In January 2015, I was full of ambition. I had just finished a master’s degree, my city council campaign, and a cruise to the Bahamas. I was ready to carpe diem the shit out of the new year.
On TV, I heard a bestselling author tell Oprah how she attributed her success to a vision board. I wanted to publish a book. I wanted to meet Oprah. I wanted to use modge podge.
I riffled through magazines and scrapbook paper, selecting the quotes and colors that would best represent my future self. As I cut out my favorite images, I imagined the vacations I would take, and the memories I would make.
What else did I wanted to accomplish? What else should I accomplish?
I recalled my recent book club meeting. The average age of the group is 70, but they kindly adopted me. These ladies are everything but old. Over brunch, they shared their recent adventures: political activism, concerts in the park, and tours through other countries. I listened silently, counting the years until my retirement. The truth is I never could keep up with these ladies.
I don’t remember which books we talked about that day, but I’ll never forget when the hostess mentioned she did yoga every morning before her walk around the lake. And every morning, her routine included a headstand.
Now I’ve tried to learn how to do a headstand in yoga class, but I was thwarted by my fears of falling and farting. In the security of my own home, my dogs dodged my flailing limbs. The blood rushing to my head felt less cool without the company of hipsters. But now that I knew that a 70-something could do it, so should I.
I carefully cut out the silhouette of a woman standing perfectly on her head and added it to my vision board.
Unfortunately, my body had other plans that year. Three weeks later, my legs weakened and I fell down the stairs. I quit yoga, suspecting I had over done it, but as months passed, even walking became a challenge. I spent most of the year fighting to hold on to what I had, instead on building upon it. I tucked away my vision board, hoping to regain control of my life.
This January, I stumbled across my vision board once again. I picked up it hesitantly, not wanting to stir feelings of disappointment or grief. As I studied the images, I realized I had unintentionally accomplished most of my vision for that year. For example, I read a surprising number of books as a result being stuck on the couch. When I had been given a burst of prednisone, I drove wide-eyed across the entire state to visit parks with my dogs. It was a terrible year, but there were moments of resilience.
However, in the middle of the board, I sensed the woman in the headstand laughing at me.
Oh my god. I was that woman, I realized. My world turned upside down that year. I had learned to stand on my head. How the hell was I supposed to know vision boards could be interpreted as metaphors?
I modge podged a prophecy.
So this year, I made another vision board. Much. More. Carefully.
I probably should have glued pictures of money and the Nobel Peace Prize to the board, but I try to be reasonable with the universe.
This year’s vision board features images of self-care, a quote from Mr. Rogers, and zero crazy yoga poses. There is one image that may be misinterpreted for me turning into a marshmallow, but prednisone has already accomplished that.