Updated: Jan 18
What is your worst fear?
My husband's is the fear of being average, and recently he realized his worst fear came true. We ended up here due to a lack of intentionality, short sightedness, and making circumstantial decisions. But here is not where we want to stay. We don't want to live an average or normal life, we want to live an exceptional one. We knew the shift from average to exceptional was going to require some major changes - purging both physical possessions and some of our obligations, and determining where we want to go and how we want our life to look.
The realization that we are average led each of us to craft a 5 year vision for our lives. I usually struggle with the task of crafting a personal vision, but my husband found an exercise through someone in his network that was helpful in actually completing the task.
Below are brief instructions for the exercise, my 2025 vision, and the initial steps I'm taking in order to make it a reality.
Instructions for Crafting a Vision for Your Life
Pick a time frame - 3, 5 or 10 years in the future.
Create a list of Prouds - things that will get you in a positive mindset. These can include facts (things you've achieved) or feelings (how you felt when you experienced success in the past).
Write the first draft without analyzing it - Make it personal using names, tastes, places, etc., and write as if it already happened (i.e. "It's a Monday morning in December 2025..." and take it from there)
Review and Re-draft as many times as needed
This Exercise came from Zingerman's Guide to Good Leading, Part 3: A Lapsed Anarchist's Approach to Managing Ourselves. More detailed instructions can be found on Page 222 of the text.
My List of Prouds
45 mile Pelotonia bike ride
Cinco de Mayo 5 mile run
GOTrip to India
Birth of my daughter
Paying off a substantial amount of debt during Covid
Starting UnKajed Thoughts blog
Rock climbing in Tennessee
Being asked to be a Crossroads Church Instagram Influencer for their Good God Journey
Closeness with my Mom and Sister during pregnancy
Encouraging my sister after the birth of her 2nd son
Overcoming fear & sharing abuse/trauma story with my Mom and on Instagram as part of a campaign
Ordering BTBF shirts and uploading them on the site for purchase
It’s a Saturday morning in October 2025. It’s early, the sun hasn’t risen yet and Reina is still sleeping. I try to wake up before her so I can get some alone time to center myself before the chaos & fun begins. I walk downstairs to the kitchen to brew a hot cup of coffee or tea before sitting down to do my morning pages (MP's). The scent of fresh calla lilies, lavender, and eucalyptus fills the room and the soft sound of crickets can be heard through the open window. I grab my cup of tea/coffee and a small bowl of yogurt and granola and head to our reading nook by the patio door. I set the timer for 30 minutes and pick up my pen to start my morning pages. MP’s have become an integral and sacred part of my daily routine. It’s how I connect with God, reflect, and process life and what’s on my mind before taking on the day.
Bananas foster french toast with a side of fruit and bacon (for Teno) are on the menu for breakfast this morning. Reina loves French toast just like her mom. Meal time is important to our family. I have a deep enjoyment for our Saturday morning breakfasts and Sunday dinners. This evening we’ll head to J and J’s* house for dinner with the crew. We have developed an unbreakable bond over the years. I’m grateful Reina has amazing adult role models she can look up to and lean on outside of Teno and I.
It was a productive week. UnKajed Thoughts has grown into a successful blog, transitioning 3 years ago to The UnKajed Life at KajeMarie.com, where I dive into topics about motherhood, faith, outdoor adventure, human trafficking, freedom & overcoming what holds us back, and how we’re creating a life we truly want to live. I recorded 2 podcast episodes earlier this week, started planning content for November, edited next week’s newsletter, finished up a blog post, and brainstormed ideas for our annual fundraiser supporting Jeevan Aadhar and Freeset. Next week I have an important meeting about putting together a video for my Freedom Stories project. I was able to start outsourcing some of the work a year ago and am aiming to hire my first full time employee in the next 2 years. Although my blog and business are demanding, I enjoy the flexibility it gives me and the ability to be location free so we can travel when we want. I’m even planning to go back to India next spring for another GOTrip. I love being a work from home mom - doing meaningful and fulfilling work without having to sacrifice all my time and energy with my daughter.
We paid off all of our debt including our mortgage, which has allowed us to hire a full-time Nanny with benefits and outsource cleaning and lawn care. The help we get frees up time to spend doing more of the things we enjoy as individuals, a couple and a family - weekly date night, bike rides, camping and other outdoor activities, and pouring into younger couples and parents to name a few. We continue to tithe to Crossroads and budget an additional 5-10% of our income to other giving. We’re hosting Christmas in Columbus this year with both of our families. I found a beautiful Airbnb large enough to hold all of us. I’m excited to see all the kids playing and running around together. Next year will be 15 years together for Teno and I. When we have our annual retreat in January, we’ll start planning our big trip to Greece and Italy next August. We continue to nurture our relationship and marriage, serving each other, encouraging and challenging one another, and providing an example of a healthy and loving relationship for our daughter.
I live a full life. My character and life are a reflection of God’s love and draws others closer to Jesus. I am intentional with my Yes and my No to ensure I have space for sufficient rest as well as what I am MEANT and WANT to do. I stay connected and close to God, remembering that being comes before doing. This helps me to avoid overfilling my calendar so that I don't get overwhelmed or burned out. I trust God to lead me and don’t let fear dictate my actions or decision making. I respect and treat my body well, exercising and maintaining a healthy diet. When my vision is achieved my family and marriage are thriving, other couples are growing in both their relationship with each other and with God, and women are finding freedom to love and be who they are and live the life they want. My presence leaves the people, places, and things I touch better than I found them.
*Names abbreviated to protect identity
After completing our visions, we came together to discuss what we each can do to work toward making them a reality. I scanned my vision for opportunities to implement small tangible habits that are feasible for me as a new mom with a 3 month old. Right now I need small wins so I can start building momentum.
Both my husband and I identified our morning routine as the most important part of our day in each of our visions. The first step I'm taking to make this vision a reality is getting back into the habit of completing Morning Pages. Morning Pages is 3 pages of longhand stream of consciousness writing first thing in the morning. If you want more detailed information on this daily exercise, check out Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way.
As a new mom dealing with sleep deprivation and the demands of motherhood, I'm starting with a modified version of MP's - 1 page a day, completed at any time of the day I'm able to fit it into my schedule. It isn't currently feasible for me to complete 3 full pages every day, in the morning no less. But I need to start somewhere to build momentum. Sometimes it looks like me sitting at my desk at 10pm to complete my 1 page right before I head to bed. As my daughter falls into a routine and sleeps longer stretches at night, I will eventually transition to an uninterrupted 30 minutes in the morning.
Additionally, my husband and I now ensure that we formally touch base with each other via weekly family meetings to discuss various things including the upcoming week, what we need from each other, our monthly budget, and any major updates or decisions we need to make.
These things seem small on the surface, but are impactful for us. Plus, how you do the little things, is how you do the big things. We're no longer settling for reacting to life happening to us. We're working on doing our best to make life happen for us.
P.S. It's important to note that this vision is an evolving statement. There are things that I (think I) want for myself and my life 5 years from now that could change with time. This isn't set in stone. It's simply a roadmap pointing me in a particular direction. There's always room to go another way if I decide that's what I want to do. What is most important about this vision statement is that it provides direction for my life, period.
Do you have a vision for your life? What is one of your Prouds and one thing you envision for your life by 2025?
Comment below then go take the first step toward making it a reality!