Can I manifest my future?
I’ve thought about vision boards for a long time. Part of me wants to write them off as woo-woo nonsense; part of me is so eager for change that I’m ready to try anything. Moreover, many friends of mine have created vision boards, and what has ensued was success. I won’t and can’t say that their vision boards *did* anything, but I need a way to focus my energy, and….why not? Here at this crossroads, I shouldn’t poo-poo any possibilities.
Naturally, I started with a list.
I opened a new tab on my big ol’ project spreadsheet. I named it “Vision Board” and stared at it for a while. All I needed to do was jot down a few things I wanted to see in my life, beyond my basic wants. What direction do I want to go with my whole life? Sure, I know I want the bulk of my 21 challenges to be related to writing and music creation, and I know I want to incorporate healthy movement and nutrition into my daily life, but what else? I feel like I can do anything, if only I set my mind to it, but how do I choose?
I dawdled. I distracted myself with a podcast—specifically, this episode of Hidden Brain (I highly recommend that you listen to it too):
How appropriate for me in this time.
The most interesting thing I learned from the episode is that, statistically, if you are given a choice that you can change at any time (for example, you purchase an item from Nordstrom, and can decide to return it at virtually any point in the future), then you will be less happy with your selection than if you cannot reverse your decision (for example, you buy something at a going-out-of-business sale). I suppose souvenirs from our travels seem that much more precious because exchanges are infeasible. When the option to change our mind is taken away, our brains work to make us happy with our own decisions.
Well, I need to commit. I need to just decide, and move forward, because the indecision is literally making me miserable. So I started typing:
- Beach house
- Published author
- Working with kids
- Performing music
- Pole dancer
- Giving back
This list feels like a solid basic list of the things that would allow me to die happy if they were part of my life. (Not coincidentally, these match up pretty closely with the categories for my 21 x 31 challenges.) I let it stew for a bit, to see if anything else popped into my mind, or if I wanted to change things. I didn’t, which is either a good sign that I’m on the right track, or a bad sign that I’m not engaged enough in the direction of my life (hoping it’s the first one.)
Initially I wanted to create my vision board using digital tools – InDesign or PowerPoint, perhaps – because most of the imagery I had in mind was digital. I thought it might be easier to manipulate my materials, to arrange them and group them readily. But when I started to think about creating headings and choosing font faces and such, it started to feel a lot like work, and I didn’t want to do it anymore. Plus, I kept thinking about how you’re supposed to be able to see your vision board after you create it, so I’d still have to figure out how to get it printed after the fact, which started to seem expensive in addition to effortful. Instead, I sent a quick digital photo order to Walgreens, and I pulled out some supplies.
Fortunately for Current Me, Past Me went through a long phase being a single woman with extra cash on hand, and instead of saving it, I spent a gigantic chunk of it on materials and tools for all manner of crafts. I started by making a pretty poster board with some foam core I had just laying around (like you do) and this gorgeous paper I bought years ago for wedding decorations that didn’t make the time cut.
I figured, if I am going to put my hopes and dreams on a board, and look at it all the time, I want it to be beautiful. I want my life to be full of lovely things.
Next, I started organizing the photos, most of which are either stock photos that represent different ideas to me or quotes that remind me what I’m doing and inspire me to reach for these goals. I ordered more than fit on the board, and a few didn’t translate well from the screen, so I had to cull the best of the best as I started grouping them.
After trimming the photos and arranging them, I started adding my own words—Create, Perform, Write, Teach, Travel, Relax, and Give. As my board came to life, and I revisited materials used for projects in years past, I had the added pleasure and enjoyment of spending time in those dear memories.
In the end, I’m very grateful that I chose to spend hands-on time with the words and images that I want to put at the center of my life, as the result is very satisfying. It’s currently mounted to the mirror in our upstairs bathroom, where the light in the house is best, and I can start every morning with a clear view of the road ahead of me.
What do you think? Do you have a vision board?