2013 Vision Board Project

I created my first Vision Board almost five years ago…I think this was right around the time The Secret was at its height in popularity. And though I never read or watched it…everyone knows the basic principles… you have to put out there what you want back. AKA go boldly in the direction of your dreams…  Miraculously I have moved this poster board with me 4 different times  ( clearly I have issues with getting rid of things).  Currently, that original vision board lives in my storage shed… but a few months ago when I stumbled across it, I realized it might be time to make a new one. After all, my life has been in a huge transition period, and also just about everything on that original board I’ve already accomplished. Time to start new!

My Vision Board from 4+ years ago

My Vision Board from 4+ years ago

I always struggle with getting a little too specific… I think it is great to manifest something, and work towards things and sometimes that is exactly what you need… and with my last vision board it actually worked really well… I did get a bulldog named Toby, I went to Fenway Park, I got my RYT certification, and I am blogging… I didn’t get the tattoo that I was planning, but I got one I like better, and sure, I don’t have a kumquat tree… but I’ve had 3 Meyer lemon trees in the meantime, so I think that counts for something! Some stuff on there is stuff I no longer really want… like attending the University of Montana, or weighing 135 pounds (ok I still want that, but it probably doesn’t need to go on a vision board… Being motivated, sure. Healthy choices. Yes. Having perfect abs? Not so much…Ha, what was once important to me at the age of 23 now seems a bit shallow, go figure.)

This time around, I’m not as worried about specifics, as I am trying to manifest a direction I’d like my life to go in, and focusing on the things I value and things I want to incorporate more of into my life. Creativity, Love, developing my yoga practice, creating a home…  These last few months I’ve had to really take a step back and completely revise what I want to do with my life and kind of start from scratch  as far as how I identify myself and what goals I want to work towards…it’s a bit challenging to manifest specifics when life seems to be going in every which direction… so I’m going a little more abstract… and what I found was that as I was searching for materials, I was less drawn to pictures, and more drawn to words… which as a writer, I think this makes a lot of sense.

I also did a little “research” on vision boards, and actually found this article on Oprah.com really interesting.  Like its important not to over-think it, and just go with what you are drawn to. “When you start assembling pictures that appeal to this deep self, you unleash one of the most powerful forces on our planet: human imagination. Virtually everything humans use, do, or make exists because someone thought it up. Sparking your incredibly powerful creative faculty is the reason you make a vision board. The board itself doesn’t impact reality; what changes your life is the process of creating the images—combinations of objects and events that will stick in your subconscious mind and steer your choices toward making the vision real.” ( by Martha Beck. Read the full article here.)

And I think this is mostly true… for me going through old magazines and finding those few things that jump off the page is really therapeutic. And I think that is probably a huge part of the vision board, is trying to focus in on what things resonate with you, and taking the time to cut them out, consciously making a decision that “yes, this is something that I want to focus my energy on.”  Cutting stuff out, and finding those key pieces is the hard part… gluing things together is where it gets a little more creative.  I have been assembling collage supplies for years (just ask my parents how many magazines I have refused to let them recycle/ how many folders of things they had to move out my childhood home.) I started making collages when I was in high school… I even have a collaged bookshelf sitting out in my garage… (and that has moved with me 11 times… 11. It’s not even my aesthetic anymore, and wouldn’t really fit anywhere in my home, but I cannot part with it! )  and today I went through a few of the folders just making sure I didn’t have something perfect for my vision board squirreled away. It was pretty hilarious to see some of the stuff I’ve cut out over the years. Some things are very much what you would have expected a 15-year-old to hang onto (I really can’t even tell you how many magazine cut outs of Prince William there are… it’s pretty sad)  but some of the stuff just made me think “yup, I’ve always been an old soul.” And then there was an awkward moment when I started to sift through things and realized that stuff I had cut out of fashion magazines is actually now currently living in my closet… I guess manifestation really does work… because the amount of things I had cut out that I now actually own is a little creepy.

I literally have over 10 years of collage materials (condensed into one expandable folder, for the most part), and I am happy to say, that today upon the completion of my vision board, I actually recycled all the old magazines I had around the house. I’m slowly purging… it’s the little victories in life.

Once I had everything cut out, I tried to organize the pictures and words into categories or pods. There are basically 3 main themes running through the board… Yoga, Love, and Everything else (meaning, working on me, life, motivation, goals etc.)  And I tried to arrange them on the board in a way that they were concentrated in their groups, but also connected with each other, so it had a natural flow… And here it is… here I am, putting these thoughts, and this energy out into the universe, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes back as I’m starting this new chapter in my life.  It is definitely a little busy, so I tried to get some different sections so you can see more of the details.

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Budget ramblings from a poor and happy writer type.

“In those days, there was no money to buy books.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

 

I have always been able to live within my means… sometimes more comfortably than others…Budgeting has always been somewhat of a creative endeavor, and sometimes I have been better at it than others. As I’m unemployed at the moment, I’m definitely trying to reign in my spending, and prioritize my purchases… and as with everything, I have good days and bad days.

Being unemployed has had a few unforeseen budgetary side effects. Obviously, I’m trying to cut a lot of corners, and  though I’m not going out and spending a lot of money, I am now spending a lot more time at home, and with that I’m noticing a much higher heating and electricity bill. I’m torn… should I be going to bed earlier so I use less lighting? Using more blankets? Lighting more candles? Would I actually be better off spending a few bucks on a small cup of coffee and sitting in a café afternoon with my laptop?  It’s hard to say…

When it comes to finances, I think a lot of people in my generation are used to treading water. Sometimes doing really well with their heads way above pool level, and other times floundering. In the past I’ve been really good at saving money, but to some degree I save money for the same reason I exercise… so I can enjoy indulging a little bit without feeling guilty. Thinking back on some big purchases over the past few years, I’m sure they weren’t always the smartest financial choices… (Bulldogs are not cheap, and neither are their medical bills!) But there is something to be said for fulfilling a dream, and I definitely would not trade in Toby for more money in the bank. I seem to be living in the cycle when I do great at saving money… and then of course life happens, and my car insurance is due, I go to the dentist, take Toby to the Vet, get my hair cut, and visit the gynecologist all within 2 weeks of each other, and the cushion gets depleted, little by little, and built back up again little by little.

Maybe someday I will have a job where I’m making more money than I know what to do with… maybe someday I will be able to think seriously about saving for retirement, and planning for investing in my future…But is it bad that I’ve never really dreamed of that? I know you need to be able to work towards a dream… but being a Creative Writing Major, I don’t think I ever had the dreams of making copious amounts of money…  at least I’m not disillusioned… and I don’t think I’m “settling” either… I just think I’m realistic… and I think there is something that is just a little bit enchanting about the idea of living within your means. Was it just me, or was anyone else excited to be out of college, and be somewhat dirt poor living in a shoebox apartment, eating raman noodles? Wasn’t that what we were supposed to be doing, at least for a while until we figured our lives out? And those years right out of school were some of the happiest I’ve ever had… Then again, I realize that my whimsical writer dreams aren’t always on-par with the rest of society, but  mostly when I think about my 20s, I always go back to that quote from A Moveable Feast  where Hemingway says “We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.”  And maybe I need to have bigger dreams… but living well and cheaply being in love sounds like a pretty amazing way to go through life.  And if I could somehow attach my current yard to my tiny-loft apartment, I would go back in a heartbeat!

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be in a situation where I’m not living paycheck to paycheck, where I don’t have to worry about how many times I go out to eat during the week, and how much money I’m spending on gas… But I’m also really proud of the fact that I am totally able to live within my means, and able to budget, and have the ability to make good financial choices on a daily basis… and I’m really happy doing it!

Sometimes this involves saying “no” and sometimes it means being a little anti-social… but mostly it just means getting a little creative. I was supposed to drive to Portland yesterday and go to the ballet with some friends… we were going to wait in line for “pay-your-age” tickets, which would have been a great deal, and overall something I actually could have afforded… but I made the choice to instead stay home, and spent the money on electric toothbrush heads…it was at this moment, that I felt really boring, and maybe a little too adult… but hey, cleaner teeth/ better oral hygiene is future money saved on dentist bills, right?

Though I have always been fairly good at budgeting, my dad always says that I have champagne taste on a beer budget, and he is kind of right. My biggest indulgences when it comes to spending are usually food and wine related… (and books… I love buying books… I’m trying to be better at the library… key word trying… but I also passionately believe in small independent bookstores, and I think they are really struggling right now…. So though buying books might not always be the BEST financial decision for my personal situation, books are ALWAYS a guilt free purchase.)  This goes back to the eating and drinking well thing… I started working in the Oregon wine industry when I was 21 years old… meaning that my fairly inexperienced palate quickly developed a taste for fine wine… and along with that came fine food… because, let’s face it, they go hand in hand. I wouldn’t say that I am a wine snob… more so I have wine/food snob tendencies. Over the past several years I have really developed an appreciation for good wine, and a healthy appetite for good food. It’s all but unavoidable when you are in the industry…(it also helps when you are dating a chef)  because everyone around you is drinking good wine and eating good food, everyone around you is talking about good wine and good food… it becomes a lifestyle, the universe is kind of wrapped up in good wine and good food… and with that comes good coffee…  And there are worse lifestyles to have… but there are also cheaper lifestyles to have.  Hence the champagne taste on a beer budget…  And yes, my wine/food snobby tendencies haven’t completely turned me over to the dark side. I still eat an occasional packet of Top Raman, and I have been known to keep a box or two of macaroni and cheese in my pantry for emergency dinner situations. I shop at bargain grocery stores most of the time, and make a few special trips for Organic Kale, and specialty cheeses… because life without at least a little indulgence is just too dull, but I am being a lot better about eating in!

So I’m not buying books, and I’m cutting back on designer coffee, I’m wearing a few more layers, and trying to drive a little less. It’s not the perfect budgeting strategy, (and yes, I still desperately need to find a roommate), but it’s something.