The first week of January finds me rummaging through the largest drawer in my desk trying to find a notebook I took on a trip several years ago. The notebook remains unfound but I do come across the vision board I made last year. I prop it up on my writing table and reach out to two of my closest friends to see if they want to have a vision board making party once again this year. Finding a date for all three of us to gather proves to be difficult. The one date in January that works for all of us is the Lunar New Year – kismet.
The 2019 vision board sits on my writing table for a few weeks without garnering much attention or reflection. I pick it up the day of the 2020 vision board party and find myself unable to connect with the woman who just one year ago so clearly and confidently created the collage in my hands. I have a strong desire to set my vision board on fire…bonfire style in the middle of my Brooklyn apartment. (Don’t worry; I don’t actually follow through with this impulse. Largely because my friend confirms that yes, burning things can be cathartic, but doing it inside one’s apartment is not the wisest choice.)
This year finds me feeling lost and confused. For the first time in my life, I don’t know what I want. I have no clear visions for the future. No specific goals. What do I want to do? What do I want to achieve? What do I want to create? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.
As my friends sip wine and flip through magazines searching for images and words to create their vision boards, I open the most recent O The Oprah Magazine, brought home because one of the cover headlines reads, “Midlife crisis, anyone? For every woman who’s not where she thought she’d be – a must-read”. I begin reading the article aloud as my friends envision their futures. It is poorly written, uninformative, a bit offensive in some places, and does nothing to answer any questions floating through my mind or alleviate how utterly lost I feel within my own life.
I flip through magazine after magazine to begin working on my own vision board. The rustling of turning pages randomly punctuated by an aggressive rip or methodically planned out scissor slicing from my friends gathering images and words for their vision boards. We chat and laugh, enjoying one another’s company. In front of me, each page becomes a sea of blurred colors, images, and letters. Every once in a while I catch myself deciphering a specific word or picture. I cut these out, not because they resonate with me or have some profound meaning but because my brain saw them for what they were and not just a nonsensical blur. Both of my friends create vision boards. I keep hunting for the words and images that my brain and eyes bring into focus gaining absolutely no clarity surrounding what I want for myself in this coming year. The result, a pile of clippings.
I can feel shifts in my life and within myself preparing for and clearing the path for something new. I just don’t know what that is yet. I don’t know what I want it to be either. Usually, this would freak me out – this would be cause for extreme anxiety. I feel like I should be worried, stressed out, concerned at the very least. And yet, I am not. I am oddly okay with the unknown. A shoulder shrug, my response to the fact that it seems everything I have spent close to ten years building is currently unraveling. My braiding skills are subpar at best so I’m not even attempting to plait the unraveling ends of my life back together. I sense that is not what is needed here either.
The next morning one friend texts me, curious to see how my vision board came out. I send her an image of the random scraps that got swept into a pile next to the stack of cut apart magazines to be recycled.
She messages back that she likes it and finds it expressive. Only after I explain does she realize I have not in fact created a vision board. I have sent her an image capturing my attempt to bring order to the random, unattached pieces of a nonexistent product, which mirrors what my life feels like right now.
All the various pieces of my life seem to be unconnected – no coherent or completed vision emerging just yet. A jumble I have neatly contained, safely tucked off to the side while I ponder what to do and how to put things together. I don’t have the answers right now. And, well, that’s okay.