Some experiences I’ve had during my single years feel — even to me — to be a little bit of a rom-com cliché. Like the many times I walked into the offices of an expensive psychic, hoping she’d tell me that everything in my crazy love life was going to turn out just fine. Or the time I had my palm read at midnight after a really bad date. Or the time I went to see a medium so I could find out if my Aunt Ida had any wise words for me from beyond the grave (she did; I had to break up with the guy I was seeing).
My on-off entanglement with psychics began when I saw one who was recommended to me by a co-worker.
I was intrigued, because after her reading, my colleague seemed to possess an inner peace that she didn’t have before. The psychic predicted that she was going to emigrate to another country with a man who had gorgeous blue eyes. Years on, the blue-eyed man never showed up (she did emigrate, though). At the time of her reading, my friend spoke so effusively of the psychic’s accuracy that about five other co-workers went to see the same psychic, who we’ll call N.
Turns out that N was very right about some things, and not quite right about others. I think that’s often how these things tend to go. Aren’t we all — psychic or not — right about so many things when we try to look into our future, and wrong about others? We simply cannot know what’s to come; yet I wanted to know what I couldn’t know: We all do. My friends and I would feel a sense of solidarity with each other after the visits. It’s fun to compare notes over cocktails (another single woman cliché that I partake in willingly).
Sitting in a room and hearing things about your life for an hour is not all that different from therapy. After meeting N, regularly seeing a psychic became a not-so-secret habit, a way to nurture myself if I was feeling down. Root tint? Check. French tip manicure? Check. Psychic appointment? Check.
For years, I would visit one psychic or another, hoping to meet my need for some kind of certainty in my wildly unpredictable love life.
I’d sit in a quiet room with an intuitive, clairvoyant, counselor-type person who would inevitably say something reassuring or hopeful: I would fall in love again, I would bounce back from heartache, I would learn from my mistakes.
I would float out of the room feeling empowered with information, feeling comforted. Perhaps that “information” helped me relax, and therefore enabled me to meet the guy I wouldn’t have met if I’d been so worried that he was never going to appear. Or perhaps — more likely, maybe — the knowledge she gave me was nothing more than a quick Band-Aid to bring me temporary relief.
Years later, I look back and know why I was having a hard time staring at the blank card that was my future, why I wanted someone to look into my eyes and tell me everything was going to be okay.
Now, I feel that I can — to a large extent — make my own fate, carve out my own rich life out of an uncertain future, even if things get rough.
I can (and do) live comfortably with uncertainty these days. I’ve learned that the space of not knowing is the space where magic can happen. Life can, and does, surprise you.
I readily admit that, during times when it was difficult to reckon with the sheer magnitude of the unknown, a psychic helped me feel a little more certain. Yes, I did meet a dashing man who would later become my husband — but after a messy and unexpected divorce, I learned firsthand that all that glitters is not always gold. A tall, dark, handsome stranger could indeed be around the corner, but he could also turn out to be a frog dressed like a prince.
After my divorce was finalized, I wanted to see what was in store for me in my new life as a single woman.
My most recent reading rocked my world more than a little bit. This new reader was recommended from a trusted friend who sees her regularly. She’s a well-known psychic to the stars, more expensive than the others I’d seen in the past, and she was stellar — startlingly knowing. Her crystal clear stance on where she believes my new life will take me was very interesting: She said some things which surprised me, leading me to do some soul searching once I left her office.
After some weeks of reflection, I realized that I had all the tools I needed to move on with my life, and I knew that I’d actually had these tools before stepping foot inside her office.
Sometimes too much information about your situation is simply that — too much; it ceases to become helpful. We seek clarity in confusion; we look for order in chaos. But sometimes, a visit to a psychic (especially a good one) can add new factors to the mix of an already confused brain. Sometimes, no more information is really needed because a psychic is simply reading us — our confusion, our desires, our wants and needs. But we can read ourselves, too. We can stop looking outside and look within: Everything I need to know is right there.
I don’t need a psychic to empower me with tools to face my life head on anymore — I can do it on my own. Over the years, I’ve built up resilience, strength, and gusto. I give my life my best shot — not because a psychic tells me good things are going to happen, but because I believe they do happen: I’ve lived long enough to know that wonderful, beautiful things really do happen every day.
Life is subject to randomness — illness, grief, unexpected obstacles like divorce, and other hard truths. This randomness makes life fragile and precious. I can’t control everything that will happen to me, but I can control my reactions to those things. I can take the reins of my own life and, as Dr. Seuss so wisely said, lead myself in the direction I want to go.
In my lowest moments, I sought comfort and reassurance that everything was going to be okay.
Skeptics may argue that a psychic is a purveyor of false hope, but a psychic can be something of a savior, too. These days, I’ve found peace in overwhelming uncertainty.
And it feels good. Now I realize that my life doesn’t belong to the stars, to the cards, or to the crystal ball. My life belongs to me, and my most important insights really do come from within my own head and heart.