I did precisely that.
Back in January of 2012 I participated in my first powerlifting meet. My best lifts that day were a 374 squat, a 264 bench, and a 473 deadlift, for a 1,113 lb. total. Here's the video compilation from last Saturday's training session.
Now am I literally 5x stronger? Of course not. But those last attempts were my maxes then- especially my squat and deadlift. But what does this mean? What does this prove?
Well, it means that I'm clearly doing something right with my training. It means I've had no significant setbacks. It means I've trained consistently. It means I've continued to make slow, tiresome, incremental progress. However, in the grand scheme of things 1.5 years isn't that long of a time period. Could I have made this 5RM total six months ago? Maybe. But then again, maybe not.
What I'm getting at is this- don't lose sight of the fact that building strength is a race whose pace would bore a snail. And it's not always about how many more pounds you've added to the bar. Consider how many more reps you can do, how much faster each rep is, how much time a set takes to complete, how much more work you can do in a given amount of time.
Sure, some of that stuff isn't exactly "strength" in the true definition of the word. (Endurance, capacity, blah blah blah.) But from my perspective, always chasing 1RMs is like running a race against injury. One day you'll get beat, and then you'll be out of the race altogether.
Then you will have been stronger rather than being strong.