I watched all of "Breaking Bad" over the past few weeks (highly recommended) and there's this one quote that's stuck with me. This menacing "fixer" guy named Mike (don't worry, this isn't going to be a major spoiler or anything) tells Walt (Bryan Cranston, a.k.a. the dad from "Malcolm in the Middle") this long, super intense story about a time he was working as a cop and had the chance to kill this terrible guy who was abusive to his wife. Instead of killing the guy though, Mike threatened him and let him go; a few weeks later, the guy ended up murdering his wife. Says Mike, "The moral of the story is: I chose a half-measure when I should have gone all the way."
Obviously the specifics of his story are not applicable to my own life in any way, but the message really struck a chord. I feel like I'm almost always settling for half-measures and, when I started to think about it, they rarely pan out all that well. I'll get this idea for something I want to do (anything from sending an e-mail to a cute dude to moving to France for a few months) and then I'll get in my own head and talk to people about it and start feeling all self-conscious and come up with all these reasons I should scale back and go with a half-measure instead. ("Instead of an e-mail, I'll... friend him on Facebook and wait until I see him again in eight months!" "Instead of moving to France for a few months, I'll... take a weekend trip upstate!") The risk and, of course, the reward are both diminished.
I've also been thinking about how the internet is this great enabler of half-measures. There's this degree of separation that social networks provide that makes it so easy to hold back -- to end a terse e-mail with a "hope everything's well," to write a passionate blog post anonymously, to not say what you really want to be saying -- and that's, ultimately, completely numbing. It's enough to make you want to scream; but instead you gchat a ":-("