Two years ago, shortly after I turned 35, I saw a psychic. At the encouragement of my mother and sister who’d both seen a particular future-foreseer in the West Village, I agreed to hand over some $50 to a woman who smelled of stale smoke and shuffled a deck of cards on a round table draped in a celestial-pattered covering. There was no crystal ball, and I can’t remember whether she was wearing a head scarf, but for the purposes of this story and intrigue, let’s say she was.
Most of the 20-minute reading was a blur. My hands physically shook throughout and I had a hard time holding back tears, which was embarrassing considering I was sitting in the front window of a storefront on a well-traversed corner in my neighborhood. I remember her flipping cards, eyeing me up and down and telling me the following:
The letter “J” would be a meaningful letter in my life.
The year 2015 would be a very good year.
This being 2013, I figured I had a solid amount of time to find my “J” and make sure 2015 was written somewhere on our wedding invites. That, or on the copyright page of a book I’d written. With the exception of continuing to get my passport stamped on a regular basis, finding The One and publishing a book were tops on my Make Shit Happen list. And therefore, in my mind, what would make 2015 a “very good year.”
So, after seeing this psychic and calling each of my close friends, mother and sister, I mentally went through all the former J’s in my life—a lot of them very meaningful, as chance would have it—and considered the odds of them reappearing in my life at some point in the near future. When I realized that was likely a dead-end, I began looking more hopefully to those I hadn’t met yet. During my daily Tinder-swiping, I perked up a bit and paused longer than normal whenever I came across a Jake, Josh or Jeremy in New York or a Jean-Pierre, Julien or Jérome in Paris.
See, “knowing the future” has this funny way of making you think twice when you might not otherwise. Which can be a good thing, or a very disruptive, bogus and disingenuous thing.
Eventually, as the last two years progressed, I started to pay less attention to the “J” and more attention to the 2015—especially once the clock struck midnight on December 31, 2014. I worked on my book proposal (for the umpteenth time), started a new project and even hung the numbers on my wall in my new Paris apartment as decor (and, yes, as means of manifesting the “very good”):
What was it going to be? I wondered.
Would I finally get the book deal? Find my Mr. “J” Right?
What was going to be the Big Thing that made 2015 the Very Good Year?
And therein lied the issue.
In my mind—which is to say not the mind of Psychic Maybe-Headscarf Lady—whatever “it” was would be singular.
One Good Thing. One Big Thing.
I figured when it came, I’d know for sure. It’d hit me over the head, scream loudly in my ear or make the hair on my arms stand up. After all, I’m fortunate to have had a lot of good in my life. How’s a girl supposed to tell the difference between just regular ‘ole good and stand out, worthy of a $50 future prediction good?
As I’m now realizing, though, that was all me. That was all in my head. Those were my self-inflicted predictions—and rather grand ones at that for someone without a set of tarot cards.
All she said was: “The year 2015 would be a very good year.”
And let’s be honest, it was.
I am still here, breathing, after all. While I don’t think mere survival is what Psychic Maybe-Headscarf Lady had in mind, following the two terrorist attacks I was all too close to within the past 365 days, it’d seem prudent not to recognize that. Not to mention the many health scares so many people I love (or the people they love) have been affected by.
Furthermore, I am writing—a lot, in fact. This past year alone I had work published in publications and sites that I hadn’t previously written for like Elle.com, T Magazine Online, the Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan.com, MarieClaire.com, Saveur.com and TravelandLeisure.com. This among a few more pieces in the New York Times, one of which filled me with the most pride. Plus, I’ve got a handful on tap, too.
And then let’s not forget that I’m living in Paris! I made the City of Light my home, where a quick walk down the block brings me face to face with fresh-baked bread and cheese so deliciously stinky it makes my eyes water; where the light hits the building just-so each and every day in a way that truly takes my breath away.
But the sad truth of the matter is, I rarely give myself credit for the accomplishments I have made. Rather, I am guilty of paying too much attention to the have-nots; the missing. The “not bad,” instead of the “very good.” Which is, clearly, not a “very good” way to live.
The article that wasn’t big enough or didn’t pay enough.
The book that remains unpublished.
The trip to Berlin that only lasted three days.
The Paris apartment, where I continue to live alone.
When we achieve one thing—be it big or small—we seek another. We seek more. What I have, you want. What you have, I want. It’s human nature, right? Going forward, though, rather than wait for It or try to plan for It or even (gasp!) expect It, I’m going to try to just Live It instead—whatever “It” may be. Sure, I’ll still set goals. But I want to appreciate more of the “found” as opposed to the “missing.” To linger longer on the many “haves” as opposed to the few “have nots.” To consider the B’s and the G’s and the S’s, too.
As the saying goes: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And on a whole, I’d say 2015 was, indeed, a very good year, for which I am profoundly grateful. I suppose I could give Psychic Maybe-Headscarf Lady some props for keeping me on my toes. But in the future? I think I’ll take it from here—with or without a J.