Who is this 5-year old running my life?

Posted: January 16, 2009 in procrastination, time management

Yesterday I handed in my essays within an hour of the deadline. I’d had two months to complete the assignment. After the last one went right up to the wire, I swore that I would manage my time better. I’d spread the work out over the allotted time, tackle a bit a day. Yeah, yeah, how likely was that?
This is a genuine puzzle to me. Unlike the stroppy schoolkid whose behaviour this resembles, no one is making me do this. I chose to do it. I’m paying to do it. I’m really into the subject. It’s not like the business module on my MA course, a necessary dry adjunct to what I really wanted to do. I have a rational understanding about the best way to proceed. I have a genuine desire to do it. And yet I behave as if I can only be motivated with a gun to my head.
The wizard says: it’s because your life is run by a 5-year old. Your rational self is dictated to by a child-like emotional self that will scream and scream and scream till she’s sick.
Not a pretty picture, but I suspect accurate.
I was reminded, reading the Time Traveller of the film, Forbidden Planet. It’s a 50s sci-fi version of The Tempest, where Caliban becomes the Monster from the Id. The Id, the Freudian unconscious, is here represented as a huge rampaging lustful murderous dino-gorilla. In my experience the Id is charming lotus-eater and prankster, by turns lazy and frenetically excited. More like Emily Dickinson’s:

The manner of the Children —
Who weary of the Day —
Themself — the noisy Plaything
They cannot put away —

The thing about the 5-year old is she’s not ill-intentioned. she doesn’t mean to sabotage my plans. In fact intwention is probably the wrong word. She’s a creature of the moment, easily distractible but also distracting.
M says I know how to deal with a 5-year old – which is true but rather begs the question: who is in the driving seat, who is ‘I’?

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