The latter, much to my chagrin, can be measured only in progress, proof of which is infuriatingly subjective. See my dilemma? There are a couple of ways to look at it really:
If I were my old pessimistic self, I would say I'm in the process of forming an unaccomplishable list of nothing more than numerous sources of guilt. No matter how fluent you are in Russian, you'll never be as natural as the natives. The limbo line just keeps getting lower, and the standards just keep getting higher. You will NEVER check all those little boxes; better to give up now than die, having failed at your own list, right? And we all know I could go any day.
Remember, that was the old me.
One of these great aspirations of mine is to do away with this unrelenting pessimism. That's right, someday--albeit a day hovering, mirage-like, in the vast expanse of the distant future--I will become an optimist if it kills me. (See how optimistic that is?) With this in mind, I've decided to look at that little box as, instead, a series of boxes, each with a level (which I will establish) that I can check off once I attain it. Maybe I will even color-code them--y'know, like the levels of karate--cool. . .
Hey, it's my list; I make the rules. Laugh now, but come see me again when I'm a green-belt in Russian.
Also, I saw a beautiful film Once.