Not that long ago I was unhappy. It wasn't depression. I wasn't horribly unhappy, I just knew, deep down, I wasn't on the right path. In the space of 5 years I'd lost two close family members to cancer and after watching two loved ones fight to the bitter end I knew my life needed to be something more. I was a successful designer, an Art Director, managing a team of four talented designers, and pretty much poised to go onto the next best thing, buy a house, find someone to spend the rest of my life with, have kids - blah blah blah. But I wasn't happy.
Faced with that, and knowing I was going to need to make some big changes in my life I decided to figure out what it was I wanted, even though I didn't know how I was going to get it. Being an artist at heart, I'm a visual person, I knew an image board was the way for me. I used Pinterest to put together a board that captured the essence of what I was looking for in my life, some of those things being intangible and difficult to define. I didn't edit myself, I didn't try and ask HOW I was going to get these things, I just simply put my Wishlist together, no matter how big, small, insignificant or mighty.
Once I had that board together, I would visit it often, especially when I was making big, scary, life altering changes in my life. Scrolling through the images helped me focus on why I was doing it, why I was messing with my beloved comfort zone, why I was quitting my job and giving it all up to move back to England.
It's been some 3 years now since I put that board together, 2 since I got everything together and moved home. 2 years since I dove head first into my life's dream of being a full-time artist. Now I'm doing it and living it, I've found it heartening to look back on those images and see what I've achieved and what I'm still working on.
Here's just a few:
I was looking for the dream apartment, something quirky, old with character, something I'd missed living in Canada where it was rare to find a building older than the late 1800's. I didn't think I stood a chance of being able to afford something like this let alone find it. But hey ho - here we are, I now rent a beautiful quirky apartment which doesn't have a straight line in it, and is overflowing with character and charm.
I was dreaming of a bright, airy, quirky workspace, somewhere where I could finally get all my supplies out in one place, somewhere I could let my creativity flourish. Almost two years to the day of making my move to England a beautiful building opened up that I could rent as a studio. To say it's the best studio space would be an understatement.
A beautiful Welsh word that means something akin to homesickness / a yearning for home / nostalgia. As much as I loved Canada and the people I was blessed to call friends nothing could replace home for me, and that grew with every passing year. I knew I needed to go back to a place where I could stand on top of a wild moor and bask in the stark beauty of it. The first time I stood on the Preseli's not far from my new home, I knew I'd found it.
A Place for the Hound
I had a hound to get home as well. If anything was going to happen, it was going to happen with him in it. I needed to find a place I could live with him, and I wanted to be able to bring him to work with me. Needless to say we have managed to do both.
I wanted to travel more. There was so much of Europe I hadn't seen that I knew would be at my fingertips once I made the move. I was sick of having vacation where I spent the first week recovering from work-life and the second week (if there was one) desperately scrambling to get every experience in that I could. Last May I fulfilled a life-long dream of visiting Venice with my mum and it was EPIC! In addition, I was no longer so burnt out from work that I needed two weeks off to recuperate, now a weekend on the beach or up in the mountains and I'm refreshed and ready to start the week a new person!
So what's next?
I'm not done yet. My vision board still has some items waiting to be fulfilled and I imagine that board will change over time, grow and flex. Many of the outstanding images are not "things" but rather feelings, a certain yet to be defined ness that I'm searching for in my life. And that's ok.
I guess what I'm trying to say here is, if you want change in your life, if you're unsatisfied, then get real about what that change will look like, how it will feel, and how it might change you. Make a board, print it out, look at it regularly and as you steer your ship towards the change you wish to see, check in on your map and make sure that those stars you wish to follow still ring true with you, if they do, then head in their direction in whatever small way you can. And most importantly, don't try and figure out HOW it's going to happen, just start moving in that general direction. The rest, I've found, falls into place.