch break, a comfortable intern habit I developed to give myself a moment to turn work off.
It was — of all things — about forgiveness, which whether or not I let it on is actually something I’ve struggled a lot with, both with myself and with other people.
The woman who wrote the post started learning to forgive when she learned this lesson:
“Most people, most of the time, are just doing the best they can.”
I had to do a lot this semester. I worked 30 or so hours a week at the Missourian, took 13 hours of classes, wrote a 20-page paper on the poetry of T.S. Eliot, produced an 80-inch story that is SO close to being done, held a leadership position in my church, made good grades, raised money for a service trip to Honduras, dealt with my first family death and somehow managed to sleep at night and have some normal social interactions.
Even as I’m finishing, though, I’m fighting not to struggle with the “what ifs.” I keep wondering if I should have tried to do less, if I should have tried to do the things I did better, if I spread myself too thin, if I should have spent more time on this and less time on that. If I stood down when I should have stuck up for myself and stuck up for myself when I should have stood down.
Maybe it’s just because it’s late at night and I’m tired. Maybe it’s because I’m still getting the hang of this “believing in myself” thing. Maybe its because I struggle with a deep-seated perfectionism that makes it hard to believe that I am enough.
But for the last several days, when I’ve been tired and I’ve fought with the fear that tells me I didn’t try hard enough, I’ve tried to remind myself:
I’m doing the best I can with what I have.
Because really, that’s all I can ask for.