Sometimes you need a kick in the pants

And sometimes it has to come from a stranger.

January is a beast of a month. Between recovering from the holidays, figuring out how to make all your New Year’s resolutions fit into an already tight schedule, and summoning up the energy to brave the cold weather, it creates a strange mix of expectation and apathy, determination and excuses.

For Christmas this year, my sister got me a one-hour session with a psychic medium. Even then, knowing it was free for me to try, I was hesitant. I didn’t understand why anyone would pay for someone to tell them a load of crap, especially given that the reading would happen over the phone. How could that possibly work? What could she tell me that would legitimize it at all? (And, also, what if it gets too real?) Prior to this, my familiarity with psychics was pretty much the Miss Cleo commercials that ran in the 90s, but my sister insisted that this one was great. After each reading, she would text me with questions about our genealogy to determine which ancestor it was who kept coming through. Three sessions later, we still don’t have a clue (you know, assuming this is real). Even so, she said that each time was a profound experience and gave her some clarity on her life.

A few weeks went by and I still hadn’t made a decision to call or not, but then January began to live up to its reputation. A friend whom I was used to seeing just about every day moved (far, far) away, I started feeling lost at work, and all I could think about was that I didn’t know what I wanted (for my future, for lunch), let alone how to get there. It’s a scary thing to feel like you’re in some sort of box looking out a one-way mirror, trapped in place and unable to engage with the world or people around you. So, since my sister’s reading had been fairly advice-centric, I finally caved.

Going into it, I wanted to give the least amount of information possible. I mean, she’s psychic, right? Let’s make her work a little bit. I did this to a degree, but the way she conducts the reading makes that somewhat difficult. At times she would phrase something bluntly (“Why are you bored with life?”) and at others she would ask a question to get to an answer (“Do you have a cat?” “No, I don’t have a cat. I have a dog.”) Regardless of how she got there, though, throughout the hour she made relevant points and made me question how I’ve been living my life these last several years. When one area of your life is stable, it’s so easy to get into a rut and not push yourself further. I would stay late at work, the one place I felt productive and useful, because I didn’t want to be at home alone, even though my dog was there. I stopped going to shows, wasn’t working out as much, and couldn’t have made less of an effort toward dating. And that has been my last year (at least).

So now here I am, with January almost at its end, wondering what to do next. Wondering isn’t enough, though, and if things are going to change, I need to make the effort. And not just once or twice, but consistently and thoroughly this time around. She told me to write, so I will write. She told me to finish school, so I will take the GMAT and determine the next steps. But, mostly, I will say yes when I want to say no, stop talking about adventures and actually take them, strengthen friendships while opening myself up to new ones, and stop being so self-contained. She said it’s okay to mess up, and that’s nearly petrifying, but it’s something I will have to be okay with in order to get out of my bubble and become someone better, someone I would want to be friends with.

I still don’t know if I believe in psychics, but at the very least this lady appeared to understand me a whole lot better than most people I’ve known for years. I suppose as long as what she’s saying is accurate, what difference does it make whether it’s real or not? And who knows, maybe I will meet a tall, “old book” who looks like Johnny Depp when I’m traveling (in Iceland? Switzerland? Spain?) in the next four years.