Goals… & an Introduction to my QLC


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.

7 responses »

  1. I enjoy reading what you write and this is no different. Its encouraging to see that you’ve grown through this journey, that’s one of the reasons o started my list. Its moving slowly and I don’t believe I write as well as you, but one of the things I an enjoying about blogging is running into pages like this. The ones I watch everyday to see what’s going on and get inspiration. I think you’re doing well and I really enjoy reading what you have to say.

  2. Wow, this is oddly similar to how I’ve been feeling about my own life. I’m your age, and I can easily look back over the past several years and see just how much I’ve changed in a relatively short period of time. People from high school probably don’t remember much about me. I never cared to come off as smart, or funny, or fashionable. College was an improvement, but with the typical lower-classman mistakes a lot of us make. Now, I’ve really come to love who I am, and, whereas it maybe never even crossed my mind, I make it a point to constantly be improving myself. I think your list is a good way of doing that, and it’s really neat you’re able to cross so many things off of it!

  3. As always i enjoyed reading your blog and like karen i think you’re a great writer. i posted an old post at the weekend and cringed at my writing just short of a year ago. but as you told me recently you look back on a post once loved just a week later and not like it. it’s still apart of you and your writing though.

  4. I am so proud of you for posting this, Melissa! That photo of your is the cutest. 🙂

    You are on such a better path than I was when I was in college. I was still content to blend into the shadows and live life in small ways. It’s just been in the past few months that I’ve really started discovering what I want out of life and the scary steps I am willing to take to get there.

    There is such freedom in admitting that we are flawed and being okay with our flaws. I think we live so much of our younger years trying to find perfection that when we let it all go and focus on loving ourselves for who we are? That’s where we’ll find our joy & peace.

  5. This is beautiful Melissa! I know what you mean about “living in the shadows,” and it can be hard to break that tendency. I wish you all the luck in the world, as usual!

  6. I am enjoying reading people’s QLC entries because I find them so relatable. And being a bit older (31) I always just want to hug you and say – it gets so much better. Trust me. And I know I don’t need to tell you that because you know it, too. I was in your shoes, figuring out who I was, what I wanted, and who I wanted to be, and I am still figuring those things out, but I gained so much confidence in my 20s, just as you have and will.

    And really, you are more well-poised to get through this phase because you are way more self-aware than I was at your age. Back then, no one had blogs, and facebook didn’t even exist… So there was less introspection and more plodding through life. I think it’s a huge benefit to have the blogging community and a platform to express yourself and get feedback/encouragement from others going through the same thing.

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