I’ve talked a lot about goals around here. In the last few years of blogging, they’ve not only become a big part of my writing, but they have literally become a part of who I am.
I want to share the piece I wrote in early February about goals, growing up, and how they’ve affected the person I have become today. I originally wrote it as my application to become a season 6 Stratejoy blogger, but realize now why I didn’t make it in the final choices.
The reason I decided that today was the day to share with you what I wrote is because I finally came to terms with not being chosen. I was never SO upset about it, but when the choice is solely based on your writing, something you put so much time and energy in, you can’t help but wonder if you’re simply failing at something you love. This weekend was a great morale booster for me though in terms of my successes and my failures, and it has pushed me towards wanting to share my application.
It may not have been right for Stratejoy, but I’d like to think it’s the kind of thing I would have written as a post for my blog at some point, so now I’d like to share it here to be able to look back on one day.
When I turned twenty, I realized I was struggling at living life, but I didn’t want to anymore. I was moving into a new age category, leaving college to attend University, beginning to travel; basically experiencing parts of my life I had previously left unexplored. Only two years later, I’m still struggling, but I’m working really hard to do the things that make me happy. My name is Melissa, I’m twenty two years old, and every single day life teaches me something entirely new.
One of my biggest ‘life-teaching’ moments happened just a few months after I turned twenty. Shortly after my birthday I stumbled across the website www.dayzeroproject.com, and on a whim I joined. The website allows you to create a list of 101 goals to complete in 1,001 days and keep track of them. I thought “that sounds like a fun project, why not give it a shot?” which is exactly what I did. I made a list of 101 goals I wanted to try, posted them on my blog, and began to accomplish them. I had no idea at the time that this list would take me through some of my most important years.
The picture I attached for this application was taken at Halloween in 2010, just after I turned twenty-one. At this point I was one year into my 101 Project and although I wouldn’t realize it for another year, I had begun to take BIG chances on myself. Around Month Six, I took my curly dark brown hair to the hairdresser’s, cut it short, and dyed the bottom layer a bright color. Fast forward to the time this photo was taken and one of my favorite goals was being captured on camera for me to look back on; I dyed part of my hair a different color. Actually, the goal was to “dye part of my hair purple”- a thing I wanted to try from the age of thirteen and never had the guts to do- but by the time I had put my Snow White costume on I was well into my fourth different color… Purple was just the beginning.
I’ve lived a big part of my life in the shadows. I grew up loving books and hating sports, occasionally being teased at school & immediately taking it to heart, and constantly undervaluing myself. In high school I was the introverted girl who did well but didn’t really stand out. In college I got by but didn’t do anything noticeable. When I turned twenty, I didn’t want to be the girl that no one remembered anymore. I realized I hadn’t even begun to live yet and there was SO MUCH I wanted to do. Even though the idea of change terrified me, I was becoming accustomed to the idea of leaving my comfort zone. Born from these feelings were my 101 Goals and my determination to stand out with bright colored hair.
It’s an older photo of me, considering we live in an era where digital pictures are taken on a daily basis, but I think it still expresses the most authentic version of myself for one major reason: at twenty-one, I was beginning to understand that I didn’t understand much at all, except that there were parts of my life I wanted to work on. I was doing just that, and pretty darn happy about it too!
As I sit here and write about some of my struggles and accomplishments, I realize even more how different I am, and continue to become with every new goal I cross off my list. My hair is back to brown, but I wear my bright colors in different ways now. I can openly admit that I am flawed, but the goals that I set for myself every single day allow me to take little steps in the direction of the young adult I hope to be in a few more years. I’m living each experience for myself; searching for my happiness and wondering what life is going to throw at me next.