Remona Aly
Wednesday 07 February 2024 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2

Empty spaces and vision boards

Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2, Zoe Ball Breakfast Show

Empty spaces on vision boards 


2024 did not kick off how I hoped. I was struck down with flu the very first day, faced rejections to article pitches, and had my phone stolen. Feeling sorry for myself, I spent the newborn year growing smaller by the day instead of burgeoning with big plans. So when a friend suggested I create a vision board, I grouched: ‘Don’t you need vision to make a vision board?’ 

A vision board is like a glorified to-do and to-be list, where you select magazine cuttings that visualise all you want from the year ahead.  

Resisting the urge to press ‘unsubscribe’ from my own life, I pushed myself towards a stack of mags and cut out whatever caught my attention. So far, I have a picture of a boat ride in Vietnam for travel goals, a string of Muslim prayer beads for faith goals, and an alarm clock for waking up earlier goals. One of the quotes I cut out says: ‘The world is waiting’. 

Yet, there are still lots of empty spaces on my vision board. 

I can’t always see where I want to go. I can’t always build who I need to be. I’m scared that if I dare to hold more dreams, there’s more risk of having them broken. I’m afraid that the more goals I set for myself, the more chance there is of failure. 

But the gaps on that vision board, empty and daunting as they are now, also hold space for something to bloom. They lift a lid for light to tiptoe in, they urge me to hold the hand of fear and fill the space with what I can still become, through the small things as well as the great.

The Pakistani Muslim poet and author, Noor Unnahar writes, “Emptiness is the space your solitude gifts. So fill that with grace, watch some movies in foreign languages, grow plants you’re unfamiliar with, chase the sunlight with your camera. Don’t waste the emptiness. Consume it to be as full as life wants you to be.”

Instead of fearing the emptiness on my vision board, I’ll try to see those gaps as gifts. I’ll seek to feed myself with all that life can give, and I’ll promise myself not to keep the world waiting for much longer.


To listen, click here Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2, Zoe Ball Breakfast Show