Half Measures

What comes to mind when you hear the term “half measures”? For me, my mind goes to an episode of Breaking Bad where one of the characters, Mike, confesses to Walter White the fatal consequences of Mike’s own half measures. A woman died when she didn’t have to because Mike did not go all out to protect her. He only took half measures.

The concept of half measures has not only infiltrated my thinking, but also my actions. Not that any of the decisions I have made in my life thus far have resulted in any fatalities or similar disasters for me or people around me. But I am guilty of half measures defined as making a weak, or half-assed attempt to do something important

Another thing that I remember about Breaking Bad is Walter’s favorite advice – apply yourself. I haven’t. 

In my previous life in marketing, I was fierce (and very likely, a bitch). I went all out to do a good job, and may I say, I did do a damn fine job. I have a legacy of good work I can be proud of. I applied myself, in full measure. 

The 10 years of my career is a mere blip in my four plus decades of living. What have I been doing for the other three? 

I am a starter but not a finisher. I think more than I do. I give up too easily. 

I believe we hold some kind of dubious record for taking the longest time to potty train a child. Regression happened, things got incredibly hard, I was exhausted, and gave up. This exercise was conducted in starts and stops, in spurts that didn’t last, because I didn’t apply myself.

The same goes for making my own baby food. My second child ate off my plate, and I survived six months on scraps and backwash beverages.

Over the years, I must have dreamed up half a dozen ideas to start my own business – wedding planning, party planning, a florist, a dress store, baby items, subscription boxes of locally sourced skincare products. None have come to fruition. The one business I did start took many turns to get where I truly want to be, and many times, I wanted to give up and hang up my gloves. I finally did when I realized the sizzle had fizzed. I took my accomplishments for that one and put it on a shelf to remind myself that I did do it at least once – make a go of it.

If I had applied myself to the practice of yoga, I would be able to do a freaking head stand. I did one before, easily, because I believed I could. I put aside my irrational fear of breaking my neck, and just did it. I was never able to do it again. My start and stop in yoga, annoys me tremendously because it is actually something I love to do. I make excuses as to why I don’t do it as much as I like. No time, no space, no anything. 

The same goes for running, though I actually don’t like running much. Marathon when I turn 40, I told myself. That was when I was 30 and still in full measure. There was no marathon at 40.

I don’t know if my living in half measures stem from an innate laziness, or a blase attitude, or both, but it’s pissing me off. I have no idea how to turn things around and say “Screw you, half measures! I’m going to live differently, in full measures, apply myself, and be the best me!”


I may need to watch Breaking Bad again.

Alison Lee
Alison Lee

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia w/ her husband and 4 children (two boys and boy/girl twins).