Riding Bitch

The daily musings of a writer.

A Vision Of The Future


Self-imposed change is possible. You have to be ready for it. You have to be committed to it. Most importantly, you have to think of what it looks like, then plan your steps to make it happen. I believe that before one can change, before one can achieve anything, one must have a vision of the future incarnation, of the goals already having been accomplished. Vision requires imagination and courage. It also requires strength.

Sometimes we don’t have the strength, physically or emotionally, to envision the future, let alone take the necessary steps. Even before we act, the vision itself requires letting go of who we are right now, possibly acknowledging the state of affairs that we wish to change in the first place. Consider the alcoholic or drug addict who envisions him/herself as a sober person, and how hard that must be. Or the obese person who envisions herself as a marathon runner. Or the grieving widow who envisions herself in a different life than what she shared with her husband.

Shortly after Kaz and I moved in together, I made a “vision board” along with a girlfriend who had moved to another state. It was a pact, “let’s both do it!” We spent the next few weekends, her in Georgia, me in Los Angeles, going through magazines and cutting out images that spoke to us. Then we glued the images to a board and tacked the board on the wall above our respective desks. She had her own home office, but my desk at the time was in the living room. When we were finished we took pictures of our boards, which had sections for physical, personal and professional, and emailed them to each other.

On my board, I envisioned myself thinner and healthier, with a baby and/or dog, a house, professionally respected and successful, experiencing adventures domestic and abroad. There were moments when I felt guilty about the board and my vision. I don’t know if Kaz ever looked at it closely, but I know he saw it. Both of us knew that we wouldn’t be able to share most of the things on my board together, because he would die before I could achieve them.

Now, three years later, I am once again looking at this board, not physically – I threw it away when he died – but in my mind’s eye. It’s always been in the back of my mind on some level, but it was fuzzy for a long time. The fog of grief is thick and long-lasting. Then certain aspects of it became clearer. Getting Ruby last October helped (she had been on the board). Starting this blog around the same time helped. The residency in Vermont also helped, but ever since, I’ve been struggling to figure out the rest, not the vision, but the path to making the vision a reality.

When I was in Vermont, one of the visiting authors said she had been a legal secretary for most of her adult life with a secret yen for writing. When she was 44 years old, she applied to graduate schools and was accepted to Iowa State University, one of the most prestigious writing programs in the country. She was the oldest woman in her class, but she persevered and ended up publishing her first book after graduating to both critical and financial success. I think about her often.

Something shifted for me after the two-year anniversary of Kaz’s passing on May 3rd. Learning that I didn’t get that writing gig, losing the play, deciding to stay in my job… all made the shift even stronger. I’m ready to make the vision on that board a reality. It won’t happen overnight. It won’t be easy. But I know what I need to do to make it happen.

Have you ever changed your life? Or are you working towards your vision right now? 

Author: nivaladiva

Freelance writer and independent filmmaker.

19 thoughts on “A Vision Of The Future

  1. Wow. Great post. Someone recently advised me to do a vision board. I had forgotten until I read this. Ok, that twice, guess I better get my scissors out. Thanks.

  2. Fabulous post, I really relate to everything you said. The vision board is a great idea. I’m struggling on how to move forward, on where to move forward; I want to try this.

    • Do it! It’s a fun exercise, especially if you like looking at magazines anyway. You can gather old ones that people aren’t using anymore. I went around my office at the time asking for old magazines. Then I tagged the photos that I liked without thinking of where they fit into my life, etc. I kept editing them down to the images that really meant something to me, then put them on the board. It takes a while, but it’s also fun. A bottle of vino doesn’t hurt. 🙂

  3. Great blog today Niv! I have no doubt you will get to where you want to be. Inshallah

  4. I made a vision board once. It was really interesting to see what my sub-conscious chose for me…many images of flowers and many images of old/vintage/weathered objects. I am addicted to beauty and history, so that should not have surprised me, but it did. Being a journalist doesn’t reflect that — but when I went to interior design school for a few years in my late 30s, it all came together. I didn’t end up working in that field, but do not regret my studies or the board that helped me see my own priorities.

    If I were to make one now, it would mostly be my house in France I hope to own/live in!

    • I want to see your vision of your house in France! I bet it’s beautiful. My father and his wife also want a house in France. They’re much older and she’s sick, so I don’t know if it’ll happen for them, but it is their dream.
      Glad to know I’m not the only one who’s done a vision board.

      • That’s my worst fear — that illness will simply make that impossible. One reason I vote for France is their excellent/free medical system.

        But Jose and I have to start saving a ton more $$$$ (ugh) if we are truly to be able to buy something else while keeping our NY apt. which we might prefer to do. Gotta sell that best-seller! 🙂

        I think vision boards are a great escape from the tyranny of words.

  5. This was good for me to read tonight. I am sort of stumbling my way towards a vision right now. I know I want to write for a living, but in what arena? I have some pressing financial commitments starting about 6 months from now, so I’m looking at doing some Marketing internships. I’m editing a book for a Toronto psychologist and may market my own services as a developmental editor or ghost writer. I do want to continue writing my own stuff creatively, but need a day job for at least 10-15 years to provide for my family.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts.

    • Stumbling towards a vision is better than not moving at all. 🙂 The more you write, network and research, the clearer the path will become. Keep in mind, no matter what job you get, you will always be able to write your own stuff creatively. That’s the beauty of writing. We don’t need anything other than a pen and paper (or virtual equivalent). I know a guy who writes on his phone between running around for his job, then compiles his notes later. If there’s a will, there’s a way!

  6. Great post. I never made a vision board (I think) but I’ve got one in my head. One drawback is that it gets lost in the clutter of one’s life easily. However starting my blog last year opened my eyes to the fact that I love writing – and discovering. It now looks like blogging has landed me my next job (not 100% writing, but it’s in there!). We all need to dream. What was it now: before we could put a man on the moon, we needed to dream of putting a man on the moon?

    • Ah, I love that reference (putting a man on the moon) and the message behind it. Imagination is the first step, right? Followed by commitment and problem-solving. Congratulations on your new job! What is it? How did you get it? Or did you bog about that already? I’m excited for you! 🙂

      • It’s (web) content management – a different job within the same company 🙂
        My blog helped because one of my colleagues from another team noticed my posts on LinkedIn… Starting July I’ll join her team!

      • That’s awesome. I’m not surprised your blog helped you get work. You provide such useful information!

  7. I’ve never done a vision board, but did do a vision letter about 5 years ago. I came across it recently and was sad because this was supposed to be the year. The sadness passed quickly when I realized what I had gained, two grand babies, was so much better then what I had not gained.
    I think I will start a vision board with my husband. We both dream of hopping into a motor home and traveling around the country. If we both concentrate on that it just might happen. Thank you for the great inspiration.

    • Sorry I’m a bit late responding. I think you have a wonderful perspective, seeing your grandchildren as the greater blessing. Good luck getting that motor home!

  8. Love your posts; they make me think! I have changed my life a couple of times. I believe that some of the most exciting things in my life happened when I just packed up my car and drove a thousand miles down to L.A. to study acting and write movies. What a trip. Who does that? And, fresh out of college… What a nut I was back then.

    My life has changed a few more times since those days… I had thought that this would be my year, too. I would go to play racquetball every morning for one or two hours (depending on my schedule for the rest of the day) after I drove my youngest to a private, Catholic school 20 miles away from our hometown – every day. And then I would grab some groceries or fill my tank with gas and head back home almost 30 minutes away. But, my youngest got sick and things changed. I had to put my Club membership on hold and every month that I pay the minimum “hold” fee, I feel a little weird that I’m not back getting my exercise and doing the things that I felt I should be doing.

    But, I have been given a gift. I have been given a lot of time with my children – one, who will be leaving for college in the Fall and for the other that has been ill and had to be homeschooled this past year (by me). I would not trade this last crazy year for anything: some of the rainy, quiet days together just working on reading or worksheets or homework projects were some of my best days of my life. And some of the days or evenings with my oldest when she returned from high school/community college courses were the best days of my life, too. So, I guess that, sometimes, our plans (or visions) don’t work out and it’s OK. I did have a lot “planned” on my plate for this year that I had to let go of (which for an admitted control freak like me, well, you know that was hard) and I had to learn to let others do things in my place because I had no choice. It was almost liberating to get the opportunity to say “no” to people. I have never been good at it and this year, I had to say no and beg off numerous times. So, it was interesting and a bit of growth for me as well.

    Sometimes our plans or visions can be put on hold for awhile… I can go back to them if and when she decides that she is going back to middle school this coming Fall, it will be like I never left. So, I have begun jotting down ideas and thoughts and “visions” for a plan for this coming August — and beyond — in my journal/book that I write in each day. We shall see what happens…

    Bye for now,

    • Yes, sometimes our plans have to change whether we like it or not. It’s a balance that I’m still figuring out: planning for the future vs. rolling with life when things change overnight. What a wonderful experience to spend so much time with your children!

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