Beware of vision boards

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.

My 2015 vision board
My 2018 vision board

5 thoughts on “Beware of vision boards

  1. Hi. I found your journal entry very inspiring 🙂 You have quite the talent for modge podging! I think this is just the thing to help me through my indoor winter here in sluggish, soggy Seattle. The first picture up at the top of the journal entry really resonated with me. Yes, the pic of the benadryl tabs! I have been sick for at least 10 years, and now that I read more about this disease, I believe I have been sick for 8 more. All of my dr’s thought, and those of current do, think it’s in my head. They don’t say it, but I can see it oozing from every facial muscle. They give me advice like “Wear better shoes”, or “eat more fiber”. Look silly doctors, either you think you know all there is to know about human medicine or you are just too tired to care about me! Every few months I bury myself online in PUBMED and Consumer Lab. I am lucky in the fact that I have a medical background and although it’s not in use because I stopped working in 2015 because of this mystery illness, I can still use it to extrapolate from medical research. After reading an article about Non-Clonal Mastocytosis, I thought to myself, well I have access to OTC antihistamines so let’s start there. Not shitting you. After beginning those magical hot pink pills and Cetirizine, I felt less lethargic and started to need less sleep. There is another piece of this puzzle that I am missing and that’s the Zaditor (mast cell stabilizer) because this baby is not OTC. I contemplated making an appointment with my doctor to request we try it out but I was so fearful that she might look at me in that special way, I thought let me give it more time. Maybe this improvement is all in my head? No, can’t be. I have not responded positively to any medications they have ever prescribed me. It. Must. Be. So, I ordered this nutraceutical product called Neuroprotek. It’s supposed to help stabilize Mast Cells. I have ordered thousands of supplements over the years and I have hoped they were working but never did see any sort of improvement outwardly. I’ll be damned. That thing started to take away some of the swelling in my fingers! I could feel the tips of my fingers a bit better! After a few more days, my legs started to become easier to pick up. The weightiness, like they were dipped in cement, decreased! That’s how I come to this point. I am so sorry you are suffering from this disorder. But I wanted to thank you for your blog. I appreciate you sharing. Hoping you have many more good days ahead! Best to you 🙂

  2. This is great! I am glad that vision boarding has served you well. Chronic illness does have quite a way of turning life on its head, doesn’t it? But I love that, despite it, we can still have vision for our lives, still have dreams and reach our goals. But those goals and dreams definitely have to evolve and be realistic, and include a healthy heaping of self care.

  3. Wow, dear, this post is absolutely amazing! The way your describe your feelings and thoughts about how your vision board affected you really gave me another perspective! Thank you so much for sharing this!

Leave a Reply