There's a snow globe that sits on my bedroom dresser.
A casual observer might have thought it was just a souvenir during spring break at the French Quarter of New Orleans.
To me, it's a reminder that I'm a workaholic.
More than 15 years ago, my sisters decided they wanted to take a trip to New Orleans. The Big Easy. The town that serves hot, spicy crawdads with smooth, silky jazz. And a place I had always wanted to visit.
But did I go?
My excuse? I had to work.
Looking back, what I "had" to do was get some desperate rest and relaxation. Instead, I was trying to slowly kill myself by hunching over a keyboard and slamming down Pepsis like it was oxygen.
I never thought it was a big deal. What did I have to feel guilty about? I didn't have a husband, kids, a pet or even a plant. It was just me, and I wasn't ignoring anyone, except maybe myself. But I was young, and I was convinced that this Libra would learn to find balance in her life.
When my sisters presented me with the globe, I thought it was a cool piece to keep on a shelf. It wasn't until several years later, however, that I realized what that globe really represented.
It was August 2005 and Hurricane Katrina blew into New Orleans, destroying people's homes, hopes and dreams. I couldn't stop crying watching those news reports.
One evening after work (at a new job), I tore myself away from the news to get something out of my bedroom. And there it sat, moonlight flickering through the blinds and settling into the sparkly water in the globe from New Orleans. I realized I would never see the town Before the Storm. Any historical elements of the original Big Easy had been swept out to sea.
I'd like to say that the next day, I changed my evil ways. But my life isn't a rom-com and I'm not Julia Roberts.
I had slowly been doing things that were outside of my comfort zone. For instance, I took country line-dancing classes (lifetime member, thankyouverymuch). But changing your lifestyle has to be more conscious effort. I always found myself falling back to old ways, picking a nap over a night out. Because it's always easier to delve into work than it is to delve into living your life, I guess.
The good news is here at The Herald-Mail, I've found the balance I was looking for at work. But at the beginning of this year, I realized that in 2012, I was up for a "big" birthday.
And I did what any normal single, 38-year-old (I'll be 39 in October) woman with two cats would do — I panicked and wondered if I had ignored my social life for way too long.
So I'm kicking off my blog, "Crystal Gets a Life," (one of 10 other blogs at www.herald-mail.com/opinion/localblogs) asking people in the community to send suggestions or invites to events, activities or something new to experience. Yes, I'm inviting myself to the party, but we already know I'm slightly socially backward.
Does it have to be outrageous? Nope, as long as it isn't something that will get me maimed, killed or arrested. It just has to get me from looking at that snow globe and wishing I would have said yes to the French Quarter.
So as I start this journey, I take words from the Cajuns: "Laissez les bons temps rouler" or "Let the good times roll."
Crystal Schelle is Lifestyle editor of The Herald-Mail. She can be reached at 301-791-7136 or by email at email@example.com. Read her blog, "Crystal Gets a Life" at www.herald-mail.com/opinion/localblogs, or Hagerstownblogs.com/crystal_gets_a_life. And follow her on Twitter at @crystalschelle.