October 17, 2012


I have always been fascinated with measurements. I love the exact practice of measuring, the way this exactness juxtaposes with the variety of units available: such a wide range of specific interpretations for the same actual amount of something or other. I remember learning about some of these units when I was small, working hard to grasp the differences between centimeters and inches, kilometers and miles, feet and yards, and so on. Certain units and conversions have stuck with me (5280 feet = one mile, three teaspoons = one tablespoon), but many have fallen into the space of lost learnings as my life unfolds. 
I am intrigued by the varietal qualities of measurement: how the units one might use to measure this or that will change not only with substance or subject, but will shift also with cultures, languages and geography as we experience new contexts. I am grateful for the tools that help me to measure and remind me how to convert from one language or unit of measurement to another. As I aspire to practice proficient exactitude in my measurements, I find comfort in the sense that there are clear answers out there, available and consistent when I need them. And these answers are no less clear because of the many forms they take; they simply offer clarity in new ways. 
With each passing week, month, and year, I become aware of even more forms that measurements can take. Pleasing your superiors, cultivating friendships, achieving goals, and knowing oneself: these are just a few of the measurements we might take on a daily basis. Calendars, birthdays and anniversaries become points for consistent and repetitive life measurements. (I have a birthday coming up, can you tell? I am already thinking of this year's measure...) My affinity for measurements can be a wonderful tool for motivation, and a driving force for my ambitions in life, especially in my creative practice. But these measurements can also become suffocating or defeating, when I fail to achieve something I had intended. 
Recently, I am trying to consider the concept of measurement in a new way. Just as physical measurements change when working with different elements or in different environments, perhaps my own sense of personal measurement might change based on the reality of my current life. It is so easy to commit to the same measurements used in past or to consider only the measurements of your future hopes and dreams. But what about right now? 
These last few weeks have been busy, and I am quick to grow discouraged because I have not been writing as much. But this business is a natural winding of my path, a change that has found me, rather than vice versa. And rather than holding fast to my previous units of measurement, which counted my progress based on days spent with time to write, I want to create new measurements which can embrace the present. I want to write as much as I can, and embrace the limited availability of "now." Perhaps this will help me to delight in sneaking in as much writing as possible and being proud of my efforts, however small. My hope is that finding a new measurement for now will result in new pride, as well. And from there, perhaps I can build up my joy and confidence even more as my days transition in the weeks to come, back to more time for writing and creating.
What kinds of measurements do you embrace in your life? Do you measure in the present, or do you struggle to hold yourself up against past and future? 

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