Highly Commended in the International Category of the 2015 BBC Wildlife Blogger Awards

Do I Do Enough?

It’s midnight. I’ve been on my laptop all day and I’ve just had a glass of wine to wind down. Before I go to bed, I check my inbox and browser tabs one last time to see if I’ve missed anything. Oh yes, there’s that blog post I wanted to read. Okay, might as well do it now. I click to open What if All I Want is A Mediocre Life?

I don’t know if it’s the tiredness or the wine or my general state of mind, but I grab a pen and a piece of paper and note down the jumble of thoughts that surfaces in reaction to what I read. Here they are, more or less as I wrote them. I don’t really know what I’m trying to say. Maybe only that, unlike the author of the blog post, I seem to have lost the ability to be content with a “mediocre” life.

Trash in the coastal desert of Peru. Photo: Jessica Groenendijk, Words from the Wild

Do I Do Enough?

There are so many things I’m expected to be, so many things I have to do.

I have to be ageless, a follower of fashion, a size 10 (if not an 8).

I have to be a loving wife, a devoted mother, a ‘Mom’ to at least one adopted dog.

I have to have a career, be well educated, gain new skills.

I have to be a feminist, anti-racist, an activist, a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights.

I have to be a fitness guru, a vegan, a donor (of blood, or money, or both).

I have to reduce my carbon footprint, use less plastic, buy Fair Trade, palm oil free,

I have to be hopeful, follow my passion, live my dream.

I have to do my best, make every day count, as if each is my last.

Some of these things are more important to me than others; I think I'm doing okay with those.

The one question that torments me, day in, day out, is: Do I do enough?

In Aldo Leopold's “world of wounds”, am I making a difference?

Will I make a difference?

And the answer is always,


It’s never enough.

It can never be enough.

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