I have a vision board in my work office that hangs on the wall in front of my desk so I can see it when looking up from my computer. There's a photo of a woman smiling and signing a book, fresh fruit and vegetables in a farmers market bag, stacks of hundred dollar bills, the Almalfi coast, a beautiful antique desk, a woman who's fit and healthy, and another woman speaking in front of a large audience.
I work from home and occasionally in my office at the school since we've been fully remote for a year. As I sat down to write this newsletter in my second story office that overlooks a busy street and the ocean just a few blocks away, I'm noticing the old vision board peeking out from behind a framed photo of cobblestone streets in Florence. I assembled these photos over two years ago after purchasing a photo printer to handpick images from the internet to personify my dreams, and before this morning, I forgot it was even here. I'm smiling as I type these words because if I haven't already attained these visions, I'm within arms reach of holding them.
If you don't follow me on Instragram (you can follow me here!) then you would have missed my announcement that I'm self-publishing a book by this fall. I've been sending queries to agents in the hopes of being traditionally published and although I'm still waiting to hear back from a few agencies, I'm ready to invest in myself and create what I always dreamed of possessing - a book with my name on it. I know by the end of this year I'll be hosting my own book signing and resembling the woman in the photo smiling as her pen dashes across the page.
The antique desk sitting in front of a mountain of colorful books on large, expanding shelves resembles my home. I moved into my apartment last year and always desired my own creative space where I could read, write and dream. I live and breathe in this space every day now.
The bag of fresh fruit and vegetables in the linen market bag, along with the woman who's radiant and healthy, exhibits my current well-being. Two years ago I was twenty five pounds heavier, and although I've always been fairly small, I struggled with committing to a healthy diet and exercising regularly. I'm in the best shape of my life, and the vices that used to tease me - cheese, bread, desserts, excess wine, laziness - aren't as appealing as they once were. I've learned to take control of my diet and health regimen. (With the exception of a few nights of indulgence!).
The green stacks of cash resemble my positive relationship with money (which wasn't always so positive), and how I'm almost debt free. Within the last year I've decreased my student loan debt to less than $500 and lowered my credit card debt by 5k. (I splurged on furniture and home decor when moving into my apartment - no regrets!). I used to believe that I wouldn't be able to support myself or live on my own without a roommate or boyfriend to help with finances, and I changed the narrative of that too.
I hosted a few virtual writing workshops as well as live Insight Timer events over the last six months that symbolize the woman speaking in front of a large audience. Even though my Insight Timer events are virtual and I can't see participants' faces, I've had 150-175 people in attendance in those workshops.
Lastly, the photo of the Amalfi coast is somewhere I've visited, but have been dreaming of returning to ever since I left. Whether I get there this year, or next, that will be another goal to look forward to achieving.
My point in writing this newsletter is not to gloat on all that I've accomplished in the last year - especially a hard and turbulent year for most - but to highlight the ways that you, too, can inch closer toward your dreams. These accomplishments didn't happen overnight, and some are still works in progress, but it's from small, daily efforts that I've landed where I am. Honestly, most days I wonder if the tiny actions I'm taking will ever take off the way I hope they will. Others, I trust and instinctively know that I'm on the right path.
As you can see though, it's been over two years since I hung the vision board across from my desk at the school, and if it weren't for rearranging wall art and furniture this morning, I wouldn't have realized how far I've come from cutting those photos one random October night in 2019.
We often want our dreams to instantly manifest. We desire instant gratification and results for our efforts, but life doesn't work that way, and what a beautiful thing that it doesn't. Time will pass regardless, and it's what you do with the in between space before arriving at the fulfillment of your goals that matters. You just need to take the first step. Dedicate some time each day to work toward your dreams. Believe that you will one day accomplish your goals, even if it's ten years from now.
I honestly thought that I'd be a traditionally published author by now, with more money, recognition and followers, and possibly owning my own home. I had big dreams, and I still do. Even though I don't have everything that I desired two years ago, I attained so much just from trying, and I wouldn't change a thing. I love every aspect of my life, and it's because of the time and dedication that I put into myself and my dreams that makes me feel the way I do.
So, I hope this inspires you to take a chance on yourself and do what you need to to get to where you want to be. You only have this one life, and time flies faster with each passing year. If you start now, who knows where you'll be next April or the following spring? You'll never know if you never begin.