Superstition is a driving force in Italian tradition. My grandmother would caution me with words from her mother: Whatever you’re doing on New Year’s Eve will set the tone of your year. Make sure you plan carefully.
When the clock struck midnight on January 1st, 2012 I was ringing in a promising new year with friends, dance music pulsing loudly over the speakers, in a New York City night club.
It was a big trip for me, a wide-eyed, recent college grad. I had flown into NYC to celebrate the holiday miles away from my quiet hometown upstate. If I had stayed home it would have been too cold to do much, and nothing much was going on anyway. In the city, there taxis to catch, things to do and weekend-sized adventures to be had.
On New Year’s morning, dressed in shiny black heels and a thin pea coat, I was on my way to my first-ever brunch in Manhattan. I walked down 42nd Street, still dotted with red and green wreaths, sparkling lights and smelling of fresh pine from the leftover Christmas trees. I looked up at the windowed buildings stretching on forever, and felt the sun shine down through the crisp, fresh air.
It was like magic being there.
By the time New Year’s Eve weekend was over, I was completely intoxicated with the idea of packing up my life and moving to the big city.
The boundless opportunities, promises of dream jobs, dream friends and dream dates programmed into me from movies and TV, compounded by the very tangible swirling city energy I could feel, and of course the music, had all pulled me in.
With that, I quit my job, sold my things and signed a lease that sealed the deal on my move to the city.
It actually wasn’t at all that seamless or effortless. It took about a year of searching before I could find a place to live. With lots of obstacles in the way, I wondered many times during the next year if it would happen, but I kept on trying. Thankfully, like a shining gift from Spirit, a very kind friend put me in contact with someone looking to sublet their apartment in Manhattan. It was the ideal situation, one that I could have only imagined. When I got the call at work confirming that I was officially accepted as the new tenant, it felt like a miracle. It was finally happening.
In the spring, with the promise of all new things, I left my hometown for the big city, without a job, friends, or any idea what to do for work. I did however, have a lot of confidence that this would work out in my favor. All signs were pointing to yes, as is such with the Fool card.
I landed at JFK on a cool morning in the middle of May, with my belongings in a suitcase. I was so excited and eager to dive into this journey.
My new apartment was a sun-drenched, rent-stabilized one bedroom walk-up on a beautiful SoHo street. Sheer curtains softly covered the oversized windows in each room. Down below on the street, taxis buzzed by, women walked together with oversized shopping bags, looking so chic. Everyone was busy and finally I was a part of it, too. It was easy to overlook any imperfections in my new home.
This apartment sat at the top of 5 steep flights of stairs in an un-renovated tenement-style building. The wooden floor was painted brown and a bit slanted, partially peeled tiles scattered the kitchen floor. In the bedroom, someone years ago had lofted the bed. They created a mattress raised up on a tall wooden platform, almost touching the high ceilings. It was only accessible by a stationary ladder fixed to the side of the bed. The space below the lofted bed was filled with a nest of decades-old paperwork. Scattered throughout the apartment was a hodgepodge of artifacts left by previous tenants, hints at lives lived here before me.
The building was from the early 1900’s, as was the plumbing. This meant the shower was tucked behind a curtain in the kitchen, arm’s length from the stove. There was only one sink in the whole apartment, the kitchen sink. The bathroom was in a tiny closet off the living room with a light bulb and broken pull string. None of this mattered though. Because all I saw when I stood in front of the kitchen window brushing my teeth at night were the twinkling lights of One World Trade glittering back at me. This is where I was supposed to be.
It was the perfect place for a fool to begin.
If I had been honest with myself and a lot less naive, I might have let all the flaws stop me. Maybe I would have decided it would be easier to stay home instead, where it was quiet and I knew what to expect.
I could have continued with my safe routine: working at my steady office job and waiting for life to begin. That just didn’t seem like an option for me at the time. I needed to go experience the bigness of life in the city. I needed to see what that meant for me. I had to leap bravely into the unknown.
That is the energy that I feel from The Fool card. It’s naively jumping in feet first without really giving much thought to dotting the I’s or crossing the T’s. It’s saying YES to new opportunities that feel right. Ignoring the naysayers and following your path. There’s a small amount of knowing it will work out and letting it fall into place that happens with the Fool. They boldly step off the ledge, dog nipping at their heels, unafraid. Ready to leap into something new and discover life’s possibilities.
The journey is not always rosy, as we’ll see. But that is for other cards to explain.