I’m looking at a vision board that’s hanging on my bedroom wall. For the unfamiliar, a vision board is a collection of images of things you want or are drawn towards. It’s loosely tied to the idea of manifestation: if you visualise and think enough about what you want, it will come. For me it was a fun way to get rid of old magazines by ripping out my favourite images and words, then merging them into a mural of sorts. I did this 2-3 years ago.
I’m half embarrassed to write about it as it seems such a childish thing. But then again, why is being like a child perceived as a negative? When I spend time with my niece I’m always impressed by her ability to name what she wants. “I want you to read me a story” she’ll state. No apology, no qualifying, no ‘if it’s convenient, if you get a moment, if you don’t mind’. Here’s the thing I want and you can tell me if it’s not possible. I sometimes wonder why adults make life so complicated.
So on the vision board I have some cosy interior photos – a large iron frame bed with soft lighting in a room with exposed stone walls. This reminds me of a B&B I stayed in Barcelona. It was in an old building with a beautiful staircase and heavy front door, one of those experiences where you know you’ve made a good choice as soon as you walk in. The room was facing the street with lots of light and space. Perhaps it had a small balcony. I notice that although my own bedroom is tiny and nothing much like the dreamy image, I do have a metal bed frame and recently put faux-brick tiles on one wall! There is also a photo of a large arm chair and fireplace, which is definitely for a future living space.
Close to the chair photo is a pile of books and a glass of wine. I’ve also pasted the cover of a book Things a bright girl can do, which oddly I’ve never read. Apparently it’s a story about suffragettes and courageous women, so that must have been what spoke to me. Better put it on my reading list.
There are many travel references. A card from my friend about Paris is a favourite. We share a dream of French life working from our laptops in apartments and coffee shops. There is also a swimming pool and lush garden, with the word ESCAPE pointedly stuck right in the middle. I’ve thought of escaping so much in the past years. During the recent heatwave, I jumped in the car after a stuffy working day in my flat in front of the screen. I drove all the way to the coast in Portsmouth. There was traffic, a struggle finding parking space and I forgot my towel. But I persevered! At 8pm I walked straight down to the sea, dropped my stuff and went for a quick swim. I ate fish and chips sitting on the beach with the moon overhead. Then I drove back in the dark. It was a long way to go for a short break from monotony, but well worth it.
I’ve also got a headline saying The Rise of the Second-Act Career. That’s a pertinent one. I’ve already changed my career direction a few times, but see the need to keep learning and identifying new opportunities. Some days this requirement to continually reinvent feels tiring and some days it is exciting. I wonder about combining my love of writing with work more, about whether I can find a way to weave the things I’m personally interested in to making money. Confidence has always been an issue. A pink beermat on the board reads Take F****** Risks. It was from a series of events with speakers Cindy Gallop and Grace Dent. It doesn’t fit with all the sophisticated and tasteful images, but of course that’s the point. I need to be brave enough to disrupt the conventional narrative. I already have, somewhat unintentionally.
The topic of goals has come up on a course I’m doing with Rainmakers Academy, part of Rainchq. It’s all about financial empowerment for women and has got me reviewing pensions, investments and making sure I know what’s what. I’m working through a module which asks you to focus on one major life goal to work towards. Maybe it’s due to the sense of limbo and unpredictability of the pandemic, maybe my personal life stage, but I’m not sure what this should be. I asked my Dad what he remembers about being my age and he said nothing much, he was too busy! I would have been 8 years old, my sister was 6 and he was working hard to provide for us as a teacher. I guess he wasn’t making vision boards and writing goals!
The goals and future planning mindset seems a modern idea, because we now have so much choice. I enjoyed this recent article about generations passing down advice. I’m never sure if the gap between generations is that wide, or if it just suits us sometimes to frame it that way. I’ll leave you with a fun image about realistic short-term goals I can achieve this weekend.