It’s my second Throwback Thursday – so that means it’s time to take another trip in the Way-Back Machine! Target year: 2009
The project I’m going to share was inspired by a simple sentence. A friend was telling me how her daughter was stressed about college/work/life and how those things are all supposed to equal success….but she didn’t feel successful compared to her friends. My friend had said to her:
“Now, wait a minute…”
are you measuring yourself by?”
My world literally stopped as those words echoed through my head. What a great question to ask yourself! Whose standards are you trying to live up to? Whose hopes and dreams are you trying to fulfill? Yours…or someone else’s?
Truth be told, I am notorious for comparing myself to others, and let me assure you – it’s not a way to live. Living in a constant (imaginary) competition is exhausting. It causes you to lose sense of your actual goals, and more importantly, your own accomplishments. Striving to be a better person = good. Striving to be a better person than Peter, Paul or Mary = silly.
My lack of employment at the time only compounded my habit of comparing myself to others. When you’re unemployed, you’re constantly reading job descriptions, and writing cover letters trying to convince people that you measure up to their yardsticks. Not to mention all of your employed friends, with their seemingly extra-successful yardsticks. Eventually, you really wish you could stop measuring yourself at all.
Needless to say – this phrase was something I needed to hear at the time! This question – those exact words – have stuck with me for years now. We all have our own yardsticks. I don’t need to measure up to someone else’s – I just need to measure up to MINE.
So, I made MY very own yardstick:
I bought a metal yardstick, set up my make-shift studio [middle of living room floor], and made a list of all the characteristics that make up an Amy (specifically: this Amy). I ranked each one….what am I mostly made up of? What are some of my smaller, yet still there, qualities? I then painted my qualities onto my yardstick in bright, contrasting colors.
My characteristics run the gamut. I didn’t want it to be all positives…we’re all made up of positives and negatives.
There are definitely some characteristics that were a result of my (un)employment status, for example: lazy, scared and pessimistic. Those were common feelings back then….SO glad those days are behind me!
Many of the characteristics are still accurate: Creative, loud, indecisive, bubbly….they’re all at the top of my yardstick and still ring true. Perfectionist is also there :P Observant and oblivious are 2 characteristics that share the same space. That’s b/c I’m truly 50-50…it just depends. Other characteristics that I still measure up to: passive, silly, worrier, grounded, analytical and weird.
This was a really fun, and healthy, project! A good dose of self-reflection combined with acrylic paints :) My yardstick is a colorful reminder of the qualities that I want to live up to. What qualities and colors would make up your yardstick? Do you think a yardstick from 6 years ago would still be accurate for you today? Better yet – are their any phrases that gave you a new or refreshing perspective on life?
I think I’ll be skipping Throwback Thursday next week, so that I can focus on getting my rice and lavender heating pad tutorial up!