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  • Diana Schneidman

What I learned from a psychic

Think it’s kind of weird, this thing of going to a psychic?

And paying $100 at a crack?

I’m a rather cynical, skeptical person, and I answer “yes” to both questions.

Still, I have visited psychics twice, both times in the early ‘90s when my life was in the crapper.

Both came with substantial credentials, though admittedly, the kind of credentials only applicable to psychics. The first was at the recommendation of a friend who was a lay-level psychic and involved in the local psychic community. The second often guested on the dominant FM-drive-time radio in our market.

Seeing as how I’m cynical and skeptical, I’d guess you’d think that I seldom go to psychics because I think the whole thing is stupid. Most of their advice is simply what people want to hear and if they’re right, it’s pure luck.

Au contraire.

My bigger problem with psychics is that they may be right. And since they may be right, should I manage my life to maximize the efficiency of their predictions? How can I help not adjusting my life to fulfill their prognostications? So I find myself second-guessing life decisions based on input from people I’m not sure I believe.

These questions trouble me so much that I’ve only resorted to psychics in times of utter despair. Fortunately, it’s been quite awhile now.

I don’t remember most of what the two told me. However, when I asked if I would get a job—I was a floundering freelancer at the time—one said I would. So I asked how I would find it. She said the Wall Street Journal.

Ah, this was the kind of info I was in search of. Something definite that would point me down a clear-cut path.

The funny thing is that the psychic was both wrong and right.

I got two good jobs (and some temporary jobs and not-so-good jobs) since that time and none were through the WSJ. While I made an extra effort to read WSJ classifieds, both in print and in online listings associated with its website, none of the ads led to a job.

Or did the psychic mean that I would read an article in the paper that would cause me to contact a company and perhaps create my own job there? If only I had asked.

Years later I met husband Wayne, who for decades had been working at the Naperville, IL, Dow Jones plant where they printed the Wall Street Journal.

So the reading was technically wrong, but since it was partly right, I rounded up to give credit.

Now for the most important lesson, which I learned while waiting in the hotel hallway for my appointment with the second psychic.

Here’s the story.

Right ahead of me in line were three women: a girl hoping to marry her boyfriend, accompanied by her mother and her potential mother-in-law. The three women were so close (and apparently so similar in ethnicity) that you couldn’t determine who was the mother and who was the future MIL on your own. One big happy family.

However, the girl wanted psychic advice because her boyfriend was not interested in raising her young son (perhaps 4 years old) and couldn’t see himself loving the boy as if he were his own. What should she do? she planned to ask. Is this marriage in her future?

I bit my tongue but the answer was obvious. “Break up with the guy right now!

“While his honesty is admirable, here’s a relationship with no future. After all, the kid is still in preschool. That’s a lot of years ahead until he leaves home.

“It sounds like the guy doesn’t want to marry you so come on, girl, move on,” I wanted to say.

And even if she could win him over, the decision would be bad for her son.

I commiserated with her but gave no opinion. Not that she asked for one anyway.

The girl didn’t need $100 of “professional” advice because her preferred course of action, while difficult in the short term, was obvious. Walk!

Was the answer to my problem just as obvious?

As the trio entered the psychic’s room, I wondered if my appointment was unnecessary, too. However, I had already paid so I kept it.

In retrospect, I already knew my answer.

Keep living, keep applying for jobs. Keep on keeping on. The world keeps turning and issues resolve if you put forth the effort.

Originally posted 6-21-10

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