“People often say that it takes a lot of courage to take one’s own life, and I agree with that. But I also believe that, sometimes, it takes even more courage to keep going on.” (Part 6: Trips to the Dark Side)
Coming home from my cruise meant that, no matter how difficult it was, I had to find the courage to keep living my life. Inspired by my time at sea, I decided to go back to school at the beginning of the new year to study Travel and Tourism. It would be a new beginning for me.
The best and worst thing about new beginnings is that everything feels uncertain. There are so many different directions that you can go in, but you don’t know where these roads will take you. And that feeling of uncertainty is scary. I remember talking to my friend Ashley* about that over lunch at a Japanese all-you-can-eat on Good Friday of 2008. She was in the midst of planning her move to Spain and I was about 3 months into my travel courses. We were both curious about what was ahead of us and thought it might be fun to go see a psychic. Neither of us were superstitious or really believed in psychics, but we thought it might be interesting to see what a psychic had to say about us, so we set out to find one.
Driving down Yonge Street, the longest and busiest street in the city, we were almost certain we would find a psychic along the way. We both agreed that, in the past, we had seen a few around this particular section of the street, so it should have been an easy task. Ironically on this day, after driving up and down a few intersections of the street twice, we didn’t see a single sign for a psychic. Ashley pulled over the car and suggested we look for a Yellow Pages. A lot of stores were closed because it was a statutory holiday, so we were left with few options. Eventually, we found an Extreme Fitness that was open. It was underground with an open atrium and a tranquil waterfall at the bottom of the staircase. It was a nice, relaxing environment. We approached the reception and asked if they had a Yellow Pages we could borrow. The girl at the front desk was very nice, and she offered to look in the back to see if there was one. A few minutes later, she returned empty-handed with a young man by her side.
The guy came up to us and introduced himself. He said he had heard that we were looking for a copy of the Yellow Pages, which he knew they had on top of a shelf ever since he started working there. Strangely though, on that day, the Yellow Pages wasn’t there. Both him and his colleague looked around for it without success. He apologized for not being able to find it, but asked why we were looking for the phone book and how he might be able to help us. Ashley and I looked at each other and laughed before explaining to him. Upon hearing about our venture, he put on a stern face and began to persuade us not to see a psychic. He said that we found our way there because God wanted him to speak to us, and he told us an elaborate story about how he can predict things. I knew Ashley had the same thoughts in her head as I did while we stood there listening to this guy talk. Neither of us were religious, and we didn’t really think he could predict anything. After standing there for almost 20 minutes, we finally excused ourselves and left the fitness center. As soon as we were out the door, we burst out laughing. What a bizarre situation! We thought it was funny how this person was preaching to us, but there was a tiny part of us that thought it was odd how we found ourselves in that situation. Nonetheless, it was a story for us to laugh about as we continued on our search.
Determined to find a psychic, Ashley and I got back into the car and tried to think of all the places we had seen signs for psychics. We remembered seeing a sign for a psychic just a couple blocks from my house, so we decide to drive east. Once we got to the house, we called the number advertised on the sign in the window. A man picked up the phone after a few rings, and we asked to have a meeting with the psychic. To our surprise, he said she wasn’t home. Ashley and I couldn’t help but feel like there was something preventing us from seeing a psychic. We decided to give it one more try by driving all the way to the west end again, to another area where Ashley recalled seeing signs for psychics. Another hour of driving around later, we were still unable to find one. We finally stopped the car in an empty parking lot and thought about what we were doing.
At that point, we both knew deep inside that no matter how long we spent looking for a psychic, we weren’t going to find one that day. There was no doubt that we passed by many throughout our drive around the city. We had passed by them there before, numerous times. On this day though, it was as if we had blinders on; we didn’t spot a single one. And we realized why. We were desperate. Desperate for our lives to change. We wanted someone to tell us our lives were going to change for the better in the future. We wanted reassurance. We wanted to know that we made the right decisions. We didn’t want to admit that we were afraid of the unknown because it is so much easier to have someone tell you what will happen in life rather than wait to find out by living it out. We wanted a short cut, but life wasn’t willing to give it to us. Life knew this venture of ours wasn’t simply for fun. It knew we had a lot of issues to overcome, and it wasn’t going to give us even a glimpse of the future until we straightened ourselves out.
From that day on, I never thought about seeing a psychic again.
( * name has been changed )