I am a recent convert on vision boards - I used to think they were a whimsical arts and crafts exercise but now I'm INTO IT. I make one in January (and have our team do the same) and put it up in my office, right in front of my desk, so I see it every day. I like to choose images that inspire me and words that motivate me. I go through a ton of magazines and cut a bunch of stuff out and then go through my choices a second and third time to narrow it down to what I'm absolutely going to keep.
This year I cut the word "family" out to potentially include on my board. I don't know about you but my family lives far away and as a result we don't see one another often in general but during COVID we really didn't see one another as we weren't traveling. Other words that I cut out were "dream", "growth", "stay curious", which all felt upward/outward to me but "family" felt rooted and different from every other word I had. I put it on my board.
Days later my younger brother called me. I've seen him twice in the last five or so years. "Erin, I just found out that I'm going to be the Commander of the USS St. Louis and the change of command ceremony is next week in Florida. I know it's last minute and you probably can't come but I wanted to let you know."
In case you're new here I tend to prioritize work over everything and have also had limited funds the majority of my adult life so time and money are not things I think of myself having in abundance. I quickly responded "that's amazing! I'm so happy for you! I'm so sorry I can't come but I'm so excited for you and can't wait to hear all about it!" We talked some more and then hung up the phone.
The moment I hung up I turned and looked at my husband, "I should go" I said. "You should go" he replied. Going was not going to be easy as January is full of tasks for small business owners and I was already going to Florida the week after to celebrate my grandmother's 100th birthday. And the ticket would be expensive since I was buying it 7 days in advance. But in hanging up the phone I was shaken out of my old thinking and thought "what's more important - your brother, who you love, who has been working towards this for the last 20 years or your sense of panic? Your brother." I booked the ticket.
Getting to see him, his children, his wife, my parents, all of us together - it was incredibly special. We hadn't all been in a room together since my wedding in 2006 (minus his kids who hadn't been born yet).
Sitting on the flight deck of a huge ship watching him deliver an incredible speech, seeing how precious and supportive his marriage is, cuddling my delicious niece and nephews - it was priceless. I was only in Florida for 24 hours but going was the best decision I could have made.
I think back on memories of him - as a preschooler who loved bow ties, a 5th grader who was devoted to our guinea pig, Spike, his love of books, feeding seagulls and flying kites on vacations as kids - and now he's married with three beautiful children and he's leading an entire ship full of people!
All to say, that word "family" on my board has manifested in major ways in 2023 and we're only three months in! Showing up for people isn't always easy or convenient but I think that it matters. A lot. And I also realize it isn't always possible. But when it is, I think it's important to do it. I think it meant a lot to my brother that I came, but it honestly meant the most to me that I got to go.