The Safety of Routine

Last week, I had a strange, yet  kind encounter with a co-worker. It’s been rewinding over and over in my head since. I don’t want to go too much into his personal details, I’ve worked with him on a project here and there, but other than that, we don’t talk much.

I was at my desk, working on who remembers what, with my infamous giant white headphones on. He stopped over, and I smiled, genuinely happy to catch up with him, and removed my earphones, greeting him with an enthusiastic “Hi!”.

He looked at me and said, “That is the first time I have seen you smile in weeks. i just wanted to stop over and see if you were OK.”

I was stunned. His words bit me a little. I scrambled, trying to think of why I would look so unhappy. I’ve been pretty stressed, true, I was recovering from a kidney infection, and also, a little stale creatively.

I got a bit choked up. I told him about my sickness, we talked a little about work, and that was it. But I’ve thought about it ever since, how perceptive near strangers can be.

I have been down. I’ve been writing a bit, trying to get back into art, but nothing seems to flow as easily as it once did. Call it writer’s block, call it changing of the seasons… but it’s frustrating for someone who depends so much on creativity.

The past few years have been a roller coaster for me. I’ve described it to others as an enormous room with hundreds of lightbulbs, that little by little, blew out. Some of course, were by my own doing, but it didn’t change the impact it had on me. My heart has grown weary and tired, mostly, of being disappointed, disheartened.

After some soul searching, I couldn’t help but recall my old days over at Melissa’s 100. That was a time in my life, personally and professionally, I was truly enlightened. I broke out of a shell of normalcy, into a world of opportunity. It was the best I’ve ever been.

When Melissa’s 100 was coming to an end, I remember feeling really depressed. Perhaps I had just overdosed on the adventure, you know, the potential of that project, and I was finally breaking back into a normal routine. I’m not sure. I just really didn’t want to end it, and although I tried to keep it going, I knew that chapter was over. Done.

Which brings me to now.

I’m in a very different place in my life now, than I was when I started working on my 100 list. I’ve since started this blog, taken on freelance projects, moved from Philadelphia, etc. I’m not the same person, but I still have the same hunger, the same thirst for adventure and enlightenment.

It wasn’t all the exposure and glitz of it. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t exciting, but honestly, my favorite part of it was feeling as if I was pursuing a dream. Really challenging myself. Opening myself up to the world.

So my thought is… maybe, just maybe, I need a little of the magic Melissa’s 100 had. I’m older, wiser, with much more ambition and if possible, confidence. Could I do it again? Could I do it better, and this time around, for me?

Of course I could. Last time, people thought I was absolutely insane, but I didn’t lose faith. I knew I was a little different, heck, even a little weird or overly idealistic, but I’ve long since gotten used to the idea that I, as an individual, do not enjoy the safety of routine. Being what some people consider as self-serving or hey, yeah, selfish, can be a bit lonely sometimes – my own mother does not understand it.

It all comes down to faith. I know, I just know, that the Universe, God, has a plan for me. I know this for sure. So as you can imagine, just the idea of resurrecting a form of Melissa’s 100 sends me into a girly fit of excitement.

I have a current project that I’m working on that I’m seriously considering implementing my 100 strategy into. I won’t say too much about it, just that it’s big and exciting, and kind of wonderful. I’ve been very fortunate to meet a lot of incredibly supportive friends here in Wilmington, who actually seem to love the idea. Very early stages, but still, exciting stages.

So, just hang tight, more news on that coming soon. In the meantime, if you’re feeling down, try to find your best self, even if you haven’t seen them in awhile. You might be surprised what comes out of it.


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Vanessa (5 years ago)

Melissa – I am so proud of you! You remember to take your own advice and hang in there! You are your best self and you deserve nothing but the best from yourself and everyone else: 24/7. So glad our paths crossed in this journey and that I now have another “forever friend”. Love you!

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