When I was 8, some friends of my parents had a party at their house. The main attraction was a palm reader they hired to entertain the guests. “You will marry someone from your childhood,” she told me. I squirmed at the thought of love or marriage; I still thought boys had cooties. This same palm reader also told a woman at the party that she would be separated from her husband of 20 years. A week later he died suddenly of a heart attack. Unclear since then about whether or not I believe or how much I believe, I’ve given countless psychics, palm readers, tarot readers, and astrologers and the like the opportunity to divine my future. Admittedly, these sessions occurred at moments in my life when I was lacking hope or direction or both.
A Babylonian astrologer told me if I did get married, it would be in 2008. The year came and went. Another psychic told me I would marry a man who worked in finance three years from then. Three years passed and my finance prince has yet to materialize. A tarot card reader in the West Village saw an older, wealthy man who “would be my equal” in my future. I’m still single.
But these predictive failures haven’t rendered me a non-believer. There have been successes too. In college, I popped into an East Village storefront where, for $5, a fortune teller predicted I’d be moving to California soon. Three weeks later, an opportunity to move to Los Angeles presented itself suddenly and I was there. A pendulum reader predicted I would make a career change where I worked with children. A teaching job fell in my lap less than a year later. A psychic dream analyst insisted he saw me moving back to New York and publishing a lot of writing. I laughed at him, telling him I only wrote for fun. Eight years later, I am living in New York and writing for a living.
To believe or not to believe; that is the question. Why have my future career predictions been dead on while visions of my love life have just been … well, dead? Maybe they were lucky guesses? Maybe my career is of more import in my life? Maybe I’m giving off a clearer “vibration” or whatever when it comes to my work. Maybe the power of suggestion subconsciously influenced my course of action? Or was it that I have less of an attachment to the outcome of my career than my love life? Rather than try to untangle this esoteric dilemma, my solution was to give up on worrying about my future and focus on my present — which I feel mostly satisfied about.
Then, this weekend, I received an unsolicited reading from an astrologer known as The Stargazer.
I was at a party with a friend who was excited to see The Stargazer in attendance. Two years earlier, he predicted she would meet “a very sad man who would make her very happy.” At the time, she said this bit of divination thoroughly depressed her. Three years later, she is married to a very sad man (he’s not sad so much as deadpan). They are incredibly happy together.
“The Stargazer is the real deal,” she told me. “You have to meet him.”
I shook The Stargazer’s hand, skeptically. He was a bald man with a goofy toothy grin.
“When’s your birthday?” he asked me.
I obliged him with the date and year of my birth. Without so much as a pause, he launched into his assessment of my love life.
“You were with someone who was a lot of fun but not marriage material. You will continue to have fun for the next six months. Things will heat up in the summer of 2013. Either you will meet the man you’re going to marry then or things will turn serious with someone you already know,” he told me, grinning from ear to ear.
My arm hair stood on end. He described my last relationship exactly. I hadn’t told him a single thing about myself. He didn’t even know whether I was single or not.
Could his prediction be right?
My mind scrolled through a list of guys I knew, that could be potential future mates. Then I imagined meeting a stranger and falling madly in love. For some reason, I pictured us in Central Park, walking hand-in-hand. I started to float five feet off the ground, lost in the reverie of my future romance.
Then I remembered that it’s 2011. I imagined how many “wrong” guys I would encounter between now and the summer of 2013 and how much that would suck. My feet hit the hardwood floor with a thud.
What the hell am I supposed to do until then?
This is the problem with knowing (or thinking you know) your future; it makes the present seem dull in comparison. Not knowing what will happen is part of the excitement. What keeps me “looking for love” is the idea that anything can happen. It would have been more helpful if The Stargazer had given me advice about how to entertain myself in the meantime.
So what do you think? How do you handle predictions about your love life?