Today I want to share a little thing that has been making me smile recently. I hope that you give it a shot, and that it brings some simple joy into your life as it has to mine.
I am a very visual person. I learn visually, I think visually, I love drawing and decorating and aesthetics. I have a photo collage both in my room at home and in my dorm, and I love creating Pinterest boards for anything I can think of. My roommate and I are very similar in this way, which meant that we had a very pretty dorm, if I do say so myself. Our styles are very different but somehow melded together, and the resulting space was one we both loved spending time in. After the spring semester started, we decided to completely rearrange the room. We moved furniture and decorations (including my entire photo collage….it took hours) until it seemed like a completely new space. Throughout the following weeks, we added little touches to our “new room,” liking it more with each one.
This had me thinking about the power aesthetics have on us-our moods, mental states, and productivity. Simply rearranging some boring dorm furniture and personalizing the space had made such a difference how we moved through the day there. I began to consider how I could harness the power of aesthetics, and make the most of my inclination towards the visuals.
Of course, I thought about vision boards. I had thought before about making one, at New Years. I like the tangible and visual product, but the spirituality connotation sort of steered me away from ever actually doing it. That, and the fact that summing up a year in a few images is daunting. My life looks so different at various points in the year, according to when I’m in school or out, when I’m in a show or not, what season it is, and so many other factors. My goals and my “vision” for myself and my life change alongside it. Still, I was on the right track.
I decided on creating a monthly collage.
I start by making a Pinterest board for the upcoming month. I pin images of experiences, habits, or items that I want to have as part of my month. Some of them aren’t super literal, but many are. For example, I’ve had photos of a record because I wanted to listen to more music, and photos of pointe shoes because I wanted to spend more time practicing, but also this photo, which to me symbolized spending time with my sisters.
I save the Pinterest photos and then use an app to turn these photos into a collage of my liking.
When that’s done, I save the collage set it as my phone and laptop background so that I can see it all the time. At first, I thought about making it into a physical vision board to hang in my room or put in my planner, but printing and cutting all those photos every month seemed like it might turn this into a chore rather than something fun. Making the collage a phone background saves time and paper, but also ensures that you are reminded of your goals and hopes often.
At first, I thought that would be the extent of it. I’d remember what I wanted to do and enjoy seeing the pretty pictures on my phone. I did do both. I loved being reminded of my favorite things whenever I checked the time, and it served as a reminder of my current focus. After a while, however, I began to find myself in situations that resembled the photos to an eerie degree.
For example, in my April collage, I included a picture of a handwritten letter and envelope, thinking I’d like to write letters to a friend that month. Instead, I found myself writing letters back and forth with my scene partner as part of our character exploration for class.
I also had a photo of a picnic blanket and a woman with bare feet sitting on it. I never had a picnic myself, but ran into my roommate sprawled out on a blanket with takeout and notebooks in the garden on campus. I joined her for a bit, only realizing the similarity when I picked up my phone to leave.
Another collage had a picture of a row of YA novels, not because I particularly wanted to catch up on my young adult fiction that month, but because I wanted to read in general and I’d liked the look of that photo. Late that month I found myself getting coffee with a lovely girl who reads and writes YA fiction, and we swapped recommendations, beginning what I hope will be a great friendship.
In one of my favorite examples, I had this photo, which I thought of as representative of the show I was assistant directing, a first-year showcase that I knew would include movement pieces.
That month, I took this photo.
I don’t know that any of this is more than coincidence, or self-fulfilling prophecy, or placebo. I don’t know if it is anecdotal evidence for the law of attraction or energies or anything. I’m trying not to try to figure it out too much. I just find these similarities that emerge to be fascinating and delightful.
I don’t know if making these collages is causing any profound, physical change in my life. I do know, however that I love seeing them and that they help me to focus on the good. Perhaps they even help me bring more of that good into my life. Either way, it gives me something to do while standing on the train.