Transcendental rubber cement

By Mir
January 2, 2015

How did I become a vision board person? It’s still baffling to me. I am just about the most un-artsy-craftsy person I know, and yet, now that I’ve done this for a few years, it is without a doubt my very favorite new year’s tradition.

Granted, my OTHER new year’s traditions are 1) taking down the Christmas decorations, 2) vacuuming up bits of fake tree and fuzz from destroyed dog toys once said decorations are dispatched and 3) making large salads because none of my pants fit after The Month Of Eating, so it’s not like the bar was super-high, or anything. But still. I don’t know how I turned into someone who spends the better part of a day meditating with scissors and glue. It seems unlike me. And yet it is totally me, now.

Once again, Chickadee joined me, and the only big change this year was that we’d been madly scooping up free and cheap magazine subscriptions all year for just this purpose, so we had… roughly 100 magazines at our disposal. It was insane. I ended up cutting out way more than I actually used, which was fine, but about halfway through our session we were making comments to each other about how Oprah’s concept of a “bargain” was laughable and Martha’s ideas about “good things” should really be labeled “rich white lady with too much time on her hands” things. It’s all part of the process, dontchaknow.

[Have you been around for prior years’ vision boards? Here’s a retrospective, if you care: 2011’s board (my first one), 2013’s board (I missed 2012, whoops), and 2014’s creations (both mine and Chickie’s).]

This year was interesting, both the year itself and the vision board process. As for the actual year, I won’t presume to speak for my kid, but I feel like three-ish (!!) years of turmoil in her life put us on a rollercoaster of ups and downs which somehow brought us to a period of treading water, earlier this year, followed by a spectacular nose-dive. I hesitate to call anything rock bottom, but there was a point, this year, when we were… somewhere… that felt a lot like that. My personal work in therapy was focused mainly on letting go of hope and expectations for my kid in way that wouldn’t crush me (and if that doesn’t sound hard, you’ve never had to do such a thing). No sooner did I start to feel like I was finally reaching something that felt like acceptance when… I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s like she woke up, looked around, and went, “What? No, this is all wrong. I want something else.” And just like that, real change started happening.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and even with all the gains there are still losses, but something shifted in a way we hadn’t seen in the years prior. No one knows how or why—I certainly don’t know, and Chickadee isn’t sure, either—but hope is back in our reach (for me, sure, but way more importantly, for her).

I’m happy with how my board came out, and I felt like it told me some stuff about myself, but Chickadee’s board fascinated me.

Here’s mine (click to embiggen):


And here’s hers (click to embiggen):


2014 was a big year for us; I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings.


  1. Amanda

    I find it interesting that you’re both going to hug the alligator dog, and that you used it in varying sizes.

  2. RooBearMom

    I think this is something I want to start doing with my 12 yr old son. His brother is a freshman away at college and 12 yr old is struggling for his independence AND identity. He’s also crafty, so might be a fun way to channel it.

  3. Hally

    I always love your posts about your vision boards. I’ve been squirrelling away magazines from the library for just that reason. May the best still be ahead of you & Chickie and Monkey and Otto.

    All the best,
    (mbr #9284 of Team Otto)

  4. RuthWells

    Love it.

  5. Lucinda

    Wow. Chickadee’s brought tears to my eyes. Here’s to hope and many other good things this year.

  6. Aimee

    I love these. I haven’t done one, but I might do one this year. I have picked a word of the year, inspired by a friend who has done it for the past five years. It’s in lieu of any resolutions. My word is RELEASE and hoping it’s going to bring very good things for me.

  7. hokgardner

    I keep waiting for my daughter to hit the waking up point. We keep hitting too many places that feel like pretty close to the bottom.

  8. Mandy

    That flying pig. <3

  9. Debra

    i completely do not understand these but I am fascinated by her mix of science images and art images. I often view science as a form of art, the way sword fighting is a art (martial art is still art in my POV) and many textile arts (knitting, sewing, etc) as a science. (Do you realize how much counting and measuring and calculating go into handcrafted textiles?)

    I think many people feel that science and art do not mix, that you have to be dorky, book-headed, sciency or flighty, creative, artsy.

    I love to meet people who have that mix… So many Middle Eastern dancers (belly dancers) I have meet are scientists working in science laboratories. It makes for fascinating conversation. People look at these women and think they are shallow and maybe not so smart and they are actually women with such depth and so much intelligence that it’s a little intimating sometimes.

    Your little Chickie is going to be okay. She doesn’t have to pick one side or the other. She can meld them into a fantastic woman.

    • Mir

      I think you’re right. :)

  10. Chris

    These are great! We tried to do this last year but didn’t seem to have the creativity or enough magazines to make it work. Maybe next year.

  11. Stacey

    I’m not going to lie Chickies board made me tear up a bit. You can see the healing and the forward looking thinking happening right there in Technicolor.

  12. diane2

    I too am curious about the alligator dog!
    I do a Vision Board with a group of lady friends every Jan/Feb. I’m already starting to clip and save. :) It’s one of my favorite things about the new year, too. (not just the project, but the quality lady bonding time too)

  13. Pip

    Your use of the Tolkien quote brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing Mir, that’s perfect.

    I’ve been doing a lot of wandering.

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