Posted on Monday 4th September 2006 at 00:00
Have you ever noticed how the amount of willingness one feels to carry out a task is directly proportional to the length of time remaining until he must undertake it or the number of obstacles he can put in his way? The must obvious example would be someone committing over Christmas to a new exercise regime come the New Year. Whilst sat at the dinner table or in the arm chair in front of the fire or TV, one can convince themselves of the joys of getting fit and how this time it'll be different, this time he'll stick at it. However, come January 1st something changes in him and he suddenly realizes in one horrible moment what a complete pile of sweating testicles his mind has been feeding him over the holidays. Of course he doesn't want to exercise and never will do. The thought of it is monstrous and goes whole heartedly against the grain in every fiber of his being. For the rest of the day one is confused and revolted at how he was able to spin himself such lies and believe them to. Such a scenario is not just applicable to exercise, although as a failed gym going type it is an example that is somewhat close to home. Another one that has struck me in recent times is coursework preparation and exam revision, something I must confess I have never been able to commit to when the time came. At the beginning of the year I'll happily tell anyone who will listen that this time things will be different; this time I'll make the effort, dot he work and get the grades. Then as the year wears on and the work becomes closer I start to feel tired and to lose interest and when the work finally arrives, I decide the only thing to do is to do everything very properly and so as not to afford myself any distractions I'll do everything else I have to do first. As one can well imagine, a busy person with a computer can kill many hours or days trying to do all the things he has to do and so, inevitably, the work in question has been reduced to one night's bitter half assed efforts that rarely amount to jack above the minimum. However the example that is most obvious to me just now is that of packing. Every year I finish uni and have to rush to pack up all the stuff I failed to sort out before hand. Invariably everything gets thrown into bags, boxes and bin liners and carted off home where it spends months in the loft. Every year I swear to myself that over the summer I'm going to tidy it up and organize what I need to take back for the next year and every time I put it off and put it off until I've left it so late that everything has to be taken back out of the loft and shoved straight back in the car to return to uni. Two years ago I went to Kenya and while I was there I kept a diary. Upon returning I wrote up the diary and placed it on the internet and as it happens I was still doing this when I moved to uni for the first time. The diary went with me in order that I could keep it at uni for the first week or so and finish writing it up. Just a week or so, and yet as I glance over the pile of bags, boxes, cases, ruck sacks and odds and ends lying around waiting to be taken back to uni on the morrow, I can still see the little red diary poking out from one of the boxes.