Back one evening this spring, in Mt. Pleasant, Washington, DC, I came home to find three of my roommates, Katie, Elisabet, and Leslie. They had laid out a huge pile of (mostly women’s lifestyle) magazines, scissors, glue sticks, and colored construction paper, on the dining room table.
“Smiley, join us,” they said, “We’re making vision boards!”
In my typical, cynical, dude-like manor, I laughed at them—“I’m not cutting pictures out of a magazine, what is this, 4th grade?! I’m too busy for this Oprah-induced foolishness, I’m gonna check my email for the 58th time today.”
So they proceeded to make vision boards without me. Even my other roommate made a vision board, although his consisted of only a koala bear, a rotisserie chicken, and a giant bottle of beer. I kind of felt left out, so I sat down, and awkwardly started looked through the magazines, anxious, not choosing anything to cut out. After five minutes, I got distracted, and gave up. But my roommates pestered me for a week about not making a vision board. Finally, I sat down, alone, deep in serious thought, and perused the pages of Cosmopolitan.
My vision board for 2012, which I kept taped to the door in my room, featured pictures of places I wanted to travel and spend time (Barcelona, the woods, the beach, San Francisco), things I wanted to eat and drink (avocado, coffee, popsicles, bowls of ramen), activities I wanted to do a lot of (run, read, hike, sun salutations) and emotions I wanted to feel (freedom, change, growth, passion, movement, relaxation, risk), and some random shit (Michael Jackson dancing). Yes, I cut out a picture from Glamour of two people kissing. (“Glamour? Glamour???”) Yes, Glamour.
You may think this sounds pathetic; a man nearly thirty years old cutting pictures out of a ladies magazine and gluing them to green construction paper. Maybe you have already thought about your visions for the year. Or, maybe you are scared to think.
Using scissors and a glue stick has a strange way of taking you back to when you were a kid, and creating and dreaming were second nature, part of your daily routine. It was difficult for me, as I imagine it is for most men, to get in touch with my emotions. It was difficult for me to take myself seriously.
I’m proud to report that I accomplished all my “visions” on my vision board for 2012, so I am especially grateful to Katie, Elisabet, and Leslie, for being mindful, inspiring women, and for Katie’s affinity for Glamour and Cosmo. I should say I accomplished all my visions, except for love—yes, don’t worry, I got the kissing thing down (holler)—but love escaped me. However, my buddy Dre has already deemed 2013 as The Year of Love, so things are looking up.
I’ll be putting together my vision board for next year in the coming days, and in 2013, I’m trying to focus on focusing. I too easily get distracted with distractions, and say yes to engagements when I want to say no.
Writing and meditating daily, and prioritizing projects I care deeply about, are my major goals. Also, no email on the weekend unless it’s an emergency (“Saturday, Donny, is Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest”), and no using my computer for at least an hour every night before bed, to leave time for writing and reading off-screen. As well as exploring the unreal beauty that is the Bay Area. And of course, love.
What’s on your vision board for 2013?