Making Dreams Come True

“We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because…he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”
– Buckminster Fuller

What does a day in your dream life look like? How does it begin and end? What mark does it leave on the world?

This is a story about my newest project. There will be an assignment for you at the end of it – no excuses.

As part of a new stress reduction challenge, (courtesy of, I created a Vision Collage; a collage of images that represent my goals and dreams in life. I’d done one of these many years ago, before I had my son, now five years old. I no longer have the old vision collage. I recall completely destroying it once my son was born, embarrassed by the superficiality of many of the goals. I regret it destroying it now. It could have served as a record of my personal growth, which is the point of setting and achieving goals in the first place.

This time around, many of my goals were different – refined and more meaningful. Yet many of them were still the same. I made a mental note that those repeated goals are likely where my bliss lie. For the record, this is my new one:

The images all spiral outward from the central image. That image is one of a woman doing yoga on the beach; a representation of the core of my wellness plan, which is daily yoga practice. From that center image, the immediate goals spiral outwards to the long term goals. Each image falls into at least one of the following categories:

Health and Spirit:  My immediate goals address my well-being on all levels. The stress reduction plan is part of a wellness program, which includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, a personal journal and even a nod to spiritual health. To represent my dedication to sprirtual health, I included a photo of the Meeting House I often attend. It’s a beautiful space and the silence of Quaker Meeting for Worship makes it all that more serene.

Writing/Blogging: I have numerous projects I’ve started sitting unfinished in my Word folder. I have numerous projects I wrote for classes also sitting in my Word folder, unedited for wider publication. I have yet to discipline myself to this work. As part of this challenge, I’ll be dedicating 90 minutes a day to me – just me – with my interests as the focus. These images, one of a notebook with pens and another that reads “I Heart Blogging,” remind me to get to the task at hand; writing about things I want to write about. That leads me to the next category.

Children’s Stories/Mosaics/Needlepoint: This is the category of images that appeared on my old Vision Collage too, which are artistic pursuits I wish to get back to. I say “get back to” because before my son was born, I engaged in them all, even when I had a full time job. I created primitive mosaic trays which I use to this day. I managed to write a full length screenplay of an original fairytale (still awaiting the rewrite modifications my professor suggested). My old needlepoint projects lay around, awaiting completion. Before I had my son, I took a lot of my free time for granted. Now that I’ve been a stay-at-home-parent for more than five years, I won’t make that mistake again.

Educational Pursuits:  Sometime in my 30s, I formed a love of economics, a discipline I avoided in undergrad because…ya know…math. When my son was four months old, I decided to try my hand at this scary math. After starting all over again in Pre-Algebra, I got to Calculus four years later. There were a few necessary elements I would need to go further, so I applied to a college of my choice this year. On my Vision Collage, I included the logo for that school, the image of an Economics textbook and one of a graduation cap that represents the level of education I wish to eventually attain; the PhD.

Dream Jobs:  I’ve been asked what I intend to do with the doctorate (if I get it.) I have no blessed idea. I’m in it for the education, which is why I set my sights on an affordable public university. Along the way, there are many jobs I wish to take just for the experience and for the fun. My Vision Collage includes some corresponding images; such as a photo of the main lobby of the South Street Seaport Museum, where I wish to volunteer once my son starts school.  There is also a map of New York City with the words “A Nerd’s Guide to New York City.” I have always wanted to be a walking tour guide (and one of the professors in the Economics department in my chosen school happens to be the director of a New York City-based off-beat walking tour group). There is also a photo of the indoor garden at the Ford Foundation building. This image serves two goal purposes; the first is the serenity I feel when I’m there. The second is that I wish to look for job opportunities in NGOs like the Ford Foundation.

Buildings:  Lastly come my financial goals. These featured most prominently on my last board. They’re now the smallest images on my new board, represented by a single category: housing. I have not yet made up my mind on places I wish to live eventually: Manhattan, Quebec or some beach somewhere, so I included all three. There are images there of a building in upper Manhattan that currently has a three bedroom apartment in our price range; a map of Quebec City and the images of a canoe on a mountain lake and the image of a house directly on a beach. We live in a fantastic school district right now, so while it counts, we’ll be staying in our current town. Eventually, I’ll have the ability to move again. With my images in mind, I continue to dedicate my efforts to preparing for that day.

There’s an add-on that isn’t glued on, located at the top, held to the Vision Collage by the magnet holding the collage up. It’s a fortune cookie missive I received not too long ago. It reads: “No one is standing in your way anymore, time to [move] forward.”

Now moving onto your assignment. It’s in two parts.

Part I: Make a Vision Collage; on paper, digitally or even just in words. Describe the images and words you would use to represent your goals and dreams.

Part II: Not everyone has the luxury of being financially supported while they stay at home to raise a youngster. However, raising a youngster takes up more of my time than any other full time job I ever had – and I was once a paralegal for the New York office of an international law firm. When I look back to my childless but full-time employed years, I see hundreds of hours I could have used more wisely. We live and learn. Knowing your hours are limited, what small steps can you take to turn your images into reality?  Can you start this week? What does a day in your dream life look like?

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