And Counting

Chipped maroon nail polish, lukewarm black coffee, a clanking of the steam pipes waking up my frigid apartment – is this my life?

One, two, three.

It’s the end of 2021, we’ve made it – haven’t we? I was unsure it would be possible that we’d survive another year, flourish another year. We’ve been doing so much more than the 2020 “flourishing in our fishbowl” – there truly was an inconceivable moment where things felt mostly normal again. Very much a ‘party like it’s 2019’ aesthetic, am I right? It was sickeningly easy to get back in the groove; before the Earth shook again, “Ah, ah, ah,” she said, “Hold my beer.

Then at the start of the domino effect, or wave of her wand, the stress of life becomes so unmanageable it turns me into this sharp-clawed, cat-eyed gremlin – hissing at those who dare hold my gaze. As I sink low, the numbers raise high and any sense of normalcy previously in our grasp begins to slip away right before our eyes. The new world order is being reinstated, with much ado about nothing.

Four, five, six.

There are few incessant things I’ve started to do habitually this year, that all center around me “checking in” on myself.

  • To gauge my happiness level, I ask myself, “When was the last time I sang?”
  • To keep my stress/self-loathing in check, I confidently tell myself, “I am great at my job,” “I am a great friend,” etc.
  • To ensure I’m actually living, I ask myself, “When did I last do something that would be beneficial to future me?”
  • When I’m feeling lost, and I can’t grasp why, I simply ask myself, “When’s the last time I wrote something?”

Sometimes it’s helpful to ask yourself if you’re okay. If you don’t, you may not even realize that you’re not doing so hot. Remember: you can’t fix something if you don’t know it’s broken.

Seven, eight, nine.

When life is spiraling, I try to find a way to regain control. My most frequented ways are online shopping (it’s up to me what get’s added in that cart) and creating playlists (I choose the song, order, and vibe – what else could I need?)

My favorite buys this year: this couch, this chair, this primer, these boots, and this coffee

My playlist highlights:

Ten.

It’s hard to know which way is the right way, if I’m following the right path. I’m a firm believer in fate and destiny, but contradictorily I believe in freedom of choice. Everyone is on some great path, but each path has these curious side trails that are available and can ultimately diverge you from your greater path a bit. Sometimes these small trails are incredibly fun, worthwhile, or even a sick shortcut to get you where you need to be even faster than the great path would have intended. Yet, sometimes these side trails are actually something lowkey verboten with loads of red flags and “Do Not Enter” signs that we ignore – leading us to go through some things we really weren’t intended to go through, but made us endure some additional “character building” that pays off anyway.

Truly, that’s the beauty of free will – we have the will to choose the easy way, the hard way, the fun way, the dangerous way… it goes on. But the power of fate and destiny, will always ensure we get where we’re supposed to, no matter how convoluted of a trek we make it.


“Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it right.”

H. Montana

I Made a Vision Board for 2021: Part Two

As promised, here is part two of making vision boards for 2021. If you haven’t read part one already, go ahead and check it out now!

I Made a Vision Board for 2021 and Here’s How it Went: Part One


What is included in a vision board?

It can be anything you want. There are a few different ways to go about building a vision board, so truly there is no wrong answer. I made two – one for general ideation and one for specific goals. For the second board, focused around goals, I kept it simple. I added twelve goals to achieve throughout the year as well as imagery to help manifest that.

How does it work?

Vision boards serve as a physical reminder for what you’re wanting to achieve. Seeing it everyday will help keep your goals or ideas at the forefront of your mind as you progress through the weeks and months. It can help to motivate you in a passive way. Rather than an obnoxious alarm on your phone or a calendar reminder, you can be met with a peaceful, self-created image that hangs on your wall as a friendly notice.


Here’s my vision board, broken into two segments: imagery and goals.

Left – Imagery 

Since this board is dedicated to goals, I didn’t want to overcomplicate or clutter it. I cut images from magazines that showcased what I wanted to emulate to help achieve these goals – a watch for time, candles and coffee for relaxation and focus, the galaxy as a corny way to ‘reach for the stars’, an upside down drop to symbolize change and a quote. More than anything I wanted the imagery to exude calmness and growth.

Right – Goals

Writing out goals was the hardest part of this board. Even though I am someone who is hyper-aware and anxious constantly, I am not someone that has a life plan. I tried to focus on things that were not so far out of reach, but could be tangible with a little hard work. I used the categories of play, health, work and joy to establish my goals; these are based off of the teachings in Designing Your Life. By grouping these items you’re more easily able to see areas in your life that may need extra attention. 

I Made a Vision Board for 2021: Part One

Let me be the first to say that I am a natural pessimist, an anxiety-ridden, serial depressive who is an enneagram 6. I’m not one for religion, overly positive mantras or crystals, but I’m willing to try just about anything at least once if it’ll improve my mental health and life. Like many others, 2020 was a rough year mentally, physically and emotionally. Fresh off the hell that was Q4 2019 (see How to Heal a Broken Millennial Heart for further understanding), 2020 was doomed from the start. It was to be a year of transition, a metamorphosis if you will. 

When 2020 started, I was at my heaviest – emotionally, physically and mentally – and the most uncomfortable in my own skin. Each day was a trial, presenting countless obstacles for my personal and professional life. However, through all of the changes and adjustments, one thing prevailed: I suddenly had time. More time than I knew what to do with. 

I began having to confront things that I’d been able to push away thanks to being busy at work or by spending time with friends. I discovered pieces of myself that I wasn’t a huge fan of and wanted to change that. Serendipitously, 2020 became the year of realization and inner growth. Now, I won’t be one of those bloggers or influencers that vomit positivity and about how great 2020 was. Don’t get me wrong, 2020 SUCKED. But through the darkness, we can find light. That’s why I wanted to make a vision board for 2021.


What is a vision board?

A vision board, sometimes referred to as a dream board, is a physical way to manifest what you want. It’s a visualization tool used to manifest or ‘visualize’ what dreams or ideas you want to project into the universe. Personally, I’m not into all that touchy-feely stuff, but again, anything is worth a try at least once. This year, I’ve learned that there is no bigger obstacle than myself. I am what creates (and thus destroys) my own happiness. I am the only one who controls that. 

What is included in a vision board?

It can be anything you want. There are a few different ways to go about building a vision board, so truly there is no wrong answer. I made two – one for general ideation (completed) and one for specific goals (in progress). I included quotes, reminders, photos, souvenirs, small tokens/gifts and stickers. Besides the cork board itself, I only purchased one magazine to cut up – otherwise everything else was just stuff I had lying around my house. This does not have to be an expensive project – but it will require some time and thought. 

How does it work?

Vision boards serve as a physical reminder for what you’re wanting to achieve. Seeing it everyday will help keep your goals or ideas at the forefront of your mind as you progress through the weeks and months. It can help to motivate you in a passive way. Rather than an obnoxious alarm on your phone or a calendar reminder, you can be met with a peaceful, self-created image that hangs on your wall as a friendly notice.


Here’s my vision board, broken into four segments: travel, healing, growth, reminders.

Top Left  – Travel 

Each year, except 2020, I plan a trip abroad. I love to travel and to help visualize that, I’ve included a photo of the airplane when I visited Scotland, a luggage tag from France in 2011, a polaroid from the condo in Marco Island and a few travel themed stickers. I hope to travel, whether a big or small trip, and remember how lucky I am to be able to do that.

Top Right – Growth

Midway through 2020, I was invited to join a personal and professional growth program through my company. I was hesitant at first, feeling that I was already at a transitional point in my life, but decided, ‘why not?’. I had nothing to lose, but so much to gain. I’ve included two acronyms to remember daily: one from the work program (S.N.A.P.) and one from the Emotional Detox book by Sherianna Boyle, MED, CAGS (C.L.E.A.N.S.E.)

Bottom Left – Healing

As mentioned in How to Heal a Broken Millennial Heart, 2019 was a shitstorm before 2020 dreamed of it. I’ve included a dream catcher from a Lakota reservation that my grandmother gifted to me, a postcard from Annecy, a fortune cookie and quotes. This section will serve as a reminder that healing is a priority throughout this year – even when it doesn’t always feel good.

Bottom Right: Reminders

The bottom right has no true theme, but just gentle reminders. The moon cycle is a reminder that everything will pass and change. The polaroid is a reminder to get out every once in a while, embrace nature and the relationships that I’ve cultivated over the last year. Lastly, the patch, simple and straightforward –  have a nice day. 

Stay tuned for part two: goals!