When I was 18 years old, at his request, I took my grandfather, Gaetano, to the fortune teller in Coney Island. He was becoming paranoid about the “racketeers” in his neighborhood, whom he thought meant to do him harm, due to their jealousy of his house, an old brownstone in South Brooklyn. As he said in his heavily accented English, “it was the best house on the block, best block in the neighborhood, best neighborhood in the city, best city in the country, best country in the world.”
The fortune teller seemed happy to confirm his unfounded fears, for a price – my job seemed to be to limit the price. In the end, there weren’t really any racketeers out to get him. He was growing old and lonely, and letting his worries get the better of him. We moved him in with our family and surrounded him with a lot of love, which seemed to make the fears go away.
These days I notice fortune teller or psychic shops spread all across the city, particularly in the high-rent neighborhoods and wonder how they afford the rent. I imagine them holding sway over the city’s landlords and promising bad times unless they get a good deal, though I’m pretty sure it is something much simpler, the fact that there is a market for their services, because people tend to worry about their future.
One of my favorite pieces of advice is “don’t go meeting trouble half way” – which means don’t worry about bad things, out in the future which may never happen and we can’t control. I try to live that way, I try to live in the present and be grateful for the moment, but like anyone I have my moments too.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” - Peter Drucker
Is it possible to be too present and never envision what your future self might look like? Do you take time to picture the future life you want and then take steps leading you in that direction, to your future self? It can be hard. Taking big bold steps can be scary. Taking little steps, with no easily seen, tangible benefits, towards an uncertain future goal can be frustrating. Both scenarios often stop people from ever starting, if that first step isn’t taken, you will never arrive, but if you start now, you will arrive sooner.
I am going to continue to try and balance being present, and grateful for my life, while also taking steps towards my future self. I’d love to hear from you on how you travel this path and if I can help.
po·co a po·co
adds up to a lot