Halves …

You know that saying “she never does anything by halves” ?

That’s me.

All my life I have been driven and competitive with myself. As a child I liked to win games, not because I wanted t beat others, but because I wanted to do the very best possible. I would run to take messages at school, because it was faster than if i walked; as an adult if I’m running each 5k time has to be better than the last 5 k time… More negatively, when I buy stuff, I never buy the perfectly adequate  middle of the road version – it’s ALWAYS the top of the range model …

This coming week I’ve taken a few days annual leave. Already my time is filled with those things I never get the time to do when I’m working, see the dentist, optician, take the dog to the pooch parlour, doctors appointment, blood test, take dog to the vet, hair cut and colour, school day out with number 3  … And in addition I have decided that it is ESSENTIAL that I spring clean the entire house …(why WHY??? )

Now we don’t live in a mansion, the house is about 200 sq m (that’s 2000 sq feet), but there are 5 people and one collie dog living here as well as assorted friends colleagues and sundry folk through the house …and we have a cleaner, who is great but she just keeps on top of stuff day to day … So, after my mammoth bedroom clean yesterday, today I tackled the utility room.

I took virtually everything out, washed the floor, shelves, woodwork and cupboards. I threw away loads of stuff that we don’t actually need (shhhh don’t tell anyone !)  Then I re populated the shelves / cupboards with stuff we do need, in an ordered and logical way. Then my competitive edge came to the fore again and I decided we need a steam cleaner to lift the dirt-of -ages from the floor – once again , no second rate, middle of the road steam cleaner for me; no I bought the most expensive one in the shop,(maybe this is why I have ongoing financial problems) 

Now you might ask why I feel that I have to clean on top of all the general maintenance things I need to do. With a few precious days off I could rest, read a few books, walk the dog in a leasuirely way, get out my art box and start a new painting (or finish the three that are “almost there”)   Do some baking / cooking to a) eat good food and b) fill up the freezer. It not that I’m short of ways to fill my time ….

It’s not like I don’t believe I deserve a rest. I work FT running a practice with my two partners. I’m a Busy busy GP; I have 3 kids, I have a home to keep, a struggling relationship and friends who need my support … Maybe I feel that the mental stress if I don’t sort the house out, will be worse that the effects of doing it … Alternatively, tomorrow morning I get in the car and disappear somewhere for a few days on my own …. No, I recognise that I do a lot, and that most people would struggle to do what I do and it’s reasonable for me to have “time out” ( at least logical I know this)

But I literally cannot ignore this now, the pull to complete the house cleaning will not let me be … Of course this leaves me vulnerable to the T (ired) part of HALT ; but also the A (ngry) because I feel like no one else In The house is pulling their weight in keeping the place tidy. This leaves me feeling L (only)  … Sigh. 

It’s served me well countless times, this internal drive to succeed; right now I wonder what it would be like to be a middle-of-the-road, good enough, sensible person….

Lily 🌷


  1. I think when you work full time it is easy to overdo everything on your days off. Nobody can clean my house as well as I can! So if poor hubby tries to help me out by cleaning when I am out I smile appreciatively but all I can see are the spots he has missed!
    My need to buy the very best is HUGE in regards to my addiction but not so bad in real life. When collecting things I have paid $$$$$ for the rarest and most expensive items. Nearly lost our home at one stage because of the financial mess I got in but that’s another story.
    Be kind to yourself ❤️❤️

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  2. I think I have written about something similar.
    I have been just like you. My sister once said she used to hate me because everything I do is exceptional. I don’t just practice yoga, I teach. I didn’t meditate, I wrote a book on meditation, etc.

    Honestly, I know some of that is good- it has served me well in a good carter, a nice house, etc.

    But sometimes it it a protective mechanism. If I do it exceptionally, no one can question me. My facade is in place. I am fine.

    Ah…I am fine. Always scary words!

    At 2 1/2 years into this path of sobriety and self acceptance I continue to work on finding the middle road. It is where peace of mind lives.

    Didn’t tire yourself out! No one is looking at the floor!


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  3. Chronic ‘being busy’ is also a form of addiction – keeps us in the human doing rather than being a human ‘being’ 🙂 Without wishing to sound like the local book pimp another recommendation coming up! Brene Brown – The Gifts of Imperfection xx

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  4. A therapist once pointed out to me that often times when people are feeling out of control internally they tend to overcontrol everything externally. I’ve certainly been guilty of that! I’ve done the house cleaning thing-getting so pissed off doing it both my SO and dog took themselves off to a safe place! And a week later? Back to the way it was! Make some time for yourself in these days off-a massage, acupuncture, a nice lunch out. You deserve it!

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  5. Great comments above and not much to add except to support the idea of letting go. Let go. Let go. Let go. Let go. Perfection and control is all wanting, just another desire that we reach out for in the hope that we will feel satisfied and content. It’s an illusion which we all know, but letting go is easier said than done. A massage is a great start! Just don’t take the family and pets with you!

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  6. Hi Lily!
    I understand the need to clean and throw things.
    I like to have a clean hose because I can think better, and it lets me feel lighter.
    But I also know I need some time away from my “real” life!


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