Art & Mind

Then You Get The Update...

Old Mood Vision Board by Candace Nicholson

Remember six months ago, I -- along with a few creative optimists -- built a new vision board as part of my New Year's celebration?

Well, what's even harder to believe than the fact that 2018 is half over is that I'm actually making a wee bit of progress on my vision board goals. And it felt like the right time to share that progress and the hits and misses that have come along the way so far.

If you recall, I mentioned my new vision board was designed to replace the one I've had for about 5 years now. Well, as if by magic or gentle cosmic nudging, my old vision board (see image above), which was still up in my bedroom area, fell down last week. I chose to view that as a sign it was time to retire the poster board of yore, and fully embrace my new board and the path it has set me on this year.

Again, please note, I don't make vision boards every year, and I intentionally created my new board with the idea that some of the goals may not be accomplished for a good 5-10 years from now. As some might say, life is a marathon, not a sprint. And I'm perfectly OK with working toward my dreams in a deliberate, don't-forget-to-stop-and-smell-the-roses pace.

Alright! Enough jaw-jacking, right?

Let's get on with the vision board update, shall we?

2018 Vision Board - Herb garden

First up, my representation of a healthy herb garden (seen to the right). I tried growing an herb garden last year, but my less-than-green thumb effectively rendered it underwhelming. Yet I decided not to give up. And after purchasing a peppermint plant from a local nursery, I'm happy to say that I now harvest and brew my own peppermint tea.

I only have 2 plants right now, but I hope to increase them to 4 by summer's end. Also, the act of harvesting and baking the tea leaves? Incredibly calming. Who knew the mental health benefits of tea came with harvesting as much as brewing and drinking?

My Mint plants

On the same page as pursuing a more healthy lifestyle, I may not be anywhere close to taking care of my physical well-being like I should, but I'm doing much better on the mental wellness front. Represented on my vision board with the young woman with natural hair sitting on a mat and meditating, my plan is to incorporate more wellness activities into my life to help mitigate stress.

I took up meditating roughly 14 years ago, but I'm nowhere as consistent as I want to be --- averaging only 1 or 2 meditation sessions per week. But for the better part of 2018, I have consistently increased my meditation sessions to 3 times per week. My hope is to reach 5 times per week consistently for a year, but as they say, "baby steps." And regardless of whether or not I meet that goal this year, next year or in a decade, I know I'm reaping the benefits along the way and those baby steps are having a profound impact.

Editor mug for the 2018 Vision Board

Next, the "Go Away, I'm editing" mug was meant to represent the idea that my career will always incorporate some form of the editorial process. A lot of editors are simply people putting their time in until they get a chance to write. But I've always been someone who wanted a healthy mix of editing and writing in my career because it's the perfect marriage for lovers of the written word.

Well, thankfully, someone above agreed with me, and as of Tuesday, June 26th, I'm the new Editor for a trade magazine serving a niche community of engineers and manufacturers. There's a steep learning curve involved, but I'm as excited about it as I am nervous. There's a lot of project management aspects to the role, as well as a little bit of travel. And because I get to work from home, here's hoping I can turn this position into my most fruitful endeavor yet.

FPJ magazines representing my role as an Editor

Speaking of working from home, remember that little colorful laptop on the coffee table with the tea cup beside it? That vision board image represented my desire to work from home. If not full-time, at least part-time. And the new Editor position is a part-time role. Well how 'bout that? :-)

So what am I doing when I'm not drinking from the Editor's mug? I'm enjoying a fresh cup of mint tea from my "I'm a Writer" mug. Well, not literally, because I don't own either of those mugs, but the visualization is sound.

In short, starting in January of this year, I've begun writing more consistently on assignment. Granted, it's not as much as I would like. (A perfect world would see me balancing my writing and editing projects equally.) But this year has seen me engage in a ghostwriting contract, take on multiple freelance arts and culture reporting assignments on behalf of, and pitch and land my first digital magazine article. Combine that with copywriting for the newly redesigned website (that I redesigned) and maybe the road ahead will send more paid writing opportunities my way.

Painter at play

And last, but not least, my vision board had an image of an artist handling a very messy paintbrush with an even messier hand. Despite professing on multiple occasions that I'm not an artist, just a patron of the arts, I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to test the waters more often and perhaps learn more about the artistic world from the other side --- as a creator instead of a patron.

I got to do just that this past March as part of my birthday month celebration. The recently opened Painter's Palette offers different events throughout each month, so I decided to participate in one of their Wine Down Wednesdays classes. I know it may seem cliché, and perhaps not really artistic, but I very much enjoyed the class and the work I created holds a special meaning for me (see image below). With results like that, I know I'll definitely try my hand at it again.

That's it, ladies and germs. My 6-month update on how I've progressed with my vision board is there for you to see and hold me accountable. I've effectively pursued 6 of the 12 images in the new vision board. Not bad, if I may say so myself.

Again, these aren't yearlong visions. They're multi-year visions, so I may not do another update in 6 months. Maybe I'll wait a full year next time. Regardless, given the emotional ups and downs of this year so far, I'm glad I can look back at it halfway through, and see that I haven't been standing still.

Sometimes, all we need is a moment or two of taking stock to keep our heads up during times of adversity and transition. It's important to remind ourselves that we're all a work in progress, and no one's progress can be measured in a vacuum.

So keep following your path and pursuing your vision board goals. But don't forget to stop and take a moment to look back to appreciate the journey along the way.

Me in 10 Years painting by Candace Nicholson
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