Finding happiness in retirement

Imagine Your Future With A Vision Board

Imagine Your Future With A Vision Board


Visualize yourself happy and you will be.  Whatever you imagine for yourself, that is what will be. I’m not sure that I believed that in the core of my heart until I got older and experienced the power we hold within ourselves. Vision boards became popular in recent years following the release of “The Secret.” The premise is that we are more likely to manifest what we imagine for ourselves if we think through what we want for ourselves and make it visual. Whoever conceived of the idea of a vision board understood that we humans need a way to see the vision we’ve imagined frequently in order for it to become a reality. Hence the birth of the vision board.

It was very important for me to develop a vision for what I wanted my life to be. Getting clarity on the vision within the first month of retirement seemed like a great way to get onto the right path from the start. I was worried that I’d begin habits that would prove to be counter to what I really wanted for myself (i.e. catching up on all the TV series that I’d missed over the years!) Developing a vision for the future would make that future happen.

I’ve always loved to create collages. I made many of them in high school, college, and even beyond that era. Cutting out photos and words that exemplify something important to me seems so soothing and self-indulgent.  Focusing only on my interests and what was important to me seemed like such a treat! I realized that, as in other areas, I’d matured. My 62-year-old self was not okay with just opening a magazine and cutting out all the pictures that appealed to me. The many years of working, being judged, and criticizing the work of others has made me less spontaneous. I felt the need to have a look on Pinterest and see the vision boards created by others.

Maturity has its advantages. I can look briefly at pictures and know exactly what appeals to me and what doesn’t. I am pretty sure that my 16-year-old self didn’t mind a mess of pictures and words that represented my thoughts. In fact, I clearly remember giving great consideration to every picture and word that went into the collage, but I was fine with the idea of slapping it down anywhere on the paper. The chaos of life has created the need in me for outer order. I would need a layout that had looked less cluttered and more simplified otherwise, I’d have to stick the vision board in the closet.

I spent hours planning how I’d create the vision board and then got stuck. I was using the creation of the board as a way to bring out my vision for what I wanted my next thirty years to be. Looking through magazines and at completed vision boards was not bringing me closer to developing my own. When I found myself engrossed in an article on furniture painting in one of the magazines I was perusing, I realized I was going to frustrate myself if I didn’t find a quicker way to developing a vision. Somewhere in my research of vision-building, I’d read that it was important to determine how you wanted to feel in your imagined future. I tried all sorts of ways to generate those words, but what was emerging did not feel authentic for me. Rather, I was coming up with lists of words that would work for anyone. In my frustration, I began to list all the goals that I have for myself in retirement. Sometimes, we come up with a way to trick our inner obstinacy. This worked! As my list easily emerged, I decided I would write the list on my blackboard. As much as I wanted to generate my vision board, that just wasn’t happening, so I went with what did seem to be working and created this.

The words began to flow. This is how I want to feel and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life to feel like I was living with meaning and purpose. I stopped thinking about the collage that seemed so necessary and focused on reading the words that I recorded on the blackboard each day. The words reminded me daily of habits that I wanted to secure, and pinpointed priorities for my time. Beyond my daily habits, I’ve allowed myself a lot of flexibility around creating. I’ve spent time sketching and hand-lettering, activities from my younger years that I enjoyed greatly. Creating seems like working a muscle; the more time I spent at it, the easier it became. Making things has sharpened my awareness of my surroundings which has made me want to create more and more. One day, without conscious thought, as I turned the page in a magazine, I reached for my scissors and began creating my vision board. I’m so glad that I didn’t force the activity earlier.  (See the pic at the top of this post.)

When you’re ready, think through how you want these 30 years of your life to look and

  • Create goals
  • Look through magazines for words/phrases that represent your vision and goals
  • Use magazine pictures or photos to that align with your vision and goals
  • Arrange the images and words on a 11 x 14 page or poster board
  • Check out some of these ideas on Pinterest

I’d love to see your vision board and hear your thoughts on their usefulness!

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