Lately I’ve seen my friends at the academy struggling with a problem I’ve had myself more times than I can count: men, women, elves, and goblins all wanting to do their best — wanting to give their 100 percent everyday at every opportunity. It’s an admirable thing, and honestly doesn’t even sound like a problem on the surface. Who wouldn’t want to give it their all, especially when it comes to their passions or education? I know I would.

So there I go, striding along my merry way and putting elbow grease into every project that comes in front of me — things are going great! Until they aren’t. A slip-up, or misstep, or maybe something happened to be fighting back, and I ultimately fall short. It becomes so easy to beat myself up for it, start looking at the goblin in the mirror a little differently: “You’re better than this! You’ve already done plenty of work and accomplished so much! What happened to make this time any different? Is something wrong with you?”

I start to think that maybe there is something wrong with me, because pretty soon I keep slipping up; maybe it’s a manuscript being late or a shoddy blacksmithing job, but they keep piling up and I keep taking record of them. I really do have to ask myself, why aren’t I doing my best when I know I’ve done better before?

That’s the heart of the problem: whenever I’m not working at peak-performance, knocking out task after task like it’s nothing, all whilst juggling every hobby I could imagine, I suddenly start thinking I’m squandering all my time by sparing a moment to take a deep breath. But it’s impossible to be so productive every single day of life — my best won’t always look the same from day-to-day, and that’s okay.

There comes a point where I have to accept that not every day is going to be a chance to do literally everything, and that it doesn’t make me any less worthy because my best one day wasn’t as productive as my best on another day.

It’s something everyone needs to remind themselves while dealing with the weight of the future on their shoulders, and now more than ever with so much to attend to. So just remember to lighten up on yourself when it seems like you aren’t perfect, and instead take each day on its own stride.

Tagline: “The Goblin Cave” weaves vivid imagery and prose with reflections and commentary on the world around us. Written by Ethan Reisler, “The Goblin Cave” looks at society, reality and culture from a far away land not unlike our own.