Recently I noticed my vision had declined. I was getting headaches with or without my glasses. At first I attributed this to the fact that I was reading more and I was either looking at a computer screen or my cell phone practically non-stop. The eyestrain was really getting to me and I realized it was time for a stronger prescription. I tried using reading glasses until I could get an appointment to see my optometrist. But that only helped with the reading. My distance vision was worse as well. I wear bifocals because I have four different perspectives. It’s ironic because I always say I look at things from all angles!
After seeing my eye doctor and finding out that I did need stronger lenses, I had to go a week without my glasses. I used the reading glasses, but I was troubled that I couldn’t see well at all. Once confirmed by the doctor, I felt as though I had lost an ability that I relied on and it felt inadequate to me. Everything seemed out of place. I couldn’t wait to get my new glasses!
When I finally did get them and put them on for the first time, I was so excited! Everything seemed bigger and brighter! I was amazed at the difference. How did I function that way for so long? Why did I put myself through that? The solution was so simple. It was literally right before my very eyes. Having a vision is quite literally like seeing with clarity. It is a bigger and brighter view of the future.
My life’s vision is to live freely, enjoying the special moments that mean the most to me and to see my children, husband, family and friends living their lives to their full potential, happily and peacefully. To live a successful life is to realize one’s hopes and dreams. It is my hope to live a long and healthy life, peacefully and joyfully, and inspiring others to do the same.
Well, that sounds so nice doesn’t it? All packaged up and tied with a pretty satin bow. But that is what I do. It is what I want. But how do I get there? What specifically does it mean? What tangible and concrete things do I see when I look ahead at how I want my life to be? What do I see myself accomplishing in my lifetime, what do I see myself achieving, what do I aim to do with my life? (Yes, I hear Twisted Sister in my head, too!)
If it is about what I feel and what my heart needs to be fulfilled, then the above vision statement sums it up. I can and will strive for peace and joy because I honestly believe that is what will satisfy me and sustain me for the rest of my life. But if you ask my brain what do I envision, I have goals and things that I want as well. There are things that I would like to “get out of life.” I have made a vision board for those things. I believe that if I see those things and put it “out there” then they will happen. I will do what needs to be done to obtain them. I will always be working towards those dreams to make them a reality.
There are many things that I have wanted in life that I have already achieved. I used to make lists and set goals for the things I wanted. My goals were like many young Americans; buy a car, go to college, have a career, get married, buy a home, have children. I also wanted to travel, go to concerts and plays, have friends and entertain. When my children were young, I hoped to be able to send them to a private school like the one I attended and I wanted them to be active, involved and for them to have a relationship with their grandparents I made those things happen. All of it. My husband and I shared those dreams and together we worked towards them and achieved them.
In my late thirties and early forties, I went through a period of “now what?” I felt this way especially after both of my parents passed away. A part of me always worked towards those goals to gain their approval, to please them, and for them to be proud of me. After they passed away, I realized that I only have myself to please. To do that I needed to build my self-confidence, my self-esteem, and gain a sense of self-pride. I shifted my focus to my husband and children. Not only in getting their approval and praise for the things I wanted to accomplish myself, but primarily to help them achieve their goals and to help them enjoy their lives with grace and happiness. This became my purpose. This is where I believe I am meant to be. This is what I love most about my life right now.
To me, getting the most out of life means to accept all things as they are and make the most out of whatever life deals you. Knowing that I cannot control everything (I know, shocking isn’t it?) I must accept the things that “happen to me.” But that doesn’t mean sitting around waiting for the next thing to happen. Good or bad, I know I will deal with it. My experience tells me that. I must work to make some things happen. Just hoping and dreaming is not enough. This is where having a clear vision comes into play. Envisioning myself doing the things that I am passionate about, whether that means achieving certain goals or enjoying the experiences that life has to offer, is like having the tools I need to navigate through life. Having a vision is like having a gauge, compass and a map. (And the right glasses, of course!) Am I on the right track? Am I doing enough? What more can I do? What direction should I choose?
I love the feeling of flying, of freedom, of being light-hearted and exuberant. Nothing feels better than gliding along happily. At some point I will need to land. I must have a firm foundation on which to grasp when I do come in for a landing. That is when having a map comes in handy!
AYWM 10: You Can Do It If You Can See It
So far in completing the journal prompts from A Year with Myself I have explored and identified my values, my strengths, my passion, my personality type, and what makes me different and authentic. All that inner work has prepared me for creating a vision for my life. Having a vision is important to me. Having a vision is synonymous with having clarity about the rest of my life and what I want to do with it.
As C.A. Kobu puts it, “Aiming for a target you can see is wiser than taking blind shots into a pitch-black terrain. Hence, you can do it if you can see it!”
By creating my vision, I hope to be not only inspired but also empowered because vision means intent. And intent is quite powerful in making our dreams come true.
Abby Kerr says “Vision, the way I see it, is the ability or capacity to apprehend what you really want and believe you can do. After all, if you can envision it, on some level you must believe it’s possible, right?” “You’re the only one who can fulfill it, after all, and it can’t play out without you. You can’t miss it or mess it up. You can only unfold it choice by choice, reiterating as necessary, and staying in the moment with it.”
C.A. Kobu suggests thinking about what you would do If you had only 37 days to live as in Patti Digh’s book Life Is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally.
If I had 37 days left to live, what would I do?
- plan a party and celebrate with all my family and friends
- go to the beach
- see as many sunsets and sunrises as possible
- go for long drives
- not wear a bra
- eat my favorite foods – Numero Uno pizza, fresh Maine lobster, red chile and sopapillas, chocolate mousse pie, cheesecake, ice cream, bacon, cheese blintzes with strawberry preserves, pancake sandwich with eggs over easy, bacon and maple syrup, steamed artichokes with mayo
- drink a lot of alcohol
- write letters to my boys
- finish a scrap book for each of my boys
- visit New York City
- go sailing
- make love like there is no tomorrow
- make love outdoors
- go barefoot
- post all my pictures online
- keep the kids out of school
- eat out and not cook, no laundry or cleaning
- read my poetry at an open mic night
- smoke indoors
- call all my friends and tell them I love them
- give away my things – pictures and jewelry and anything I have that anyone wants or needs
- camp by a lake
- eat ice cream for breakfast and cereal for dessert
- rent a convertible sports car
- listen to my favorite music loud all day
- sing whenever I feel like it
- watch my husband and kids perform their music
- watch my kids play sports
- do anything my kids and husband want to do like race go carts or sky diving
- grant wishes – even if it means cooking my family’s favorite meals
- get a puppy
- I won’t say no to anything, I will accept all invitations
- buy a really nice dress suit for my funeral
- shop for others and give gifts to people like it’s Christmas
- get a massage as often as possible
- have a mani-pedi every week
- get my hair done and have a facial at a swanky salon
I think all of the things on my list point to living my life freely and enjoying the things that come my way. As for the more concrete things that I hope to acheive, I have created a vision board. Providing I live longer than 37 days, which I fully intend to do, I think it will be amazing to see all of the things on my board become reality. I can’t wait for the day it becomes necessary to make a new one! (I’ll need another new pair of glasses by then for sure!)