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Week 3

June 28, 2011

I should be using these weekly dispatches as biopsies of my progress, evidence of the idea that somehow I am moving forward. Professors taught us, or tried to teach us, that progress is a fallacy stapled onto history, enabling those who permitted conquest and blood and segregation to look their grandkids in the eyes and whisper in a hollow, unconvinced voice that: “we did what we had to.”

Progress by some definition is inevitable. It does mean “advancement of some sort” after all. Which is time, in its most basic layer. The ticking of a clock towards the end of its own life. The slow, curious erosion of a machine destroyed by the constant it measures. When it’s all done, when everything is fully burned you, and all you can do is sincerely hope that you’ve not wasted the energy in making this machine measuring a constant, you want to look at something, and honestly whisper: “We did what we had to.”

That’s the Glorious Five Year Plan to me, in many ways. I launched it when I was younger and frustrated and wanted to get something done. So I created a machine to both monitor and spur my actions. Hoping that progress could be a constant, knowing that in many ways, I was merely throwing away some time.

That everything I do is just moving me forward, in one way or another.

When all is said and done, I am fully aware that I won’t be looking into myself in the mirror and confidently telling myself that the Glorious Five Year Plan was a great idea, but I hope to be able to say at least it was a good idea. That I made the most of it. That it didn’t take over my life, deny me opportunities, but instead create them. That maybe it allowed me to do something valuable both for myself and for others.

When asked why I follow the Glorious Five Year Plan, I can only ever answer: “I do what I have to, because I don’t know what else to do.”

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